If your organization is treating projects as complete before reaching Return on Investment, you may be successfully installing, but not getting to true implementation. There is a basic confusion in many client systems between installation and implementation. This confusion leads to a reduced or hampered ROI for many projects. It’s linked to a dynamic of premature completion – simply stated, many projects are being treated as “finished” significantly before the real ROI is achieved.
Installation is Not Enough
The source of this confusion lies in the very definitions of installation and implementation. When we analyze project successes and failures we see that the two are very different. In too many cases, projects are treated as complete at “go live” or launch. The project infrastructure is disbanded, and resources are re-allocated to new initiatives. Given the pressure to accomplish more with fewer finite resources, the incentive to move on is strong.
Yet real implementation goes well beyond the launch itself, and by definition requires that success is measured by a project that is on time, on budget, with all business, technical, and human objectives met.
Implementation is the Goal
Getting to implementation, however, requires two major changes in how projects are managed:
First, we have to manage post-launch activities, including competency development, performance coaching, and reinforcement.
Second, we have to begin to build the readiness for changes much earlier in the project life cycle, well-before the launch date.
This means that project teams need to purposefully plan for those activities that will support the accomplishment of every major project’s human objectives. It’s interesting to note that most organizations invest the bulk of their resources on the achievement of the business and technical objectives, even though the greatest risk for failure is on the human side of the equation.
It’s not surprising, then, that once projects reach the point of installation—when business and technical objectives are met, we claim victory, and move on. While installation is critically important, we should not be content until the human objectives are also met.
Implementation Action Steps
So to avoid the common pitfall of premature completion, organizations should:
- Frame or re-frame the definition of implementation, realizing it is not the same as installation. This prepares the organization for a different set and sequence of activities to get to the financial return quickly.
- Avoid disassembling the project/program infrastructure prematurely
- More clearly define the human objectives of any project and rigorously plan the implementation deliverables using the Accelerating Implementation Methodology (AIM)
By taking these steps, organizations will:
- Accelerate implementation speed
- Avoid the business disruption that often follows installation and is left unmanaged
- Achieve all business, technical, and human objectives set for the initiative
For additional information on the differences between installation and implementation, contact Paula Alsher, Vice President, Client Solutions at 866-996-7788 or by email at email@example.com.