As your business grows, you will probably find more ways to use technology to increase production (hopefully, profits). Making the decision to improve your technology environment to achieve your business goals is a necessary step, but it is equally important to define the scope and budget of your project before you begin implementation. This article explains a step-by-step approach that will help you increase your budget and maximize your results when you plan to improve the technology.
First Step – Need For Work
This initial step is designed to help you determine if you have answered “Why” questions to the extent that they relate to your goals. You must be able to clearly determine the commercial interest of your potential project after completion of this step. Here are the steps that will guide you through this phase:
- What is the problem / scarcity that needs to be resolved for your investment in time and money?
- Does your business challenge require new or improved technology?
- Do your employees need additional training with existing systems?
- Can the challenge be solved by changing the company’s processes or practices?
Once the problem is clearly identified and the solution refers to technological improvements, an initial budget can be created.
Phase II – Budget and Scope
As a first step, we have qualified our potential technology solution and we must now determine the scope of the solution. Without specifying the scale, you could lose control of your project time and money. It is at this stage that time must be spent to clearly document the requirements of the business or to determine the elements to be implemented.
1. Gather all the necessary actors to discuss the objectives of the project.
2. Identify how the problem identified in the first step affects all key players.
3. Discuss how the problem can be solved by technology and especially with regard to current business practices and workflow.
4. Document the results and your discussions.
5. Once you have identified the solution, you can submit your documents to the vendor (s) of your choice and get suggestions or quotes.
Stage III – Driver
Implementing a technology project can be difficult because the technology itself is changing rapidly and your employees may have different expectations for the solution. The experimental phase is very effective in “testing” the solution and confirming that all expectations are met.
1. Once your vendor has been identified, you can request a test or a limited-use test solution to test the results.
2. After implementing the experimental solution, be sure to measure the effectiveness and check the resolution of the problem in the first step.
Phase IV – Implementation
You have now confirmed that the pilot project solved some or all of the issues identified in the first step and you are now ready to implement the complete solution. It is very important to manage your supplier closely and to make sure that he respects the promises of his proposal.
1. Develop a project plan that includes key steps to implement your solution.
Sample plan below:
* Opening of the project
* Budget revision
* Specify the schedules for the rest of the project
* Identify training needs
* Install / Improve technology
* Document changes in your current workflow
* Create a staff forum to provide feedback during this process
* Develop a set of tests that verify that newly installed technology does not break any existing processes.
* Develop a set of tests that verify the newly installed technology that meets the expectations of the proposed solution.
* Make sure your schedules are respected and your budget does not grow.
* Full implementation
* Start the training
2. Once the solution is installed, merge all documents and training materials into a repository for quick reference.
Phase 5 – Project Review and Closure
Now that the technological solution has been successfully implemented and everyone has been trained, you will need to prepare measures to ensure an effective solution. Create an anonymous employee survey to provide feedback. Inquiry questions should include: overall project success, training materials and the impact of accountability.