Six crucial steps to creating an implementation plan 

Posted: 29/05/2018

Implementation is by definition, the act of carrying out or executing a plan, process or method. It’s the action that must follow any thinking on a review or set of recommendations to ensure it happens. An implementation plan, therefore, is the documented steps you need to take to successfully complete your implementation activities. 

Though as crucial as an implementation plan is in business improvement, many universities and institutions struggle to implement an effective plan that ensures all outcomes are achieved. But that doesn’t need to be you! Follow these crucial steps to implement your actions effectively, efficiently and most of all successfully. 

Step 1 – Create a list of the outcomes required 

To determine the actions needed and the priorities of tasks, you need to list the outcomes you want to achieve through this implementation exercise. Usually these are in the form of recommendations from a review or business process improvement exercise.  

Step 2 – Allocate a champion for each outcome 

It’s not enough to create a list of outcomes; you need to allocate a champion to head each one, a champion who will be motivated to achieve the outcome and keep the entire project team accountable to achieving it. Look for those members of your team who have a vested interest in achieving this outcome, or who are passionate and committed to a successful implementation. Share these roles around so you have different champions and no one person is taking the majority of the responsibility.  

Step 3 – Determine what action needs to be taken for outcomes to be achieved 

This is where all of the action is (literally)! In this section of your implementation plan you need to write down all of the actions that will result in your team successfully achieving your outcomes. These actions are quite practical in nature and can often seem obvious or quite simple – you literally sit down and think, ‘what are the steps I need to do in order to achieve this outcome’?  

Questions to ask here include: 

  • Who do we need to talk to? 
  • What needs to be decided? 
  • What resources are needed? 
  • What milestones need to be set to know we’re on track?  
  • When do we need to check on the progress of those milestones? 
  • What potential set backs do we need to plan for?
  • Do any tasks need to be done before taking this action?

Keep in mind that without a measure, progress becomes a matter of opinion – and opinions can easily change over your implementation timeline.

Step 4 – Establish roles, budgets and accountabilities 

Once you have the list of actions that will ensure completion of your implementation activities, you need to determine the roles and responsibilities of your implementation team. You also need to define when each action needs to be done by, what the budget is and who is responsible for it.  

Tip: Ensure that only one person is responsible or no one is responsible.

Step 5 – Set up a tracking sheet to monitor progress 

A tracking sheet will give you a quick at-a-glance update of where your implementation plan is at and what actions are complete, in progress or late. This allows you to quickly address any issues to get your project back on track.  

We recommend implementing a traffic light process through your tracking sheet for ease of use: 

  • Green – actions completed 
  • Yellow – actions in progress
  •  Red-actions late or at risk

If you would like to download our template implementation plan, you can find it here.

Step 6 – Follow a project management methodology 

A project management methodology is a series of different governance controls, structure and processes that are designed to help you manage your activities, time and resources more effectively and handle problems proactively when they arise.  

While there are many existing project management methodologies you can implement, the DVE project management methodology, combining the right amount of documentation, communication, governance and control, is producing an incredible success rate in universities with projects being delivered on time and budget while creating positive outcomes even in challenging environments. 

You can learn about our DVE Project Management Methodology here.

Step 7 – Schedule and undertake a review in six months time 

Everytime you implement change in your organisation it is a learning opportunity and should be reviewed. Through the review process, it’s important to examine what worked and what didn’t to identify areas for improvement. It’s also crucial to look at the set backs you encountered along the way and how they could have potentially been avoided or reduced to take this knowledge into your next set of implementation activities. 

Are you struggling to get things implemented on top of your BAU activities? You’re not alone. Contact DVE today on 1800 870 677 to find out how you can ensure successful implementation where change actually happens.