Support for Implementation Champions (Best Practice)

RT-246 Topic Summary
RT 246


Once a new opportunity is identified and an implementation path is laid out, the implementation process will result in the need for change. The implementation of new or improved practices is the driver for change management. Organizations face many challenges to overcome barriers that come up during the implementation of new practices. An Implementation Champion will drive the implementation process with support and resources from upper management. He/she will also communicate each step of the implementation process to all levels of the organization and get employees involved in the process. CII has come up with a number of tools that will help the implementation process and the development of this process at different stages of implementation. 

Implementing new or improving existing practices is a critical component in the continuing improvement of an organization. The adoption of new practices can trigger many potentially disruptive responses including reluctance by personnel to adopt a new or improved practice, reluctance by management to provide resources, and a challenge for implementation champions regarding the necessity for the proposed practice. Although these responses may be different for each organization, no organization should enter an implementation process without understanding the potential for both positive and negative responses. However, the potential for negative responses should not preclude any organization from attempting to adopt new or improved practices. In short, a reluctance to introduce practices will ultimately lead to stagnation within the organization and perhaps organization failure. 

The Implementation Planning Model is intended to help organizations reduce the likelihood that negative responses will stop practice implementation. The underlying premise is that a well-designed implementation plan will guide an organization to a successful outcome. However, the model is not a fail-safe approach to implementation. Rather, an organization must evaluate individual circumstances to determine where the model needs to be expanded to fit specific needs.  

Key Findings and Implementation Tools

1 : Ten Stages to Implementation Success

The key to success in implementing a new practice is to have a clear perspective on the overall stages required for the entire implementation process. To assist in this overall perspective and as an outline of the critical stages required, the Implementation Planning Model introduces the Ten Stages to Successful Implementation (Figure 3). The stages are:  (RS246-1, p. 10)

Stage 1: Needs Analysis – The Needs Analysis lays out the case for implementing a new practice. This case will need to be presented to both management and critical staff, so a compelling argument is required as an output of this stage.
Stage 2: Management Buy-In – The management buy-in will be based on the Needs Analysis developed in Stage 1.
Stage 3: Establish Steps – The Implementation Planning Model establishes a series of four critical steps that will be followed during the implementation process. The third stage in the overall process requires one to understand these steps and develop an approximate schedule for the implementation process.
Stage 4: Adapt Matrix – In this stage, the implementation team must take the specifics within the Implementation Matrix and adapt the generic elements with organization specifics that address the unique requirements of the current implementation task.
Stage 5: Develop Plan – In this stage, the team will translate the details from Stage 4 into a plan that meets the requirements of the specific organization.
Stage 6: Communicate Plan – This stage requires the team to communicate the proposed implementation plan to both management and the proposed test group.
Stage 7: Perform Change Audit – The implementation team will perform a Change Audit that evaluates the readiness of the organization to undertake the implementation process.
Stage 8: Implement Tasks/Plan – The implementation team will now follow the tasks laid out in the implementation plan for each step of the implementation process. Each step in the process has a set of three to five tasks that are critical for success in that step.
Stage 9: Perform Step Evaluations – In conjunction with Stage 8, the implementation team will perform evaluations during each step of the implementation process to determine if the process is achieving required goals.
Stage 10: Benchmark – The final stage in the implementation process is to benchmark the new practice both internally and externally.
Reference: (RS246-1)

2 : Impact on the Organization

The introduction of a new practice has an impact on an organization to some degree in all of its components. An organization can be divided into four main components that can be affected by a new practice as follows:  (RS246-1, p. 24) 
  • Processes include any formal and informal procedures that direct how operations are completed within any segment of the organization.
  • Structure of the organization refers to the formal lines of authority and informal lines of communication and authority.
  • Culture includes the norms, practices, and shared beliefs and attitudes of the individual people within the organization.
  • Business focuses on the underlying business model incorporated by the organization. Introducing a practice will impact the model by addressing issues such as competitiveness, strategies, and strategic management.
Reference: (RS246-1)

3 : Implementation Champion (IC)

The role of IC is a critical position in any effort to implement new organizational work processes or project practices. An IC support survey found that respondents: (RS246-1a, p. 5)
  1. Adequate Time - had little designated time to perform IC tasks
  2. Adequate Support - believed that minimal support was provided by management for new practice implementation
  3. Adequate Visibility - enjoyed little visibility for implementation efforts
  4. Implementation Difficulty - encountered difficulties at various organizational levels during the implementation effort
  5. Primary Barriers - encountered barriers that were primarily cultural and organizational rather than technical
  6. Level of Success - believed they were only moderately effective in their IC responsibilities
Reference: (RS246-1a)

4 : Implementation Plan

CII has recognized that the greatest challenge to organizations initiating change and new practices is the development of an implementation plan. Organizations undertaking an implementation process often fail to establish a roadmap or vision for implementing a proposed practice. (RS246-1, p. 15)
Reference: (RS246-1)

5 : Leadership

Successful change management efforts are directly dependent on the capabilities of the leader leading the change. (RS246-1a, p. 21)
Reference: (RS246-1a)

6 : Implementation and Experience

The requirements for successful implementation of practices change as an organization’s implementation experience increases. This research was the basis for creation of the Experienced Reference Index (ERI) tool, which is comprised of 3 structural elements: 1) levels of experience, 2) five areas of implementation focus and 3) individual concerns that must be addressed by the implementation team. Communication is a key area that requires special focus and attention. (RS246-1b, p. 1)
Reference: (RS246-1b)

7 : Implementation Tool #1

IR246-2, The Implementation Planning Model: Steps to Success

The 10-step Planning Model should be viewed as a series of steps that begins with needs analysis and ends at implementation and benchmarking. An organization examining the possibility of implementing a new practice should develop an implementation plan that uses the steps as milestones for the schedule and process.In addition this tools includes the:
  • Implementation Matrix – This matrix within the Implementation Planning Model outlines tasks, barriers, strategies and success indicators that will be required from an organization that is undertaking the implementation of a practice or process change. 
  • Staircase Implementation Model – This staircase model introduces a series of phased steps to implementation that are intended to provide an organization with a stepwise approach to successful implementation.  
  • Implementation Pyramid – Developed from prior research, provides an organization with a big picture model of the steps required in the implementation process. IR 246-2 builds upon the fourth step, Implementation Plan & Goals, of the Implementation Pyramid. 
Reference: (IR246-2)

8 : Implementation Tool #2

IR 246-3, Support for the Implementation Champion: The Experience Reference Index (ERI)

The ERI provides a detailed extension of the Implementation Planning Model, and is based on a recognition that implementation concerns will change over time for an organization. For example, the first element of the index is the level of experience of the organization with implementation.
Reference: (IR246-3)

Key Performance Indicators

Improved productivity, Improved customer satisfaction, Improved performance/achieved success

Research Publications

Support for the Implementation Champion: The Experience Reference Index - RS246-1b

Publication Date: 03/2013 Type: Research Summary Pages: 49 Status: Supporting Product

Support for the Implementation Champion: The Experience Reference Index - IR246-3

Publication Date: 11/2012 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 25 Status: Tool

The Role of Executive Support in Implementation Champion Success - RS246-1a

Publication Date: 09/2009 Type: Research Summary Pages: 25 Status: Supporting Product

The Implementation Planning Model: Steps to Success, Version 1.2 - IR246-2

Publication Date: 08/2009 Type: Implementation Resource Pages: 75 Status: Tool

The Implementation Planning Model: An Overview - RS246-1

Publication Date: 11/2007 Type: Research Summary Pages: 29 Status: Supporting Product

Implementing CII Practices - The Implementation Planning Model: Steps to Success - RR246-11

Publication Date: 02/2007 Type: Research Report Pages: 86 Status: Reference

Presentations from CII Events

Plenary Session - The Implementation Planning Model

Publication Date: 07/2007 Presenter: Number of Slides: 21 Event Code: AC07

Implementation Session - The Implementation Planning Model

Publication Date: 07/2007 Presenter: Number of Slides: 66 Event Code: AC07

Session - New Implementation Champion Toolkit

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 10 Event Code: PIW405

Session - Implementation Thermometer Results

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 6 Event Code: PIW405

Session - Introduction to the Implementation Planning Model

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 24 Event Code: PIW907

Session - Implementation Planning Model Workshop

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 19 Event Code: PIW907

Session - Aiding Implementation- The CII Implementation Toolbox

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 29 Event Code: PIW1008

Session - In Hot Pursuit of Project Improvement: The Implementation Planning Model

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 24 Event Code: PIW408

Session - Improving Your Aim: Trying Out the Implementation Planning Model

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 15 Event Code: PIW408

Session - The CII Implementation Assistant

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 26 Event Code: PIW410

Session - Influencing Project Decision Making

Publication Date: Presenter: Number of Slides: 30 Event Code: PIW312