In a previous post we talked about fixing a broken process—drilling down to the root of the problem and crafting an effective and workable solution. With those steps complete, it’s time to implement the changes your project management team recommended. But before your Project Team begins using the new process, there are a handful of additional steps that will help to ensure the transition is smooth and your team’s stakeholders are committed to making the new process a success.
Identify data points to be measured
Determining the progress made by the improved process requires the ability to compare its performance to the original protocol, and you can’t track (or sometimes even fully understand) what you don’t measure. Begin by pinpointing those criteria that will need to be collected and monitored once the new process is in place. The measured data points will vary by the project team and areas affected, and may include task duration timeframes, resources consumed by various parts of the process, and capital or operating expenses spent as part of the effort. Of course, these same metrics should already be available for the process that’s being revised, at the very least having been gathered as part of the initial troubleshooting efforts when problems with the process were first explored.
Set desired performance levels
Even if some of the benchmarking data shows improvements, how will your team know the new process is truly working as expected? To ensure objectivity, it’s recommended to establish desired performance levels before swapping out the old process for the new one. Determine how many resources—money, time, etc.—you expect to save, how many hand offs or other tasks you can cut or streamline, or the level of improvement you want to see when it comes to other processes (communication, budgeting, contract negotiations, etc.). If there are likely to be discrepancies between how data was tracked as part of the old process and how it will be measured under the planned changes, make a note of those differences now so you’re able to accurately calculate performance.
Communicate the plan to stakeholders
With metrics on the existing process in and knowing how you expect the new process to affect operations, it’s crucial to relay that information to every stakeholder likely to be affected by the change. Be sure to clearly communicate how the transition to the new process will take place, the timeframe for the shift (particularly if different groups will be brought into the process in waves or if current projects will continue under the old process), and any responsibilities (gathering data, reporting problems, etc.) stakeholders have as part of the implementation.
Plan for review and evaluation
Just like the post mortems your project office conducts on finished projects, the new process should be subjected to similar scrutiny once it’s been in use long enough to have generated usable metrics. Determine how long it will take to see real-world performance data from the new process and what time span is reasonable for the process to have been in action from beginning to end. Depending on the process and where it resides in the Project Team, it may require waiting for an entire project to complete before seeing the kind of comprehensive data the team needs to gauge how well everything is working.
Hello, new process!
With the right preparation in place, it’s time to launch the new process. Be ready to answer any last-minute questions from stakeholders and note any glitches encountered or opportunities for additional improvements. You can address these during the scheduled review and work with the team to continue boosting the Project Team’s performance potential.