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Harness more value from technology for profit part 4: How to implement new technology projects to drive value in your business

In the final piece in this series, we briefly examine how to practically implement new technology projects that drive value in your business, with a focus on smooth implementation, measurable value, exploiting new opportunities and lessons that have been learned to drive further value creation from the implementation process.

In the previous articles, we laid out the fundamentals of identifying opportunities to drive value using technology, how to harness them into a technology roadmap within an IT strategy, and then the practicalities of weighing up the best possible technology solutions for your business.

In this piece, we delve further into implementation of new technology projects that are in your technology roadmap.


Preparing for successful technology projects

Quality preparation can drive value through cost and time savings. Poorly planned technology projects can provide a negative financial return if the value gained long-term fails to offset initial implementation costs, so execution is key. The sum effectiveness of your projects can be summarised as preparation X execution. In this part of the article, we focus on effective preparation and then move on to effective execution.

Effective Execution – Define clear objectives and success criteria

With clear objectives and success criteria, you can assess the value and success of projects in a measurable way. Ensure these objectives align with your strategic goals so that the project is focused on driving the transformation and value creation that you wish to see. Clear objectives and success criteria enable you to evaluate the success of the project from milestone to milestone.

It is also worth considering the different aspects of success and how they can be measured. For example, an objective could be ensuring that all users are comfortably onboarded with a new system. There are a few facets to this: ‘all’, ‘comfortably’ and ‘onboarded’; in this case, technical measures such as a log of the number of active users on the system could be used to verify everyone is on the system, whilst for the comfort and onboarding aspects of this goal, a business could use a form or spreadsheet to collect feedback and to verify users are comfortable with the solution, or use a sandbox environment in the system with some pre-defined tasks that could be used to onboard users practically and ensure they are comfortable with it in a verifiable way.

Create a comprehensive implementation plan

With your objectives and success criteria defined, you can design a plan for the concrete implementation of the project.

A well-designed implementation plan is crucial for smoothly rolling out a technology project. Similar to how milestones and timelines are used in an overall technology strategy, break the project down into phases, milestones and timelines, ensuring the milestones and phases are aligned with your objectives and success criteria. After, assign responsibilities and allocate resources clearly to these project pieces to make responsibilities and expectations clear at all levels throughout the project.  Ensure that everyone will have the contacts and resources that they will need to execute the plan.

Factoring in risks – and mitigations for these risks – is another key component of an implementation plan. Similar to the steps above, assess risks across the scope of the project and create practicable mitigations and contingency plans that can ensure the project runs smoothly, should any disruptions occur.

Identify stakeholders and develop a stakeholder communication plan

Stakeholders are key to the successful implementation of technology projects, as these projects will tend to involve a complex blend of actors with varying backgrounds, technical abilities, and motivations. Identifying and creating a stakeholder engagement plan will help your business get all parties aligned, unearth extra considerations and risks, and ensure a smoother, resistance-free implementation that gets the best out of stakeholders by coordinating them effectively.

To identify stakeholders, you can use a stakeholder analysis matrix. This can also be updated as planning and implementation progresses. Identification is more than just naming, it also involves assessing stakeholder motivations, how they can impact the project, and how they can be engaged effectively. After this, creating a stakeholder communication plan will help to ensure the right channels, messaging and frequency of communication are used to appropriately engage stakeholders, helping to ensure a successful implementation at each phase or milestone.

Invest in change management training and planning

Although some people enjoy change, it is often stressful for many of the parties involved, some of whom may delay, disrupt or frustrate the implementation phase of the project. Prepare to facilitate a smooth change by incorporating change management into your implementation plan; this may include proactively giving updates, communicating the benefits – the ‘why’ of the change – and encouraging user adoption by factoring in training and onboarding into the project.

Executing successful technology projects

Now that we have covered some of key steps to preparing a technology project that drives value, we will now focus more on how to get the best out of executing the project in a way that drives value.

Proactive stakeholder engagement

Throughout the process, keep engaging stakeholders regularly according to the stakeholder communication plan, which will enable prompt and responsive feedback loops and updates that will enable your business to navigate the project with agility. Hold regular meetings and catch ups and bring stakeholders together insofar as it is reasonable, for effective cross-collaboration, alignment, and conversations that generate valuable insights.

Keep project documentation updated and accessible

Documentation such as project plans, work pieces, stakeholder contacts and more, enable project stakeholders to effectively collaborate and communicate together in an aligned way. It is imperative to promptly update and share project documentation in an accessible way with stakeholders, to keep everyone on the same page about what needs to be done, how, when, and by who.

It can also be very helpful to use mutually accessible project management software which can send alerts and updates via notifications or emails to relevant stakeholders. For example, when a task is marked as completed, it can trigger an email to the person who is responsible for the next task in the workflow.

Review Measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

With key performance indicators that can be used across the project, you can continually measure its health and how it is impacting the business while it is being rolled out. KPIs can give measurable benchmarks that can point to where interventions and changes are needed in the project to ensure it continues to be rolled out smoothly and delivers value.

Cultivate continuous improvements and insights

Your technology projects present an opportunity for learning and best practices that drive value for your business. Take care to document opportunities and lessons learned for incorporation into future projects and your operations. This can be done by gathering feedback from end-users of the technology, knowledge-sharing with stakeholders in meetings, and holding review meetings to assess the project as it progresses.

And that’s it! As always, thank you for reading this blog, we hope that it has given useful insights into how to implement the project in a way that is smooth and drives value-creation in a measurable way.

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