Implementation workflow needs attention in order to increase the likelihood of success on a project. We start with the top level approach to managing implementation projects for use as a tool or guide. A detailed project management method can be used while adopting the workflow approach presented here.
The implementation workflow is simple and repeatable, allowing everyone touching the project (the stakeholders, project team, customers, etc) to participate and be actively involved in the project. The form is also flexible so that it can be adapted in various solution implementation situations, including business process changes, technology implementations, and organizational development projects.
Our walk through the workflow is broken into three major steps with discrete stages identified. Note these stages can be managed in a serial process or in an iterative manner, depending on the nature of the project and the project management method used.
STEP 1 – WHAT IT IS
Discovery of ideas to address an identified problem. Clearly state the problem at hand, or start with a collaborative session to get there. Spend time brainstorming ideas of ways to solve the problem with and without: technology, additional staffing, process changes, or expanded facilities and equipment.
Define the requirements of the business to resolve the issues. Conduct interview meetings with leadership team to confirm business requirements. Understand the decisions that need to be made in the business. Identify the information that is required to make these decisions, and the data needed to support translation into the requisite information. Facilitate meetings and conduct interviews with decision makers and subject matter experts to identify high level business processes and linkages.
Design work pieces that solve the problem. Assimilate and analyze results of high level information gathering efforts. Design the solution in a modular fashion, whereby each stage of the delivered solution is usable and value realized.
STEP 2 – PUT IT TOGETHER
Develop the solution. For organizational development solutions, create the templates, training modules, and enhanced processes. For technology solutions, install any required hardware and systems infrastructure before configuring the appropriate business application software. In all cases, create a communications and leadership plan for use during deployment and delivery.
Diagnose and test systems, user interactions, functionality, and workflows.
Deploy the solution to the community, along with training and appropriate documentation of procedures and usage of the system or process.
STEP 3 – CARE FOR IT
Deliver ongoing care and nurturing of the solution. Specifically designate nurturing responsibilities to insure the community is adopting and incorporating the new solution into daily routines.
Too little time is spent thinking about and actually performing this final step. “Final step” is a misnomer in that it is really the first step in working with and using the new process or system that has recently been deployed. Regardless of what the solution is, people are involved, and people want to be cared for with special attention to their specific situation.
How can you best apply this simple approach to your next project?