The 6 Steps of Project Implementation (With Tips)
After a team has determined the scope, budget and timeline for a project, it's time to put that plan into action. Project implementation involves directly managing a project to ensure it meets the objectives outlined in the planning phase. Project managers must implement a project effectively so that the team can produce the deliverables required to satisfy the clients or key stakeholders of the project.
In this article, we define what project implementation is, explain why it's important and provide steps and tips for implementing a project to meet its overall goals.
What is project implementation?
Project implementation is the process of putting a project plan into action to produce the deliverables, otherwise known as the products or services, for clients or stakeholders. It takes place after the planning phase, during which a team determines the key objectives for the project, as well as the timeline and budget. Implementation involves coordinating resources and measuring performance to ensure the project remains within its expected scope and budget. It also involves handling any unforeseen issues in a way that keeps a project running smoothly.
To implement a project effectively, project managers must consistently communicate with a team to set and adjust priorities as needed while maintaining transparency about the project's status with the clients or any key stakeholders.
Why is project implementation important?
Project implementation that relies on strategic planning outlined earlier in the process can help a team achieve the project objectives while staying within budget and meeting relevant deadlines. Implementation is the part of the project cycle that bridges the planning process and the project outcomes. This step of the process, and how well it's executed, can ultimately determine the success of a project.
During the implementation phase, a project manager establishes how closely the team is meeting the project objectives, making changes as necessary to keep the project on track. Implementation allows project managers to take control of a project and empower the team to reach common goals, building trust and transparency among those directly involved with the project.
How to implement a project
There are several steps involved in implementing a project, including some planning that must occur before the implementation can begin. Here is a list of steps for implementing a project effectively:
1. Assess the project plan
In the first phase of the project cycle, it's beneficial to establish a plan that meets the expectations of management, clients and key stakeholders. Before implementing a project, assess the plan and make sure that everyone on the team understands the project deliverables. The project manager may want to hold an initial meeting to outline everyone's assigned roles and the expected timeline, as well as any project milestones that a team works toward in the implementation phase. This initial step can help to unite the project team and set a collaborative standard for work.
2. Execute the plan
With a plan in place and expectations set for the team, it's time to start work on the project. During this step, project managers want to have regular discussions with the team about their progress. Measure the project's timeline against the projected schedule and monitor resources to ensure the team has what they need to complete the project successfully. Communication is instrumental during this part of the process to keep the team aware of the project's priorities. It's also important to provide regular progress updates to the clients or key stakeholders to remain transparent about the progress during this step.
3. Make changes as needed
During any type of project, it's likely that a project manager needs to make changes during implementation, such as to address additional requests from the client or to keep the project within its scope. Make these adjustments as necessary, relying on the project plan to identify solutions. Continue to communicate with the team, asking questions to determine areas where they need more support. Be prepared to allocate more staff or resources if a project deviates from the plan. Change is a reality for many projects and how effectively a project manager implements those changes can affect the project's outcome.
4. Analyze project data
Throughout the implementation phase of a project, it's important to analyze data consistently to measure how a project is progressing against the initial projections. You can use specific project management software or a manual system to compile data related to staffing, resources and budget. Examine the data and determine if there are other areas where it would be beneficial to implement additional changes to help a team meet the initial project expectations. If so, go back to the previous step and make those changes, continuing to gather additional data to assess the project variables.
5. Gather feedback
Once the team has completed the project deliverables, there are still some essential steps left in the process. Gather feedback from the project team, clients and stakeholders about the project's outcome, assessing what parts of the project went according to plan and what areas the team could improve in the future. You can have direct conversations with those involved in the project to get this feedback, or you may find it helpful to send out a short survey asking for input. This step can help companies make continual improvements to ensure the successful completion of future projects.
6. Provide final reports
In the last part of the implementation phase, provide reports to the project team, clients and stakeholders outlining how the project performed against the projected budget and timeline. Explain any areas where you needed to make changes to keep the project within its scope and budget. These reports include the applicable data related to the project's budget, time and resources. This step gives companies the chance to reflect on the successes of the project and identify any improvements needed for the future, which can have long-term benefits for the project management cycle.
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