Project Updates

Updates

These updates are intended for project team members and include more detailed information about project activities.

February 2012 - November 2011 - August 2011 - July 2011 - June 2011 - May 2011

February 29, 2012

Project Time Off

The week of March 12 will be a brief hiatus for the State team members. The CherryRoad Team will continue to be on-site as scheduled. However, during that week, there will be no expectation of state resources to be dedicated to the project. Project meetings and tasks will not be scheduled for this week. This will provide a window of time for the State to focus on non-project job duties. If you have any questions about how this impacts you, please check with the project managers or directors.

CherryRoad Remote Work Schedule

To manage IRS requirements, the CherryRoad consultants need to be off-site for four consecutive weeks. During this time, they will be available by phone and email during Vermont business hours. They have established a remote work schedule with start dates as follows:

  • February 27 – Sue
  • March 19 – Julie
  • March 26 – Paul Y, Kathi
  • April 2 – Chung, John, Martin
  • April 9 - Paul N, Evalyn
  • April 16 - Matt, Chuck

Module Sneak Peak for Readiness Coordinators

To engage and assist our Readiness Coordinators in their own preparations for the change management tasks ahead of us, the Org Readiness Team is planning to share information about each module over the coming months. The information is very high level and, for most of the RCs, their initial introduction to the new system. At our February meeting, Brad Ferland updated the group on pending and completed decisions related to Expenses. We will work with the functional leads to prepare and present the appropriate content for each module. Our timetable, below, is subject to change based on your input:

  • March – eApps
  • April – Time & Labor
  • May – Recruit Workforce
  • June – Benefits
  • July - Payroll

How many more ridges are on a quarter than a dime?

Send your answer to the Org Readiness Team.

End Of Phase Review

The Org Readiness Team recently surveyed project team members to get your input about how the project is doing. It was encouraging to learn that team members by and large believe the project is on track, are committed to making this a successful project, and are confident that we will be successful. Believing that we will be successful is essential to achieving that goal. The project leaders recognize how important your commitment is to the project. Your efforts in juggling project demands, regular duty demands, and family demands are deeply appreciated. We know that you are the key to success. Thank you for what you have given and what you will continue to give to the ERP Expansion Project.

While team motivation is a clear strength, the End of Phase Review also indicated that an area for overall team improvement has to do with communication and collaboration across teams. Many team members indicated that they felt like they were unclear on who needs to be involved in making decisions and unaware of decisions that affect their work. So what are we going to do about it? To address this weakness, the project managers have decided to adjust how the weekly project team meetings will be conducted. The intent is to use the project team meetings to overcome what has been identified as a team weakness so that we can build on the commitment to deliver a successful project. More information to come at our next team lead meeting.

 

February 10, 2012

“What If…”

Over the past several months project representatives have met with many different employees throughout the State. Whether it’s a project kick off meeting, business process review, department leadership meeting, RCN monthly meeting or CFT some common themes occur. What’s on people’s mind? Below are questions that we hear repeatedly. Our response to date is empathy followed by “we don’t know. Currently, this is our understanding….”

  • What if I don’t have access to the system outside of work?
  • What if the approver doesn’t approve by the deadline or is absent?
  • What if my computer breaks or the network goes down?

Key Messages

Key messages for February were distributed to RCs and sent to the project team. These messages are summarized in the “Fast Facts” for February 2012. Please take a minute to review and reinforce the messages whenever you have meetings with people who are not part of the ERP Expansion Project team. For another copy, visit the project web site: http://aoa.vermont.gov/erp/info.

Readiness Coordinator Network Update

The Org Readiness team has had two meetings with the RCN and is scheduled to have meetings monthly. RCs are assigned homework ranging from delivering key messages to gathering information. (RCs are also surveyed in between meetings to see if the homework has been completed.) The key messages for this month are:

  • Employee Self-Service will be more integrated as part of our employment related activities and will offer many more features than today.
  • The tasks associated with being a Manager or Supervisor will be completed using different tools. The responsibilities will be the same, but PeopleSoft will replace the paper and/or email that are used today.

Many of the RCs are enthusiastic partners in the march toward go-live. They appreciate being informed and being heard. The RCN is a great resource to collect information; if there is statewide information that you need, perhaps the RCN is a good vehicle.  Our next meeting with the group will be on February 21, 2012.

We were surprised…

…by the reaction of the Expense CFT members. The very first meeting of the Expense CFT included a demo of the Expense Module. (The demo was a stripped down version of the CRP.) For those of us on the project team, we are comfortable with what we have seen of the software and what we imagine the high level business processes will look like. We’ve become desensitized. It’s a good reminder that, when other stakeholders get their first glimpse of the system, they are likely to be uncomfortable and overwhelmed by the change. It’s really important that we respect their reactions and are patient while they absorb the information. Open communication is key and listening is the foundation. 

 

November 9, 2011

Planning and Analysis Phase Near Completion

The ERP Expansion Project is on schedule and approaching the finish line of the Planning and Analysis phase.  The State and CherryRoad functional leads have been working closely together on FIT/GAP documentation, to assess Gaps and identify the best solution(s).  On the Business Process side, the Issues and Barriers documentation keeps evolving to reflect system design impacts and significant business process changes. Gap Resolution meetings will be held the first 2 weeks of November and the schedule is posted on the shared calendar.  The functional leads have also been identifying and configuring scenarios for the Conference Room Pilots, to be held the first 2 weeks of December.  The Conference Room Pilots (CRP), a major milestone, were built into the project plan as an opportunity for the State to see early on how requirements will translate into the system and to validate that we are prepared to move forward into the Upgrade and Integration phase of the project in January.  The CRP is a culmination of the requirements, business process changes, and list of potential requirements work that has been done to date.

Validation of As-Is Business Processes

Extensive outreach to key stakeholders, (timekeepers, expense contacts, and HR Field Administrators) has confirmed that the Cross-Functional Teams (CFTs) did a great job in developing the current business maps for Expenses, Time Reporting and Absences.  The first two As Is Process Review meetings in Montpelier have included over 100 employees representing the majority of departments and locations statewide.  Audience members have been constructive and engaged in the discussion.  Their comments about the current state are consistent with the CFT’s understanding of how these key activities are completed and the issues that require further attention.  It is clear that people involved in these tasks are excited by the opportunities for improvement.   The process review for Expenses, Time Reporting and Absences will wrap up by mid-November with two more meetings to be held in Newport and Rutland.

The Recruitment As-Is process review will be held in early December.

Readiness Coordinator Network Coming Together

December 7 is the first meeting date for the Readiness Coordinator Network.  These staff members have been designated by the appointing authorities to serve as liaisons between the Project Team and their departments.  Readiness Coordinators ensure that everyone, from management to line staff, is aware of and prepared for the changes resulting from the project.  Through them, we will guide each work area through the steps that will help employees make a smooth transition to the new way of doing work.  Every organization in the State will have at least one Readiness Coordinator; the number of coordinators depends on department structure and traditional communication channels.  For more information, contact any one of the Organization Readiness Team members – Paul Y, Gail or Tori. Once finalized, a list of Readiness Coordinators will be posted on the project website.

 

August 19, 2011

Presentation for employees on the ERP Expansion Project

Spread the word – tell your friends – tell your coworkers! Next week is the second series of presentations targeted to build awareness among the entire employee population. Presentations are on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of next week in both Waterbury and Montpelier. (Four presentations were delivered the first two weeks of August in Burlington, Waterbury and Montpelier.) All employees are encouraged to attend. Employees learn about project fundamentals such as timeline and phases, but more importantly receive an introduction about how they will be affected. Attendees are also given an opportunity to interact with those presenting and ask questions. Creating awareness is a critical first step in the change management process. Thanks to the Directors, Bill Mancinelli and Michael Clasen for delivering the presentation and thanks to Gail Rushford and Paul Yeager for coordinating the sessions and for developing the content. A schedule of presentations is located on the homepage of the website and a Fast Facts sheet is found on the Project Information page.

Cross Functional Teams

Thursday was the final as-is process mapping session for the Expense CFT. Nine different departments participated in discussing the current process for authorizing travel, managing cash advances, and submitting expense reports. Team members appreciated being part of the process and learned a lot along the way. Participants embraced the concept of a cross functional team and were very responsive to ‘homework’ requests. This experience affirmed the importance of reexamining the way work gets done. Up next is a demo of the Expense Module for the CFT, which will be scheduled sometime in September.

Next week both the Injury & Leave CFT and Time Reporting CFT meet to begin the as-is process mapping. Thanks to Serena Kemp for doing a lot of the mapping, note taking and bringing her analyst skills to the table.

Benefits Administration Module

The decision has been made to move forward with the Benefits Administration (Ben Admin) Module. Efforts are underway now to integrate this initiative into the project plan, get training, identify resources, etc. Ben Admin will greatly simplify the task of enrolling employees in the appropriate benefit plan.

Up Next

Requirements’ gathering is largely wrapped up which means that fit/gap sessions are right around the corner!

 

July 1, 2011

Where are we headed?

You’ve seen them in presentations, you’ve read about them in documents, and hopefully today they make a little more sense than two months ago when we hit the ground. “They” are the project objectives:

  1. Upgrade current PeopleSoft HCM 8.8 to 9.1.
  2. Minimize 9.1 customizations to the greatest extent possible while leveraging any required customizations from 8.8. (“Vanilla” minimizes unintended consequences and reduces maintenance effort.)
  3. Implement PeopleSoft delivered functionality for existing modules to the greatest extent possible, including the following e-applications: eProfile, ePay, and Candidate Gateway. (Leverage the application to help us perform our jobs.)
  4. Implement PeopleSoft delivered functionality to the greatest extent possible for new modules including Time & Labor, Absence Management, Expenses, eProfile Manager Desktop and possibly Benefits Administration.
  5. Evaluate current business processes and implement efficiency improvements as they relate to version functionality. (Align our business processes with the application.)
  6. Achieve the specific objectives of eliminating the Paradox time and expense capture system, implementing single sign-on, and implementing integration broker.

Benefits sell, features don’t.

Objectives are great because they are largely tangible. We’ll all know (and rejoice) when Paradox is a thing of the past; we’ll know that we are live on version 9.1. However, the items listed above don’t answer the question “why?” Furthermore, they don’t help to answer the question “what’s in it for me?” Being able to answer this question when asked from the perspective of every Commissioner, every manager, every Human Resources Professional, and every employee is critical to guiding the State through the changes to come. Answering this question creates awareness of how this project impacts the individual, ideally will assist the individual in supporting this change, and as time goes on will help the individual adopt the knowledge to do things differently.

So, what’s in it for me?

At this point, we don’t have all the answers, but here are some anticipated benefits to keep in mind:

  • Alignment of our organizations and business processes with the software application to reduce the friction in our everyday tasks so that we can focus on the important things.
  • A system that works for us, is useful as a tool and not viewed as a necessary evil.
  • Timely, accurate and reliable data so that we can have confidence in our decisions.
  • Empowerment to fulfill our responsibilities and provide excellent service to our customers.

As we continue to discuss and document our requirements and as we start critically analyzing our business processes, find some time to ask “what’s in it for our customer?” whether those customers are the person in the next cubicle, in the building across the street, our peers who serve Vermonters everyday, or our boss’s boss’s boss.

 

June 24, 2011

Planning & Analysis (Stage II of the Expansion Project Plan) is fully underway, with a variety of activities taking place.  Among these is “Requirements Gathering”.  The Cherry Road functional leads are meeting with the State functional leads and other staff to learn more about how we do our work now, how the system supports or frustrates us in our work, and what we would like from the system in the future.  It is the responsibility of the State to ensure that input is gathered from a variety of perspectives for a thorough understanding of our needs.  From these discussions, the consultants will identify the State’s requirements and determine the extent to which 9.1 already meets our needs.  Requirements that are not met by 9.1 are considered gaps. There are many ways gaps are resolved, sometimes a process changes to align with the system, other times a non-system workaround is developed, or sometimes the system is modified. An important goal of this project is to eliminate as many of our current customizations as possible, and scrutinize any new modifications, so the State leadership will be constantly challenged to think differently about how we use the system.  

As a result of changing our system, how we do our work will change.  So, another major goal is to ensure that our Business Processes best serve our customers and make the most of the technology. If requirements are  “what” the system must do, “Business Process Optimization” (BPO) is the “how” and who”.   Cross-Functional Teams (CFTs) will be formed to identify our current processes and recommend changes to improve our use of the system.  The BPO Team is currently working on the formation of the CFTs and how best to help us all think of process and not just requirements. 

Requirements vs Process

As illustrated in the Project Work Breakdown Structure, (page 20 of the presentation on June 7), the analysis of requirements and business process are concurrent activities.  They are separate but related.  As noted above, the business process is based on how the work gets done.  Think of the requirements as the pieces of the puzzle and the business process as putting the puzzle together.  As we progress through this stage, please do not hesitate to bring any questions or concerns to the Project Managers (Mike Rubilotta and Bill Mancinelli) and/or to the Project Directors. 

Process Integration

In the end, all of the pieces of a puzzle must fit together – the picture must be complete and each piece is required to complete the whole picture.  This is critical to keep in mind because we cannot think only in terms of our own pieces of the puzzle or part of the picture. Two of the expectations articulated at the June 7th meeting are to focus on the greater good (Statewide solutions) approach and to think in terms of process and cross functionality. As we identify requirements and consider our process, we must realize that, because of the nature of the system, there will be impacts downstream.  Relational databases use tables to store information.   The data contained within these tables is frequently reused in many other modules within PeopleSoft.  The interdependency of the modules is illustrated on page 26 of the June 7 presentation.

 

June 17, 2011

Another Project Team meeting has been scheduled - You should have received a meeting request for July 14th. The primary focus of this meeting will be to review the results of the Leadership & Goal Alignment Assessment. Paul Yeager has completed the Leadership Alignment interviews and is working on the report.  Other Change Management activities include refining the Stakeholder Matrix. The Stakeholder Matrix serves many purposes. Its next use will be to help identify Business Process Optimization team members. We will have more information on this next week.

Technical & Functional Training – we have an aggressive training plan for this Project.  A number of Team members are experiencing that first hand this month with a full week on the Payroll Module this week, PeopleTools Upgrade all next week and four days at the end of the month on Expenses.  Yeah!  A Training page has been added to the Project website, http://aoa.vermont.gov/erp/training. Please make sure to spread the word about the website!

Work in Progress – The Benefits Administration assessment is on track. Requirements gathering is underway. A technical assessment of the environments has largely been complete and the first pass of 9.1 will begin soon.

Who are these people?  - We are all enjoying getting to know our new colleagues.  The Cherry Road team members who made presentations at the Project Commencement last week will become well-known to all of us due to their roles in the project.  We asked them to respond to a few questions to share a little introductory information with us.  Here’s what they had to say: Mike Rubilotta is the Project Manager for Cherry Road.  He is from Cherry Park, NY and first visited Vermont in 1995.    He said that he has really enjoyed his time here (so far).  “The small town feel reminds me of my early years in the outskirts of Syracuse.”  Mike’s favorite part of a project is the end. Paul Yeager is the Change Management director for Cherry Road.  He is from Fort Collins, CO.  His first time here was in January 2011.  Paul’s impression of Vermont is that “it rains a lot” here, we have good beer and the mountains are “gorgeous”.  He enjoys the team camaraderie found on a project like this. George Schneider is the Business Process director for Cherry Road.  He lives in Holly Springs, NC.  The project brought him to Vermont for the first time last month.  He, too, seems to think it rains a lot here, but says it is a beautiful state.  For George, the best part of a project is when “individuals grasp the concept of process change and the importance to make change happen.” Matt Delaney is the Cherry Road lead for Time & Labor and Absence Management.  Matt is from Skaneateles, NY.  He first visited Manchester, VT in 1994.  Matt finds it peaceful here.  Like Paul, Matt enjoys the camaraderie of a project.

 

June 10, 2011

Thanks to all of you who attended the Commencement Meeting this past Tuesday. Informal surveys declared it a success. Many commented on the enthusiastic remarks from both Governor Shumlin and Secretary Spaulding. Support through the highest ranks of the State is certainly one critical component of success.  In particular, their recognition that this project is both imperative to undertake and difficult to tackle is reassuring. The days of performing necessary tasks more efficiently so that we can better serve employees and the State are closer to reality.

Website – The presentation from Tuesday’s meeting is now posted on http://aoa.vermont.gov/erp/info. The ERP Project Team organizational chart has been removed from the presentation and will be posted separately on the website.

112 State Street – Project headquarters located on the 5th floor of 112 State Street has erupted with activity. CRT leads moved in this week. Please make an effort to welcome them to Vermont and share your favorite Montpelier hot spot. (There are unconfirmed reports of a chair thief at 112, we’ll pass information along as it becomes available.)

Project Team Training – The missed day of HR 9.1 training has been rescheduled. Participants have been notified of the virtual class that instructor Tanya Adams will lead on June 20th. This past Thursday and Friday was Base Benefits training. Next week is Payroll training, the week after that is technical team training, and the week after that is Expense training. That brings us through June. A training page will be added to the website with the complete schedule. Any questions about training should be directed to Brad Ferland, brad.ferland@state.vt.us.

Milestones – Items completed to date include the development of project standards & procedures, a preliminary project plan, the installation of a DEMO environment, and the project team kickoff. Approaching the finish line is an assessment of the infrastructure – the hardware and software to support the application.

 

June 3, 2011

As a reminder, the PeopleSoft Enterprise (aka ERP) Expansion Project Commencement is on June 7th at 8:30 AM in the Pavilion Auditorium. The Governor will provide opening comments; your timely arrival is imperative! The meeting is broken into two parts. Part one is an overview of the project and part two is a project team orientation. Refreshments will be provided between parts one and two. The meeting will adjourn at 12:30 PM. Attendees who have an active role in the project are expected to stay for the orientation. If you have any questions about your involvement in the project, before or after the meeting, please connect with your Department’s Project Director or with Gail or Tori.

Just as the State has a long list of acronyms, so too does the project. A short list of those you will hear at the commencement include:

CRT = Cherry Road Technologies

BPO = Business Process Optimization

CFT = Cross Functional Team

Ongoing activities from the last update include the continuation of Leadership Alignment Interviews with key stakeholders across the State. Paul Yeager of CRT has been busy crisscrossing central Vermont interviewing leaders who represent a cross-section of State government. The first session of Project Team training is largely complete; unfortunately the reduced workforce on the 27th impacted one of the training days. Resolution for this missed day is in progress.

Benefits Administration (Ben Admin) is a module that the State owns but is unsure of when to implement, now or in the future. A preliminary evaluation has taken place to assess the functionality that this module offers compared to our management of benefits enrollment and eligibility. This initial education and assessment will help project leadership determine the timing of when to implement this module.

Project Website – We are pleased to announce a project website! It is located at http://aoa.vermont.gov/erp. The site is a work in progress and is intended to be a resource for stakeholders, end users and other interested parties to access news, publications, and general information. Any feedback is greatly appreciated.

Project Management – Mike Rubilotta from Cherry Road Technologies (CRT) has assumed Project Management responsibilities until we transition to another qualified Project Manager. Gil Fregoso has resigned from CRT. Mike and Bill Mancinelli will be working together as Project Managers.

Next up - June is when requirements gathering starts in earnest. Work sessions will define and clarify requirements which will then be documented. The State must actively invest in these work sessions so that all requirements and business needs are communicated and captured. The requirements document will evolve into a process that compares our requirements to the software’s functionality. This process is commonly known as fit/gap; where our requirements align with the software is a fit, where they do not is a gap.

 

May 27, 2010

By now you have received an invitation to the PeopleSoft Enterprise Expansion Project Commencement on June 7th at 8:30 AM in the Pavilion Auditorium. At the commencement meeting, you will learn more about the project scope, timeline, project team members, team member roles and responsibilities, and general expectations surrounding the project. We have set aside quite a bit of time for this meeting as we have many topics to cover. This is the first in a series of periodic project team meetings. If there are particular questions that you have at this point that you would like to see addressed at this meeting, please contact either Tori Pesek or Gail Rushford (contact information below).

After an extensive selection process, Cherry Road Technologies (CRT) has been contracted to be the State’s implementation partner. For the last three weeks, a CRT advance team has been here in Montpelier. CRT, in conjunction with the State, has focused this time on two areas. First, preparations continue for the larger project team whose work is scheduled to ramp up in June. This prep work includes the basics of computers to use, methods for sharing documents and the difficult analysis of what types of expertise are needed for a successful project. Secondly, Leadership Alignment Interviews with key stakeholders across the State have started. The results of these interviews will be synthesized and summarized in a Statewide Leadership and Goal Alignment Assessment. The Assessment will establish a baseline of project understanding and commitment. This information will help to shape the actions of our leaders and the change management activities.

Other activities during the month of May include the beginning of extensive training on HCM and the underlying technology.

 

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