Best Practices for Effective Implementation Plans

I am often asked about best practices for effective implementation plans. This is a good question, since implementation is a key element of any program. If implementation isn’t done correctly, not only does the program not work the way it was intended, but other unintended consequences such as decreased staff morale and participation in the project as well as increased costs can stop the program entirely. So what does one need to do to ensure that implementation and implementation plans are effective? Here are the ten requirements that I always consider for successful program implementation. These requirements are the foundation of implementation plans.

  1. Business readiness. Before implementation can begin in any area of the organization, that area has to be ready to accept the new program. A business readiness checklist helps determine business readiness.
  2. Liaison roles. One staff member must be in charge of the implementation in their area. Whether they are managing the implementation or working with a consultant during the implementation, the staff liaison will be the “go to” person for other staff. By being involved in the implementation, this staff liaison will get firsthand understanding about the program.
  3. Software or other equipment. Identify and ensure that all software or other equipment and supplies are onsite at the required time for implementation to commence in the business unit.
  4. Training. Ensure that all staff in the business unit are provided with introductory training before implementation begins and full training after implementation is completed.
  5. Communication. Prepare and follow a communication plan during the implementation project.
  6. Scheduling. This is important to manage so that all those that need to be involved during implementation are involved at the appropriate times and that they are given advance notice. In addition, scheduling the entire implementation project is important for overall project management.
  7. Resources. Ensure that all resources required for implementation are itemized and available for the implementation project.
  8. Logistics. Someone needs to be in charge of logistics for the project. Ensure that all goods and services orders and deliveries are managed appropriately.
  9. Budget. A key element of any project, but especially implementation. Make sure that you have estimated the implementation cost and that funding is available for the full implementation.
  10. Change management. Before, during and after implementation, a change management strategy needs to be put in place to help you deal with the changes that will result from implementation. A change management plan can help you deal with the challenges to change.

With these ten considerations for successful project implementation, write the project charter. The project charter is by far the most important tool that you can have for any project – whether it is diagnosis, planning, or implementation. The project charter, when approved by the project champion, will be your road map for what work must be completed, by whom, and by when. Industry best practice dictates that a project charter should include, at a minimum, the following information:

  • Name of the project
  • Project goal
  • Major deliverables
  • Organizational scope
  • Project risks
  • Risk mitigation strategies
  • Project communications plan
  • Project change management plan
  • Name of project champion
  • Name of project sponsor
  • Name of external resources working on the project (such as the consultant)
  • Project budget
  • Estimate of organizational staffing assumed for the project
  • Start date
  • End date

There you have it. All you need now is to get working on developing your project implementation plan and then, of course, implementing your plan. Keep in mind that even though you may have perfected the plan and implementation is well under way, the only constant of our times is change, so be prepared to accept new and better solutions at any point during or after implementation.