What is Project Implementation?
Implementation is the process of transporting the software from the developer organization to the client organization. In other words, it means preparing the software to move from the development phase to the production phase.
Table of Content
- 1 What is Project Implementation?
- 2 Goals of Project Implementation
- 3 Objectives of Implementation of IT Project
- 4 Role of Implementation Plan
- 5 Importance of Implementation Plan
- 6 Contents of Project Implementation Plan
- 6.1 Purpose
- 6.2 System Description
- 6.3 Assumptions, Dependencies, and Constraints
- 6.4 Client Point of Contact
- 6.5 Major Tasks During Implementation
- 6.6 Implementation Schedule
- 6.7 Safety, Security, and Privacy
- 6.8 Facility Management
- 6.9 Implementation Requirements by Sites
- 6.10 Risk and Contingencies by Site
- 6.11 Verification and Validation for Site
- 6.12 Acceptance Criterion
- 7 Challenges and Issues in Implementation Plan
This requires the following tasks to be performed:
- We are preparing the hardware and software per the specifications of the environment in which the project is required to run.
- Taking the backup of the project’s database and that of the project as a whole from the central repository and then creating the same environment on the client’s machine. This is the most crucial aspect as the project components may not be compatible and the developer may take time to understand the problem and then resolve them.
- Preparing the acceptance test plan and the test cases based on which the client will test the software and then provide the acceptance certificate.
- Preparing the team members concerning the tasks allocated to them and the work they are required to do in the implementation phase. Further, if the client is located at a foreign location, then the developer’s organization would take care of issues related to the travel plans, documents, and logistics of the team members.
Goals of Project Implementation
The implementation of a project must aim at the following:
- Efficient coordination among all sub-units of project teams and their activities
- Enabling changes in project design appropriate for the final outcome of the projects
- Discouraging those changes in a project design that may not be essential for the final outcome of the project
- Completing the project within the targeted cost and time
- Minimizing variations in the standards of performance
Objectives of Implementation of IT Project
After discussing the basic importance and utility of the implementation phase of a software development project, let us now understand the objectives of the implementation phase of an IT project.
These objectives can be listed as follows:
- Getting the final sign-off and acceptance certificate, which will ensure the release of the remainder of the payment for the software project.
- Developing customer relationships with the client and exploring possibilities for repeat orders.
- Striving for delivery of defect-free software to the client.
- Ensuring that minimum delay in the implementation schedule is observed to reduce the implementation cost. This issue becomes critical when the team is posted at an international site where the price of accommodating them is quite high and currency fluctuations are frequent.
- Ensuring that the project manager can stick to the agreed set of requirements till the implementation phase; otherwise, the client will ask the project manager to implement those requirements in the software. This results in requirements creep and the consequent escalation of costs in the project.
- Resolving the issues of the project team as well as the client. This is very important for the project manager as there should be no barrier in the communication or interaction between the development team and the client or its team members.
- To capture the learning of the implementation phase and share it with other team members so that the experience can be utilized in future projects.
A summarised version of the preceding points of the implementation phase.
- People: Attract, retain, and develop the best talent
- Integrity: gain customer satisfaction through respect, honesty, and trust
- Quality: Provide the best quality projects
- Innovation: show commitment to excellence through innovative thinking
- Accountability: Acknowledge and assume responsibility for decisions and obligations
Role of Implementation Plan
The implementation plan plays a very important role in the implementation of a project. The role of the implementation plan can be understood through the following points:
- It provides guidelines to all the stakeholders of the project.
- It brings transparency to the project’s implementation process mechanism. In other words, various stakeholders know the current status of the project and know what the issues are as well as other requirements in terms of resources, funds, etc.
- It provides a tracking mechanism to the executive management, the client, and the project managers so that effective control measures can be deployed to ensure that the implementation phase goes on uninterrupted.
- It lets the manager decide the most feasible path to take to ensure that the project gets completed on time.
- It provides a bridging mechanism for the client and the developer to monitor the implementation process as per the implementation plan. In other words, it provides a communication mechanism for the client to remain informed about the various activities performed in the implementation process.
Importance of Implementation Plan
The following points depict the importance of the implementation plan:
- The most important aspect of the implementation plan is that it allows the client to have sufficient control of the project during the last stage of the development cycle. For example, the implementation plan depicts the acceptance testing phase, which allows partial control of the project. Before this stage of the project, the client is involved in discussions and negotiations only but was never allowed to have control of the software to know how it will perform in reality.
- This implementation plan helps the client to know the areas in which the developers, DBAs, testers, etc., would be working concerning the client’s infrastructural facilities such as servers, network, etc. Plans that were made earlier were used to depict the development activities at the developer’s site only, but the implementation plan necessarily depicts the usage of the client’s infrastructure by the developer organization.
- The implementation plan also provides the scope of the work that the development team members are likely to undertake. For example, the server room activity determines exactly the scope of the work to be carried out in that room.
- The implementation plan provides both the client and the developer organization a platform from where the developer will transfer control of the software and the supporting functions to the client.
- The implementation plan depicts the induction of the key players from the client site. These players are entrusted with the job of verifying and validating the software requirements. This is in sharp contrast to the initial stages of the project, where the key players from the developer’s side get involved to give shape to the project nuances; in the end, however, it is the client’s key players that get involved through teamwork.
For example, during the project’s finalization process, the CEO, Chief Technical Officer (CTO), and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) from the developer organization get involved to ensure that the project is materialized whereas, in the implementation phase, the client’s key players get into the picture to check whether the project is developed per the decided specifications.
Contents of Project Implementation Plan
Having understood the role and importance of the project implementation plan, let us discuss the contents of the plan. Due to the nature of the IT projects, the implementation plan of these projects does not have a fixed structure. This is because IT projects have their characteristics and features, and it is these which guide the implementation process.
For example, if it is a single-site project, its implementation plan would be different from that of a multisite project. However, irrespective of the nature of the project, all projects share some common features or content related to the project implementation plan. These can be listed as follows:
- System Description
- Assumptions, Dependencies, and Constraints
- Client Point of Contact
- Major Tasks During Implementation
- Implementation Schedule
- Safety, Security, and Privacy
- Facility Management
- Implementation Requirements by Sites
- Risk and Contingencies by Site
- Verification and Validation for Site
- Acceptance Criterion
Defining the purpose of the implementation plan sets the direction concerning what is required to be achieved in the implementation process.
It describes the different aspects related to the system or the complete project. The purpose of this section is to let the client know the details of the system and how it is going to be implemented.
Assumptions, Dependencies, and Constraints
These are invariably a part and parcel of every project. The assumptions, dependencies, and constraints in the project implementation phase let the client know the areas where the implementation process might be hindered.
Client Point of Contact
This section of the implementation plan provides information about the client in case it has to be contacted for any issues and challenges that are likely to occur in the implementation phase.
Major Tasks During Implementation
This section depicts the significant tasks that need to be performed in the implementation phase, for example, setting up the hardware at the client site.
This denotes the schedule of the implementation phase. In other words, this provides details about the schedule, including the time, of all the tasks or activities that are to be completed in the implementation phase.
Safety, Security, and Privacy
This section focuses on the plan which comprises the rules related to the safety, security, and privacy of the client’s and developer’s assets.
This section focuses on aspects related to the facilities provided by the client during the implementation phase.
Implementation Requirements by Sites
This section provides the schedule for all the requirements of the various sites of the project covered under the implementation process.
Risk and Contingencies by Site
This section deals with the various risks and complexities involved in the site where the project is required to be implemented.
Verification and Validation for Site
This section deals with different aspects related to the verification and validation process of the sites where the project is to be implemented.
This is the most important section of the implementation program. Here, the acceptance process of the software by the client is documented.
The implementation plan of an IT project of an organization.
After understanding the various aspects related to the project implementation process, let us now discuss the challenges faced in the implementation phase.
Challenges and Issues in Implementation Plan
Any challenge or issue may appear in any phase of the software development life cycle. These challenges and issues must be adequately addressed for the successful development of a project. A big challenge encountered by a project manager in the implementation phase is the management of the team and the client, as well as the executive management of the developer organization.
In fact, during the implementation phase, the client tends to make the developer organization work as hard as possible and implement minor changes in the software. Occasionally, the client may call in the quality or a functional expert to have a look at the software and give his/her opinion about the interface and functionality of the software, and recommend changes, if required.
Another challenge managers and developers may face is the compatibility of the hardware or the Operating System (OS) at the client’s end. The software that was working without any problems at the developer’s site may fail when installed at the client site because of the incompatibility of the hardware or OS.
Managers may face challenges with logistics support and the setting up of the workstation for the developer(s) at the client’s end. This results in a waste of time and often causes avoidable delays in the implementation phase.
Project managers may also find it difficult to ask for time from the client. For example, suppose an issue crops up, and the client representative is not authorized to take any decision. In this case, the representative has to wait for the person in authority to discuss the issue.
This person may be too busy to discuss the issue with the representative, and as a result of which the implementation schedule may be delayed. As mentioned earlier, managing team members is also a challenge that project managers face routinely.
For example, team members may be placed at a site or sites where parallel implementation is going on. In such a case, a representative at site 1 may have implemented the software and is running fine while the representative at site 2 may be unable to get the software up and running even though he/she has followed the same steps for the implementation of the software project.
The other issue that managers usually face during the implementation phase is related to the usage of the client’s data to which they cannot make any changes as they are guided by the security and safety policies of the data. Thus, they either have to create the data themselves, in which case it will take time, or they have to seek permission to use the data and check the software as a part of the testing process.
Managers also face challenges while dealing with vendors required to supply components such as desktops, laptops, servers, etc., needed for the development and implementation of the software project. If the components cannot be used with the software, it leads to further loss of time.
Managers may also face challenges while dealing with the internal politics of the team members and the client. The problem gets compounded when one client provides a suggestion or tries to resolve a query while the other client tries to delay, thwart, and manipulate things to its advantage. Apart from this, managers have to deal with the challenge of balancing time, cost, quality, and scope creep of the project during the implementation process.
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