Over 90% of business strategies fail as do 95% of product launches because people fail to answer the most fundamental question: what are implementation planning and its role for the enterprise or project at hand? No major task is possible without a foolproof plan of implementation. From weddings to corporate businesses, implementation plans function as blueprints for strategies and ensure success. This guide offers tips on how to create an effective implementation plan for projects both big and small.
What is Implementation Planning?
A document that details every important detail of project execution is called a project implementation plan, and the process is known as project implementation planning. The process establishes the goals and defines timelines for project completion while also listing the relevant resources for the project. Implementation plans should provide the steps of a process and suggest means to achieve the project goals. This includes budget, timelines, and managing personnel, among other things.
Importance of a Project Implementation Plan
Project managers start designing projects only after understanding what is implementation planning to ensure their plans will succeed. The importance of solid implementation strategies lies in:
- Providing a scope of work and an actionable roadmap replete with tangible goals
- Enabling transparent communication with project execution personnel and stakeholders
- Assigning tasks to team members and holding them accountable
- Aligning specific goals of different departments involved in the project
- Optimizing productivity by keeping due track of every minute step
The Purpose of an Implementation Plan
An implementation plan works alongside a strategic plan which outlines the systematic deployment of strategies to reach a certain goal. Implementation plans break down these strategies into smaller chunks of actionable tasks, serving as the much-needed step-by-step guide to achieving the final goals. A successful implementation plan can even allow a layman to understand an entire project, leaving no room for doubt.
Steps to Create Your Project Implementation Plan
What is implementation planning and how to get it right on paper? Here are the steps:
Define Your Goals and Milestones
The first step is determining what you want to accomplish within a specific time frame after your project is complete. They can be simple, short notes that help you chalk out the rest of your project plan. You can begin by asking basic journalistic questions of who, what, when, why, where, and how: What do we aim to accomplish here? Whom will we serve with this project? When do we want to finish this project and what are the deliverables? How do we plan to achieve this?
Brainstorm and Map Out Potential Risks
Mapping potential risks come hand-in-hand with defining project goals and objectives. Implementation plans always have a separate risk assessment plan, but brainstorming potential risks will guide your plans more realistically.
Assign and Delegate Essential Tasks
Any implementation plan breaks down the tasks and delegates them to different people to accomplish specific goals. For instance, a new smartphone launch necessitates the collaboration of marketers and sales teams with technical professionals like UX/UI designers, web developers, and coders. Delegating essential tasks involves naming the talent required, assigning a specific person for the job, and providing them with specific expectations. As a working tip, use one centralized progress mapping tool so that everyone can easily access and update it.
Conduct Research by Interviewing, Surveying, or Observing
The research will cement your imagined goals into concrete tangible tasks. Research is also crucial for understanding what resources are needed when project execution starts. Your research should shed light on all the factors directly influencing project success. Therefore, interviews with domain experts, external stakeholders, and focus groups will lead you to define realistic project outcomes on timelines, human resources, and budgets.
What is Included in an Implementation Plan?
What is implementation planning and what are its primary components? Let’s find out:
The baseline implementation plan starts with a detailed project scope statement. It is a document that outlines the boundaries of a particular project, highlighting its central elements such as project goals, assumptions, work breakdown structure, checkpoints, and rules for acceptance of deliverables. A well-defined project scope optimizes control over project execution after you have made considerable progress.
This step can also be considered as a sub-part of writing the scope statement. Objectives are strictly defined achievable outcomes that enable you to develop a specific project roadmap and progress metrics. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time–(SMART) objectives prove efficient when stated with conciseness and candor.
Team Member Roles and Responsibilities
Once the objectives are set, division of responsibilities and accountability is your next step in understanding what is implementation planning. This step demands detailed planning to classify team members and subgroups unique to the project. A project team largely includes the project manager, sponsors, stakeholders, analysts, and technical personnel as relevant in the domain. Excel sheets help you build Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) charts which are responsibility assignment matrices used to streamline team member roles.
Estimating task completion dates is the first step for setting project milestones. Project timelines are subject to change because all premeditated plans are bound to get affected in some way or the other. Providing windows for errors, changes, and logistical issues is important in setting realistic task deadlines. This is the fourth ingredient of your implementation plan that you can easily furnish with the help of Gantt charts in Excel. These charts emulate the look of linear timelines to visualize your progress.
This step happens early on in the implementation planning process right after the project goals, scope statement, and objectives have been clearly defined. Companies generally use Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (SWOT) analysis or risk register logs to assess hazards in the project roadmap and mitigate the risks before they start hindering progress.
Outline of Deliverables
Project deliverables refer to the entire list of tangible goals you need to achieve. Clear-cut articulation of project deliverables helps you keep track of project objectives and map the timelines accordingly.
Implementation Plan Example
The best way to learn what is implementation planning is by actually making a thorough plan of action for a project. Here’s one outline of a new smartphone launch. You can customize a plan for yourself using the template:
Only a well-planned idea finally translates into a complete project, reaching its destined goals without stretching the timelines. Learn more about what is implementation planning and strategy, and how to ensure successful outcomes, with these project management courses offered by Emeritus.
By Bishwadeep Mitra
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