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Successful Implementations: The importance of managing expectations

Wednesday December 21, 2016      |      By: Martin Aztiazarain

Implementing a PMIS system to manage large amounts of complex construction data has typically been associated to the word ‘risk’ in the capital construction industry. Factors are typically:

  • Lengthy turn-around times.
  • Low amounts of company buy in.
  • Low system adoption
  • Constant Re-Designs and Re-Work

The negative outcomes of these risks become visible during the initial roll out of a system. A poor implementation can stir the corporate pot creating reluctance in the use of an already vetted PMIS tool. To ensure that negative results do not occur on an implementation initiative all parties involved must commit to a results-driven expectations management approach.

ex·pec·ta·tion

ˌekspekˈtāSH(ə)n/

a strong belief that something will happen or be the case in the future.

The outcome of any implementation is always unknown. However, if properly managed toward a common goal of measurable expectations, success is inevitable.

The initial process of establishing expectations of a system implementation is to envision what a successful result represents. Typically when clients and product teams first interact there are a series of introductory meetings scheduled. The meetings are designed to understand everyone’s role in the implementation process. Once this formality is completed a best practice is to ask all members of the client’s team what the success of the implementation represents to them. The discussion will typically generate common goals such as:

  • Real Time Reporting
  • Increased Ac accountability
  • Ease of Use

The goals shared by the client are documented into a vision statement serving as the blue print of a successful implementation. Establishing the vision is the initial staging of the program’s expectations.

As the implementation commences, expectations become detailed as a result of a client’s improved understanding of the system’s capabilities. Managing evolving expectations is an implementation team’s top priority. Executing a phased approach enables macro expectations, defined during initial discussions, to be segmented, resulting in a more controlled approach toward achieving them.

The typical phases of a strategic implementation include: Design, Configuration/Testing, End User Training and System Adoption. In each phase there are detailed expectations identified and executed by the implementation team and the client.

Design

  • The vision of a successful implementation is captured and documented.
  • Business process details and challenges are provided by the client.
  • The implementation will capture all of the information shared into comprehensive business requirements documentation.
  • If there are changes to the information initially provided they are immediately brought to the attention of the implementation team, during this phase. Any pre-established documentation will be redrafted or amended.

Configuration/Testing

  • The system is configured to the specification agreed upon in the business requirements document(s).
  • The configuration is initially tested by the individual who configured the system.
  • The configuration is peer reviewed by the implementation team.
  • The configured system is presented to key members of the program team. The program team validates all details captured in the requirements document are accurately displayed according to specified expectations.

Training

  • A training agenda is validated and approved to ensure attendee availability.
  • Interactive training is delivered with relevance and an attention to detail.
  • Supporting documentation and training resources are provided to all users to promote autonomy in the system post training.
  • The training is completed and the system is ‘Live’

Adoption

  • The implementation team will guide the program team through the initial roll out of the system.
  • Key data will be imported into the system to ensure users can operate with live information.
  • Minor adjustments are made to the system, if necessary.

The phases and expectations may vary from one implementation to the next. Identifying and agreeing to to an achievable list of expectations is the key to creating measurable success.

 

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