Are you the type of person that sees something through to the very end?
That is, are you an implementer?
If not, don’t feel too bad: most people aren’t natural project managers.
And that’s become very clear to us as Juice has worked with companies seeking to be more innovative, as they go through the i5 Innovation Process. Organizations often embrace and dive right into the first four steps of the i5 with vigor. It’s just that last step—Implementation—that continues to be the runt of the litter, so to speak.
As a result, we’ve seen organizations have great ideas eroded for reasons including:
- Lack of support, because a business case for the solution hasn’t been made properly;
- Not aligning the resources required for implementation;
- Getting mired in the paralysis of conventional project planning; and/or
- Failing to achieve (and demonstrate) incremental progress.
In other words, without the ability to set your project into motion—that is, to implement it—your great idea can’t go anywhere.
But here’s the good news: you don’t have to be a savvy project manager to get things done. In fact, there are many easy-to-use and effective tools that can help real teams bring their innovations to fruition—provided someone owns and takes responsibility for that last step of the innovation process.
Let’s explore each of those tools, shall we?
- Van Gundy’s implementation checklist. This classic logical checklist identifies all the obstacles you are likely to face as your team begins implementation—things including policies, financial constraints, personnel, technological weaknesses and the like.
- Strategic Gameplan. To have your innovation realized, you’re going to need support. The Strategic Gameplan is a large graphical template that helps you create and present a high-level business case to stakeholders. It allows you to address:
- Your solution, and the problem that it will solve
- Measurement—that is, how you will measure and track success
- Resources needed
- Steps for implementation – in other words, how you’re going to get it done.
- Scrum. No, I’m not talking about the daily Q&A media sessions at Parliament Hill! Scrum is an agile software tool that breaks down large projects into small “bursts.” The software is “agile” in that it can address and adapt to unpredictable challenges throughout the course of an implementation. It’s also useful because it feeds team momentum, and concretely shows success.
- Prototyping. There are various types of prototypes, and here we’re specifically talking about “rapid prototyping.”This is a tool for testing out ideas and learning from low-cost failures. In concert with the Strategic Gameplan and Scrum, prototyping allows you to not only gain support and move your idea forward, but to improve it in the process.
Don’t spend all that time and effort on an innovation, only to hit a dead-end once implementation time rolls around. Take control of implementation—and reap the rewards of your breakthrough idea.
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