When time is short or change is urgent, you may be tempted to leap to the implementation phase. It is where all the work happens. But skipping the concept and definitions phases can lead to project failure.
In the concept phase, we have seen that poorly defined requirements lead to lost time or the wrong outcome. In the definition phase, we made sure we understood the work and resources needed for success. With a solid foundation, the implementation phase has a good chance of success.
The implementation phase has two core constituents: Design and Build.
These terms work well in construction but need some explanation for other project types.
- If you are transforming your business
- – The design stage will design the organisation, build the details of your Target Operating Model (TOM), conduct a detailed impact assessment, source training and design the IT needed to support your operation.
- – The design stage specifies the transition period. You may go ‘Big Bang’ and need to design extra resilience into the early days of the new way of working. Or you could implement in phases. In which case you will design to minimise disruption.
- – The build stage puts your new processes in place. It may include a data clean up or transition. It will deliver the training.
- – The build stage monitors the new system and may lead to change.
- Say you are developing a new product
- – The design stage will design the product (and may have sub-stages). It also designs the production system, the supply chain and the customer-facing processes.
- – The build stage puts the manufacturing facility in place. Suppliers confirm their capability. The project sets up distribution. Sales and marketing activities start.
- I am preparing to deliver a set of five seminars
- – The design stage gave me the outline of the seminar and key messages.
- – In the build stage, I will add design to the presentation, prepare my notes and rehearse.
- – This project has no ‘Business As Usual’. So the build stage encompasses delivery. And I see every seminar as an opportunity to improve the next, which means each will have a ‘mini’ closeout.
I hasten to add that I am not running the development and delivery of the seminars as a project. But the project life cycle influences my approach.
Implementation phase deliverables
- The implemented solution
- Maintained risk and issues registers (incorporated into a RAID log where appropriate)
- Managed changes
- Project reports – including monitors and escalations