Question 17: Do you have a comprehensive implementation plan?
21 Ways to Excel at Project Management
Good Practice: For a large projects with a wide user base, the implementation stage can often be more complex and time-consuming than the development stage. The implementation stage can often benefit from being treated as a separate project. The following ideas are worth considering, especially for large projects introducing new business processes across multiple sites:
- The implementation should be carried out by the people who will live and work with the new system; they will have a strong vested interest in getting it right.
- Conduct a 'company survey' for each site, meet the senior management, gain their support, and fully understand the local working practices. This will help to make sure the new process is fitted in seamlessly with the existing processes and that any nasty surprises are discovered early.
- An implementation 'event' for each site should include a presentation by the Chairperson to the rest of the company to show strong support from the top of the organisation.
- Comprehensive training for all users with different sessions if the process involves different types of user, such as, gatekeepers, project leaders and team members. You can never have enough training. It is better to split training into several short sessions, such as, basic training, with two follow-up sessions at monthly intervals.
- For multiple site implementations, use the idea of a 'showcase' company where the conditions, such as, user buy-in, expertise and motivation are good. A successful implementation in the showcase company will then prove the system and process and act as a centre of expertise for the remaining sites.
- For multiple company implementations, consider running several workshops for the implementation staff, to allow them to learn from one another. A little competition between different companies also helps to spur on the implementation. This approach helps make sure that problems are resolved fast, and that other team members quickly remove 'false' problems. Consider special awards for implementation success. For example, an 'Accreditation Certificate' when a company has successfully implemented the system and met some key (but simple) criteria in the business process. The certificates should be signed by the President or Chairperson and presented to the local implementation team. Consider special awards for implementation success. For example, an 'Accreditation Certificate' when a company has successfully implemented the system and met some key (but simple) criteria in the business process. The certificates should be signed by the President or Chairman and presented to the local implementation team.
- Consider special measures to track implementation progress, for example Gold, Grey and Blacklists. People do not like to be singled out as poor performers. For this approach to work you must select a few simple key measures that cannot be challenged; be scrupulously fair, objective and reject all bribes.
- Failure to involve end users.
- Inadequate training.
Questions 18 to 21 should be answered at the end of the project.