Top 25 Implementation Pitfalls and Ways to Mitigate

A project implementation.  Often these words call to mind horror stories and vendors that created endless frustration.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.  Voyager has partnered with SIs on a number of implementations.  And we have learned how to prevent project delays and avoid mitigation minefields.

Don’t take our word for it, though.  Here are 25 problems and 25 solutions to go along with them!  Keep them closeby:


  • Not getting key stakeholder buy-in
    Mitigate — Ensure your vendor has a compelling agenda and project charter. Ensure at least one key stakeholder from all impacted departments attends the kickoff meeting, and each concern is addressed. Have the project sponsor explain his goals and how the project will take the team in that direction.
  • No clear plan for successful implementation
    Mitigate — Have your vendor deliver a proforma project plan prior to the kickoff meeting and the baseline project plan immediately thereafter.


  • Overpromising
    Mitigate — Pay attention to your vendor’s answers.  Beware of glossing over requirements and getting consistent yes’s without pushback or conditions.
  • Missed requirements
    Mitigate — Note how much unsolicited information you must deliver to your vendor in order to meet the project requirements.  Pay close attention to the vendor’s scoping document.
  • Lack of meaningful milestones in timeline
    Mitigate — Insist on clear and measurable milestones in the project plan.
  • Setting timelines without input from stakeholders
    Mitigate — Confirm with your vendor that all project milestones remain fixed and attainable.


  • Missed milestones due to unexpected complexity
    Mitigate — Frequent communications on configuration milestones. Have your vendor provide clear mitigation actions for any milestones that are missed.
  • Not escalating issues/delays early
    Mitigate — Hold weekly project status meetings (30 minutes) including a weekly project status report.
  • Lack of communication with stakeholders/reviewing progress
    Mitigate — Require a formal communication plan from your vendor. Document all violations. Ensure communication requirements are in your breach clause.
  • Configuration not to spec
    Mitigate — Require your vendor to document the project scope. Confirm it is comprehensive and detailed. Review progress regularly to ensure any missteps are caught early.
  • Scope creep/additional requirements
    Mitigate — Be aware that the system requirements will iterate as more is learned. Be cautious about asking for changes/additions until you have had enough time to fully understand the impact.


  • Unexpected delays in testing (e.g. bugs)
    Mitigate — Require a full system-testing plan from the vendor  Devote enough of your team’s time to fully test the system to prove all requirements.
  • Lack of comprehensive testing plan (technical- & user-testing)
    Mitigate — Review and provide input to your vendor’s testing plan.  Ensure all requirements in scope are included in the plan.


  • Training end users too early; loss of knowledge over time
    Mitigate — Schedule training on your schedule, not your vendor’s.  Training works best immediately before go live.
  • Not engaging users in training sessions
    Mitigate — Develop a list of all users that will be impacted by the system. Ensure all users are provided role-based training.
  • Too little or too much training
    Mitigate — Have your vendor design the training scope with the individual needs of each user.
  • Overwhelming users with complexity without base understanding
    Mitigate — Ensure the vendor provides context and purpose for why the system is necessary in any training session.


  • Unexpected delays/bugs
    Mitigate — Require a cutover plan that you agree to. Ensure the vendor’s Implementation SLA includes this phase and penalties for non-attainment.


  • Poor/no communication to stakeholders that system is live
    Mitigate — Vendor should include Go live phase actions in the communications plan.
    The plan should include what are the expectations for each user and resources for the user to succeed (e.g., how to request rapid help, report issues, access training guides).
  • Technical issues/bugs
    Mitigate — Comprehensive Testing. If bugs do appear, ensure your vendor has included how they will manage to quickly address them in a cutover plan.
    The Implementation SLA should drive rapid repair to hold the confidence of your users.
  • Inadequate user training leading to misuse of system
    Mitigate — Have your vendor build task based training guides available for each user.

Post Live

  • Lack of user adoption
    Mitigate — Ask your vendor to develop a system usage dashboard, catch low-usage situations quickly and respond with additional training and learn why.

  • Technical issues/bugs
    Mitigate — Ensure the vendor’s Support SLA meets your expectations, insist on frequent status reports for a period of hypercare after Go live. Ensure SLA violations come with penalties.

  • Post-live optimizations/additional requirements
    Mitigate — These are to be expected, however; ensure the vendor’s original project scope was detailed enough to confirm that the requirements are new.

  • New users after initial training experience is complete
    Mitigate — Incorporate a training plan in the new employee’s onboarding. Develop a task-based training guide for any new roles in the system.

  • Data security breach from exiting employees
    Mitigate — Ensure the system has swift deactivation methods for existing users. Include systems on HR/IT resource termination task list.

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