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Exploring the Waterfall Methodology for ICM Software Projects

Exploring the Waterfall Methodology for Incentive Compensation Management Software Projects (Part 2 of 3)

The implementation of technology projects requires a lot of consideration, planning, and commitment from the project team.  Your project foundation should demonstrate a solid understanding of the business needs, technology, and resource availability to optimize the use of time and budget. Incentive compensation management software implementations are no different, and with the right project methodology, the transition from idea to a successful deployment can be smooth.

We previously discussed the agile methodology. In this second part of our three-part blog series, we will explore the Waterfall Project Methodology in an incentive compensation management software deployment scenario.


Waterfall for Incentive Compensation Management Software Projects: know where you are going

The Waterfall Project Methodology is a great project approach for organizations that are well prepared for a new incentive compensation management solution.  Preparation takes on many forms, but generally includes a strong understanding of business requirements and data that is readily accessible.  This allows for budgets and the schedule to be set at the beginning of the project and should result in a project that executes smoothly and with few surprises.

Some of the benefits of executing an incentive compensation management project using the Waterfall approach are:

  • Change is easier to manage in a waterfall deployment because the business requirements and process mappings between the current and future state are understood up front. This gives the sales operations team time to adjust and prepare for the new platform. 
  • Incentive compensation solutions often involve multiple stakeholders but a single budget. Setting the budget across finance, sales ops, human resources, and IT can be a challenging process.  For this reason Waterfall can simplify project execution by setting the budget and scope clearly up front.  Cost and progress schedules are great early-warning indicators that are easy to monitor in a Waterfall setting.
  • Waterfall projects are carefully planned. This means that support from the compensation administration team for test case execution or test support can be scheduled well in advance. This will result in higher quality testing.
  • Better scheduling with business users, including the field team, can allow for greater involvement during requirements and UAT phases. This will improve business user adoption of the application.

waterfall for Incentive Compensation Management Software Projects: get it right, sooner

Teams looking to adopt the Waterfall Methodology for their incentive compensation management software deployment should consider these key points:

  • Incentive compensation programs are subject to ongoing tinkering and adjustment. It is very possible that throughout the project some form of change will be required to consider the final deliverable a success.  Waterfall projects are more expensive to adapt to change, and late-stage change requests can be very expensive to incorporate.
  • Waterfall projects depend on a pipeline of tasks to be completed before they begin to show value. The project is more efficient, but means that considerable investment is made in the project deliverables before they can be demonstrated to business users.  The risk is that if a requirement needs refinement, or there is a gap in the outlined need, identifying the need to change may come late and with a cost.
  • For incentive compensation projects that require numerous integration points, often with ERP, HRIS and payroll systems, the act of integration is a later-stage deliverable in a Waterfall Methodology. Good data coming from external sources is necessary for a successful incentive payout, and the later data issues are identified, the greater the risk is to the project.

In summary, waterfall incentive compensation management software projects are very well suited to organizations that have a strong understanding of their current state and the needs of their future state.  Careful planning across all stakeholders and project participants is critical to meeting deadlines and delivering the project on budget.

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