As you select a vendor, the process of setting expectations begins. Part of the evaluation process is the establishment of a Scope of Work (SOW) and Project Plan document, the foundational elements of your implementation. Lean on your new vendor for a clear breakdown of what each milestone will entail – who’s involved, how much of their time is required, and what is delivered. Although there is a necessary expectation of changes throughout the implementation, your SOW and Project Plan create the backbone to support project teams throughout the implementation. Having diligence during the early stages of any project will pay dividends in the long run, especially as roadblocks arise.
Vendors will spend countless hours scoping and planning the project. Yet, those who have experienced a core system implementation understand that it would be impossible to fully understand the nuance of how the new solution will be delivered. The amount of time and energy required to put together a comprehensive outline of every detail, down to the most refined level, is unreasonable. Instead, both organizations embark on a partnership where mutual respect of each other’s abilities to embrace challenges as they arise is established. Strong communication and the role of change champions comes back into play here as you set these expectations internally.
In the thick of a big implementation effort, we forget that we’ve asked individuals to take on additional responsibilities, in addition to what is already a full workload. It falls on leaders and change champions to continuously call back to why the organization embarked upon the project and help motivate their teams to work towards this common goal. Having empathy in these moments is critical for morale and keeps team members aligned with the project vision. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest beyond the trees, which is why building a narrative for change is so important – it provides a foundation throughout the implementation.