The Building Blocks of A Robust Implementation Plan
The essence of developing a robust implementation plan lies in working hand in glove with the client at every stage. An implementation plan is a well-charted out agenda of achieving the client’s objectives by breaking down the overall engagement into bite-sized pieces, with each component having an owner and a firmly tracked deadline. This makes it easy for the clients to follow along and gives a clear indication of who is driving the agenda and when we expect to have closure. The objective of the implementation plan is fulfilled only by ensuring that we continuously monitor our progress towards the “end goal” while simultaneously confirming that the client has been well trained on the new process guidelines. To be successful in the design of the plan, investing time in understanding a customer’s existing processes and systems becomes a crucial step during an engagement and helps us determine where the greatest opportunity lies.
Strategies to Identify Implementation Opportunities
The first step is conducting area interviews with multiple key stakeholders to gather all the relevant details including the function of the area, organization structure, information they receive and provide, and to understand any inefficiencies in their existing setup. We also utilize this time to engage the client in having the first round of discussion on the opportunities identified.
For a recent Oil & Gas engagement, the team identified a plethora of opportunities across several areas – Planning, Scheduling, Lab and Operations, that could improve the refinery’s current blending process. The team dug deep to understand the functioning of the stakeholder teams and their inter-dependencies which highlighted potential areas for improvement. We attributed a financial benefit (savings) to optimizing the refinery’s blending practice by following Trindent’s methodology and recommendations that stem from our deep expertise in this space driven by successful implementations across top refineries across North America. We began by filtering down, identifying, and ranking the opportunities with the greatest impact first and started working our way down the list, keeping our clients well-apprised of what we are working on and ensuring that we are implementing a sustainable change.
Components of an Implementation Schedule
Once we had a final rundown of the opportunities signed off by the team, I started developing a detailed implementation schedule. This included breaking down each opportunity into different tasks and subtasks. Individual tasks can have several stages such as designed, implemented, installed and sustained, and a timeline to enable progress tracking. At this point its imperative to check that the team has adequate resources (both time and personnel) for the successful implementation of the plan in the future. This can be achieved by doing the following:
- Identify the personnel: Assign each task to a stakeholder and keep in mind that – they can make or break the project. Therefore, it is important that one chooses them wisely. A good owner will be someone who has a vested interest in the success of the project.
- Check personnel’s availability: Ask your key stakeholders for their upcoming schedule well in advance. It’s also important to set clear expectations at this point – Mentioning in clear words how much involvement is required – whether it will be 5 hours in a week or 10 hours. This is because while the project may be the priority for you, it may not be for your stakeholders.
Fail to plan and you plan to fail – Benjamin Franklin
Trindent believes in developing custom implementation solutions for our clients, there is no cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution. We achieve this by working very closely with clients to understand their requirements. We identify and address their biggest pain points, and recommend sustainable action plans with an aim to ensure that the learning curve to adapt to the process changes for the client is as low as possible and achievable at the lowest cost. By doing so, we bring about operational efficiencies in daily work practices for our clients, helping them improve their margins and achieve savings along the way.
This blog’s author – Palak Puri, is a Senior Consultant at Trindent Consulting.