When it comes to a successful plan, there's no doubt that there's many factors to consider. But, once you break down the essential parts into smaller pieces, it becomes a whole lost easier.
That's where implementation plans comes in.
In this post, we'll cover what an implementation plan is in detail, how learning how to create one can benefit your organisation and 7 steps to follow when writing a succinct implementation plan.
What is an Implementation Plan?
An implementation plan (also sometimes known as a strategic plan) outlines the steps needed to take to reach a goal or complete a project. It can often combine strategy, action points and processes all in one, making an implementation plan is essential when it comes to making improvements, communication or increasing cooperation across different teams.
There are four key elements to an implementation plan, these include:
- Planning the project/understanding it thoroughly
- Planning the subtasks that need to be completed for the wider project
- Planning a timeline
- Planning people, resources and responsibilities
Many organisations struggle to implement an effective plan that ensures all outcomes are achieved. But don't worry, simply follow these crucial steps below to implement your actions effectively, efficiently and most of all, successfully.
7 Steps to Success When Writing an Implementation Plan
- Create a List of the Outcomes Required
- Allocate a Champion for Each Outcome
- Determine What Action Needs to Be Taken
- Establish Roles, Budgets and Accountabilities
- Structure Simply and Keep it Relevant
- Regularly Monitor Progress
- Review and Learn
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.
By interviewing the relevant people, you can determine the most important assignments needed and prioritise them. It’s also at this stage where you should list out all the goals you’re looking to achieve to cross-embed the strategic plan with the implementation plan.
Everything must tie back to your strategic plan for your implementation plan to work. It’s also crucial to communicate both your strategic plan and the implementation to all employees as it helps them get on board with the vision.
2. Allocate a Champion for Each Outcome
The steps involved in writing an implementation plan are straightforward, but the process isn’t quick or easy. Each section should be detailed, combining the information, research and data that makes your objectives actionable.
You need to allocate champions. A champion will be motivated to reach the outcome and keep the entire project team accountable for achieving it.
Look for those members of your team who are actively interested in the success of the plan or who are passionate about the intended outcome. Share these roles around so you have different champions; they’ll all be accountable for ensuring the plan goes off without a hitch.
Regardless of who’s championing the project, the overarching goal needs to be understood by all so avoid jargon or complicated language at all stages.
3. Determine What Action Needs to Be Taken
Jot down all of the actions that will directly result in your team successfully meeting your outcomes. These actions are quite practical in nature and can often seem obvious. Sit down and think, ‘what are the steps I need to do in order to achieve this outcome’?
- 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 back in on the progress of those milestones?
- What potential setbacks do we need to plan for?
- Do any tasks need to be done before taking this action?
Keep in mind that without a measure, it’s hard to determine success. So having this all written down is ideal when you need to refer back to it. Learn how to set SMART goals to help get started - here's some examples too.
4. Establish Roles, Budgets and Accountabilities
Once you’ve written the list of actions that ensure the 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's responsible for it. This is an almost foolproof way of making sure everybody is held accountable.
With teams spanning the entire organisation, an implementation plan in place helps to bridge the divide just a little easier. All of this information needs to be formulated before you can write the implementation plan in full.
5. Structure Simply and Keep it Relevant
You’ve done the legwork to make sure everybody is bought in, now for the actual writing. Here’s the structure to follow. With all writing in the public sector - keeping it succinct is key.
- Introduction: Explain the purpose, vision and mission statement of your project or initiative. You should identify the high-level risk areas here too.
- Management Overview: Describe how implementation will be managed. This includes who’s managing it, the underlying roles and responsibilities and key points of contact. This is where you name your champions.
- Major Tasks: Here’s where you list and describe the specific tasks, actions and targets in implementation. Here, you should also note the status of any tasks that are already in progress.
- Implementation Schedule: You don’t need to create a detailed, inflexible task schedule in your implementation plan. We need to be as concise as possible so our initial message isn’t lost. At this stage, it’s appropriate to just list the task order and predicted timeframes.
- Security and Privacy: Discuss the privacy features and considerations of the software tools, processes or information you may use in the implementation. Address security issues and how to handle sensitive information (personal data, financials, etc) appropriately.
- Implementation Support/Resources List: Detail the various tools, activities and departments that you require to support successful implementation. These might include hardware or software tools, facilities and additional human resources.
- Documentation: Attach any other documents that support your implementation plan. This could include your strategic plan, resources and a history of past successful projects.
- Monitoring Performance: Define the metrics by which you’ll measure success. How and when will you review your progress? The next point provides details about how you can do this easily.
- Acceptance Criteria: How will you define implementation completion? This differs from performance monitoring because rather than defining metrics for milestones and appropriate implementation, instead, you describe how you will know when you have buy-in from decision-makers on your implementation plan.
- Glossary: Define any key terms used in your implementation plan, this ensures nobody is alienated and understands.
- References: Indicate where you received your information and cite it appropriately.
- Project Approval: If you need any approval before moving into execution, this section provides space for official signoff.
6. Regularly Monitor Progress
How are you monitoring the progress of your implementation? A tracking sheet in a spreadsheet will give you a quick at-a-glance update of where your implementation plan is at and what actions are progressing or off track. This allows you to quickly address any issues to get your project moving forward.
You can implement a simple traffic light process through your tracking sheet for ease of use:
- Green: Actions completed
- Orange: Actions progressing
- Red: Actions late or at risk of not being completed
Make sure everybody involved in the project can access this document. There’s nothing more motivating than a red on a task you’re directly responsible for.
7. Review and Learn
Every time you implement change in your organisation, it’s a learning opportunity and should be reviewed. Through the review process, examine what worked and what didn’t to identify areas for improvement.
It’s also crucial to look at the setbacks 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. Although writing the implementation plan itself is a small part of the whole process, it’s still important to have excellent writing.
These transferable skills can be applied across every department and is a valuable string to add to your bow in the public sector.
Write More Successful Written Content in the Public Sector
Effective implementation plans, detailed reports and accurate minute taking; there’s a lot of writing forms to master in your role. That’s why we’ve collated all of this useful information into one accessible guide. There’s also added tips to sharpen any written content you produce.
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