An implementation plan plays a significant role in developing and executing ideas, methodologies, or projects for businesses and organizations. According to some research, companies with an implementation and execution plan experienced 70% greater returns than those without one.
So, whether you are starting a new business, assembling a new team, or testing a new strategy, you can't simply dive in and waste your money on the first solution that presents itself.
Strategic project planning is a crucial part of a successful venture, like any other business decision you make. That's why you require a project implementation plan to help you navigate new business decisions. Let's see how you can produce one!
Implementation plan definition
The implementation plan facilitates a policy, algorithm, standard, specification, design, model, idea, or plan by defining steps and tasks organization members need to follow. Therefore, an implementation plan is presented as documented steps you need to take to accomplish successful results.
Usually, an organization creates a program implementation plan, which is used to support the strategic plan. Now, you must be wondering what a strategic plan is? This type of plan is designed to guide business decisions, upcoming projects, and business ventures. Once you map out a strategic plan, the implementation plan is made to bring the strategic plan to life.
The implementation plan then breaks down tasks into identifiable steps, creates a timeline for the entire project, and divides responsibilities and duties among team members involved.
Therefore, the implementation plan aims to implement the organization's strategy efficiently and set up step-by-step processes that should bring the project to success.
Implementation plan steps
When it comes to an implementation plan, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. But, this plan involves a couple of more or less universal steps and can be applied to various projects.
Start by identifying everything you need for the execution of your implementation plan. For example:
- Which team members need to be involved in accomplishing strategic goals?
- How long will it take you to make those goals happen?
- How much money and resources do you need?
If you interview team members, key partners, and stakeholders, you will determine the most pressing assignments and prioritize them respectively. At this point, it's wise to list all the goals you are looking to achieve.
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Determine assumptions and risks
This stage acts as an extension to the previous one. Assumptions and risks are anything that can influence the execution of your implementation plan, like losing personnel, budgets issues, market instability, and others.
Every activity in your implementation plan needs to include a primary assignee to be its owner. If you wish to assign tasks correctly, the assignee will have to delegate, meaning they will need to ensure that all systems are working while keeping track of the team's productivity.
Identifying activities is one of the most important implementation plan steps. It will help you complete all little activities to round out your plan.
- What steps make up the plan?
- What are the activities required to finalize each step?
- Who are you going to involve in the plan?
- What are the stakeholder's demands?
- What resources will you allocate?
- Should you list any milestones?
- Are there any risks involved based on the assumptions?
Project implementation plan essentials
Implementation usually includes executing the process improvements that we developed throughout the project's lifecycle. There are a couple of implementation elements: planning work, tasks and subtasks, time, people, and resources.
We usually add a couple of understanding steps to these planning elements, which explain why the project worked or didn't work. A successful implementation plan covers at least five essentials: work plan, budget and resources, shareholders, risk management and assessment, and quality control.
Elements of a good implementation plan
Here are the elements of a successful implementation plan:
Determine what will happen to all involved in the process improvement. It's about creating a scope based on which improvement will take place. The scope involves but is not limited to changes to the supplies, resources, and processes.
During this stage, all purchases, resources, and project funds are finalized. For instance, resources can include many things like overhead costs, changes in staff, or time, software. It's crucial to check the resources available and get adequate approval to utilize them. Otherwise, your project will not accomplish the desired gain.
Stakeholder management plan
Stakeholders need to be 100% on board with the project implementation plan. Anyone who is even remotely affected by the implementation needs to be considered a stakeholder. This involves the process owner, some customers, and vendors affected by this process. The goal here is for all stakeholders to support implementation.
The risk assessment plan serves as a stage where we touch up any existing FMEA or Failure Mode Effect Analysis around the implementation plan.
Last but not least, we have quality control, widely used to monitor the project's gains. Also, make sure to check that the implementation plan covers the entire scope of the project in the project charter.
Benefits of a project implementation plan
An implementation plan uses all organizational resources and creates a tactical plan to carry out the strategic initiative. Additionally, it plays a crucial role in the success of your strategic plan. You may have an iron-clad strategy or plan, but it won't do you any good if you don't put that plan into action. Let's go through the implementation plan benefits you can experience.
If you decide to write an implementation plan, it will better clarify things you need to do or improve. Planing is crucial. When you are backed into a corner and forced to think things through, it's a great idea to document everything and talk to your upper management and team members to get everyone on board.
Keeps everyone engaged
Use an implementation plan to identify all tasks that need to be done, who needs to do them, and how to do them. This means that everyone is engaged and on board while removing any sort of doubt or confusion. When every team member knows their roles and responsibilities, it's easier to track progress. Use of project management software such as ActiveCollab can help your teams or team to follow their in progress, and easily share information.
Working on any project demands the collaboration and cooperation of numerous employees. The better the cooperation among team members, the better the overall execution of the project.
Common implementation plan problems
Over commitment – many options may look like benefits, so it's easier to accept them all than to realistically prioritize resources.
Poorly defined objectives - resulting from not spending enough time on objective setting or trying to make everyone happy by offering them goals that are challenging to implement.
Bad implementation plan – when writing an implementation plan, you allocate resources to the execution resources and talk to yourself in the future. Failing to do any of these can create confusion and missed targets, and it will guide you to wrong direction.
False approval – challenging to spot before it happens. Sometimes one of your team members will pretend to be on board with your plan but harbor some reservation about execution and needed action.
Distraction – a common pitfall. For instance, many CEOs are distracted by the "flavor of the month" or a "good idea" they read in the latest article.