Implementing Technology

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Product Demo & Early Discovery

Unless you’ve been handed something to take on after the purchasing decision is made, this step typically happens while you are deciding which product to purchase.

Formal Discovery & Implementation Planning

System selection is complete, and agreements are signed. It’s finally time to dive deeper into your processes, and how this new system will be able to handle them. Ensure your company’s key processes and best practices are documented, known, and can be handled smoothly. Then, identify the areas in which your processes will need to change perhaps due to a product feature or limitation.

Product Development & Modifications Begin

Again, unless you are doing the development of the tool in-house, this is generally handled by the external provider or consultant. At this point, the goal is to keep the project on track, ask for and communicate status updates, provide feedback on questions about customization or modifications and keep the foot on the gas pedal. A weekly check-in call is a great way to do this alongside a shared document where all groups can contribute asynchronously between calls.

Admin Training

At this point, you should have at least partial access to the product, and it could be a fully complete product or one still in development. This is the time for the person or team who will serve as the “Administrator” of the new technology to get their feet under them. This person may simply be in charge of assigning access to new hires, the group may be involved in training, nurturing, and scaling up the product internally, or anything in between.

Data Migration & Testing

A migration phase of the project is applicable when converting from one system to another. It typically involves special tools that assist with the movement of data. When working with the provider or consultant, they will have these tools in their arsenal.

Super User Training & User Acceptance Testing (UAT)

For heavily customized products, once there is enough structure in place and early legwork done in terms of working through anticipated and early hurdles, process changes, and if applicable, data migration, it’s time to start a formal feedback loop with super users. This may be the same group as the project stakeholders who helped to confirm processes and requirements early on, or a different one depending on the complexity and scale of the implementation.

Product Development & Modifications End

As super users test the product, developers are hard at work adjusting the tech, and project managers are hard at work adjusting processes and internal references.

User Training

Now it’s time to involve everyone who will be granted access to the product. Until you get a good understanding of how tech-savvy or accepting to change your user base is, it is better to overestimate the amount of training needed — try allocating time for 2x as much training as you originally jotted down.

Final Sign-off

Final adjustments have been made by product developers and project managers and now, it is time to make the final go/no-go decision — a particularly critical moment for major implementations that can halt business operations.

Go-Live and Final Data Migration

At this point, most of the data has been migrated over. Now, it’s time to get everyone logged out of and lock down the old system, move over the final data, including changes to existing data, since the last migration and do a final set of checks and balances.

Post-Deployment Support

Make sure your internal administrators get a good night’s rest and be prepared for a few days (or longer) of friction and on-the-fly solutions. If you’ve done your job well, this will be a relatively smooth period, and remember, no feedback might be worse than the opposite so be proactive in engaging the user base, soliciting user feedback, and handling or passing it along accordingly.

Phase II Planning Begins

You’ve made it to the other side. Congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back and jump right back on the saddle because it’s time to start planning for the next phase of improvements.

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Nicole Ellis

Nicole Ellis

Starting conversations about bettering business in a post-pandemic world. Providing resources to help improve business, work-life balance, parenting and more.