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05.20.14 | blog
Author: Karen Thompson

Tips to a Successful, Work-At-Home Implementation

Project implementation is the crux of your business’ innovation. Successful implementation is pivotal to your achievement. Problems arise when implementation teams don’t anticipate the complexity in deploying the projects. Overlooking one minor detail can cause major challenges. Project management requires a continuous loop of communication, enabling a business to collaboratively plan and deploy. An entirely virtual implementation, however, where almost all of the key stakeholders – developers and end users – work from home, requires implementations experts to execute successfully.

How do you implement a virtual, work-at-home project like an expert?

1. Build a communication infrastructure

Being clear and concise in all communications across the project implementation process is essential to success. Multi-tasking during a virtual meeting makes interactions much more difficult, as you’re not able to understand each person’s body language, you have to hear it. In other words, pay close attention to their voice – learn their voice; take cues from it. Yet, just as important is developing a plan of how often, which platform, and for how long you plan to communicate at each meeting – a charter. For example, your team may choose to communicate twice per week via Adobe Connect for one hour each meeting. Additionally, determine how the team plans to communicate in between meetings to keep every stakeholder current on all topics, while also conveying any difficulties that may come up.

2. Coordinate with key stakeholders

With any project there are key stakeholders, which includes the liaison between the project team and the executive team, the end user, and all the people that will be affected by the project’s implementation. Prior to beginning the project, confirm with each internal stakeholder what their “stake in the project” is and use that as an opportunity to gain buy in from everyone involved, removing obstacles along the path to deployment. Similarly, align with your sponsor from the executive team on:

  • Project Goals
  • Roles of each team member
  • Risk Management
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Change Management

Be sure to communicate with all business units, departments, and client communities that are involved to ensure that each infrastructure group is prepared to support the implementation.

3. Implement training

Implementing training of the project prior to launch will ensure that all end users are using the tool properly. In addition, internal employees will be better prepared to provide quality customer service to the users of the tool, removing customer frustration, while also resolving challenges, if any, on first contact. Keep in mind, when implementing a training schedule, don’t hold training sessions far out into the project. Less information will be retained when implementation arrives and there will not be much familiarity with the tool.

4. Adhere to a proven methodology that works for your team

Adhering to a methodology that has been proven to work for you and your team will undoubtedly bring you closer to a successful implementation. There’s always room for improvement in any process; however, make changes slowly, as opposed to a large, radical change. Here are a few tips I’ve learned from past implementations:

  • Meetings are virtual – be prepared and ready for anything
  • Separate execution into two phases to define requirements that are necessary to complete each phase
  • Documentation and follow ups are a must
  • Have a clearly defined structure:
    • Define templates that have been created for communication
      • Stakeholder report
      • Risk, assumptions, issues and decision logs
      • Sponsor reports
      • Charters
    • Team members roles and responsibilities are clear from the onset
  • Keep members engaged
  • Be transparent – communicate all risks and issues to the team so everyone is on the same page

A virtual, work-at-home implementation can be successful. With the right team, a well thought plan, and these four tips, your organization is one step closer to the next ground breaking idea.

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