defining-it-project-successPart 3 of 5
In my last post I introduced the concept of the ‘Implementation Assessment’, the process we follow to create a ‘scope of work’ for the implementation. In this post we will create the implementation plan and define exactly how we are going to meet the objectives outlined in the previous step of the process.


Every implementation plan should consist of 4 key elements:

  1. Implementation Team Definition
  2. User Education Plan
  3. Tasks & Milestones
  4. Timeline

Implementation Team Definition
The implementation team is a critical part of the implementation plan. There are a few things we recommend keeping in mind when creating your implementation team.

Who will be involved with your implementation?
The members assigned to the implementation team may not necessarily be all the people in your company who will be using D-Tools. The implementation team is made up of the individuals who will be performing tasks during the implementation such as installing the software, building the database or managing the implementation project.

Designate a Project Manager
The project manager is the person on the implementation team who the others are accountable to and keeps tabs on the status of the project and helps to ensure that members of the team are staying on track.

Implementation Task Distribution
We have found that when the implementation tasks are distributed amongst several team members several things occur:

  1. There is a much quicker implementation time frame.
  2. People feel more accountable to the project’s success if others are involved…one of those psychological things.
  3. The project integrates more smoothly into your process as you receive valuable input from people with different perspectives on the company’s process.

Determine how much time each team member can allocate to the project
This is a very important part of creating the implementation team. It takes work to change your process and your implementation team will need time to spend on this project.

  • Everyone on the implementation team is going to have regular, daily job responsibilities.
  • If those responsibilities already keep them busy for 40 hours a week, when and for how many hours will they be available to work on the D-Tools implementation?
  • Your time frame for implementation is directly correlated to the number of hours each week the team has available for implementation tasks.

User Education Plan
This step in the implementation plan is essential to a timely and effective implementation. You need to empower your team to make informed decisions that will affect the way you implement and use D-Tools in your organization. Trial and error is not recommended when using a planned implementation approach; 2 steps forward and 1 step back is not an efficient way to go about things!
You have many options available to you for user education: premium training services from MED, gold support resources as well as free options. Several of these options are explained below:

  • MIT (Media Interactive Training) – The MIT training program provides for unlimited access to (18) 90 minute web based courses that are delivered by a live instructor 5 days a week. On Demand video courses are also available.
  • ROI Implementation – This unique program provides users with (5) webinar training courses delivered twice per week in addition to a host of implementation planning tools and resources.
  • 1-on-1 Web Training – These are two hour web based sessions with one of our trainers. These sessions allow you to achieve specific learning, implementation or business process objectives with a D-Tools expert.
  • D-Tools University – These 3 day events, sponsored by D-Tools, are comprehensive, hands on training events that take you through the entire D-Tools process from setup to project management.
  • Onsite Training – Bring a trainer to your location for a minimum of 2 days to teach and consult with your team on D-Tools. We have found onsite training to be most effective when coupled with a web based training program, as it allows the onsite visit to focus on more advanced topics.
  • Gold Support Webinars – If you are a gold support member, D-Tools provides free online webinars twice a week. Sessions are also available as recorded videos.
  • D-Tools User Guides – The D-Tools User guide is a great source of information about the program – with hundreds of pages explaining various features and tools available through D-Tools.
  • D-Tools User Forum – The D-Tools forum is a community of D-Tools users that are collaborating and posting helpful tips, suggestions and experiences. It is a great place to collaborate with other users.

Milestones
The next step in the process is establishing milestones for the implementation. The milestones will be the major events leading to achievement of the implementation objectives and the tasks the specific things required to make the milestone’s completion a reality. We will set the specific tasks in the next post – Executing the Implementation Plan. What I tend to do is align the milestones with each D-Tools business function identified in the implementation assessment.

Here is an example for Sales:

  • Complete Setup & Configuration
  • Create foundation database
  • Create a sample project in D-Tools
  • Create first real proposal in D-Tools
  • Abandon legacy proposal system

Timeline
Once you have established your milestones it is time to set a timeline to each of them. It is important to be realistic with your timelines. Take into consideration the amount of time the implementation team can dedicate to the project during the time periods the milestones are assigned to. We have found that, on average, a well trained team can complete the implementation of one business function in 40-80 hours, depending on the scope of the implementation. This is actual time spent completing implementation tasks, and does not include time spent training and/or planning. This time frame will vary for every company, depending upon emphasis on user education and planning.

Here is an example of a timeline for Sales milestones:

  • Complete Setup & Configuration by Feb 6
  • Create a sample project in D-Tools by Feb 20
  • Create first real proposal in D-Tools by Feb 27
  • Abandon legacy proposal system by March 6

If you would like to receive some helpful implementation support materials from MED that support the implementation planning process described in this series of posts Click Here.

The remaining posts in this series will help to paint a clearer picture for you on these concepts. Don’t forget to read the first two posts in the series.

Post 4 – Successfully Executing the Implementation Plan
Post 5 – Ongoing Maintenance and Optimization