In our experience, SAP SuccessFactors implementations go more smoothly, are more likely to be completed on time, and are more successful overall when they are staffed with sufficient, qualified client resources who understand their roles and expectations, have the capabilities to fulfil those roles, and can dedicate the time required for the project.
Defining the project team structure and governance, combined with articulating the expectations for team roles, is key for a successful implementation. The absence of a governance plan or clear expectations for critical positions on the project team can lead to many issues, including lack of ownership for decision-making, poor quality decisions, delays in making decisions, and conflicting decisions.
During project governance discussions with clients, we talk about the importance of defining the authority that each team role has in making decisions over the course of the implementation. Ensuring that the right people in the right roles with the right decision-making authority are included is the key to making effective use of team members’ time and making good decisions.
There are three levels of decision-making authority:
- Voice: Has a say in providing input and opinions
- Vote: Has a say in decision-making
- Veto: Has final decision-making power, and the ability to override all others’ decisions and recommendations
Characteristics of the Voice, Vote, Veto Framework
A role may have more than one type of decision-making authority. For example, a person who serves as a subject matter expert (SME) for Learning & Development in the organization may have both a Voice and Vote in configuration decisions around the Career Development Planning (CDP) module and the Learning Management System (LMS), and will likely also have a Voice in configuration decisions for Recruiting, Succession, and Goals and Performance.
A role that has Veto authority also always has a Voice and a Vote. Likewise, a role that has Vote authority also has a Voice. In general:
- Every project team member has a Voice
- Typically, the Project Sponsor has a Voice, Vote, and Veto. Other top project roles may also be granted Veto authority, perhaps for specific processes, components, or modules; this varies in different organizations and cultures
- In most cases the business process owner, steering committee members, and project owner have a Vote
Implications for Project Success
Understanding the decision-making authority for the roles filled by your project team members will help you have more productive and effective meetings. With an understanding of the meeting’s purpose, you can ensure that you have people with the right level of decision-making authority in attendance. Organizations that use this framework effectively make decisions more quickly, require fewer meetings to make those decisions, are able to more quickly identify when a decision needs to be escalated and, in the case of those escalations, get them addressed more quickly. In addition, they make higher quality decisions overall that are aligned with the organization’s broader business objectives.
Read this post for more information on what the right project team looks like.