What is an Implementation Plan & How Do I Create One

Updated Aug 3, 2022.
Implementation Plan

The primary purpose of creating a project plan is to execute the project successfully. Successful execution of a project is impossible without an implementation plan.

An organization may get stuck on how to execute its project or may execute it incorrectly without an implementation plan.

Project managers can easily and effectively manage the project process if they follow the steps highlighted in the project implementation plan and get the desired result. 

You can avoid failure in the project execution phase and attain project success with a well-detailed implementation plan. 

This article will reveal every important detail you need to know to create an effective implementation plan.

Let’s get started.

What is an Implementation Plan in Project Management?

You can define an implementation plan as a project management tool that outlines a step-by-step process to bring a project from start to completion.

In other words, your implementation plan lays down the process or procedure a project manager and the project team must follow to execute a project successfully.

Implementation plan template
Source: Praxie

A project implementation plan is a detailed document containing a list of tasks with individual roles and responsibilities. It determines the project goals, timeline, and resources needed to support successful implementation.

There is a difference between a strategic plan and an implementation plan. The simple difference is that strategic plans describe the project manager's implementation strategy while implementation plans convert a strategy into an actual task.

Implementation project plan template
Source: Template.net

Key Components of an Implementation Plan 

1. Project Goals and Objective

A project needs to have a goal or objective. An object is a key milestone that the project team must complete to achieve the goal. The organization can choose an objective during strategic planning sessions.

Project Goals and Objective - strategic planning
Source: IronStone HQ

2. Success Criteria

Key stakeholders and project leaders have to reach a mutual conclusion on what would be described as the project’s critical success factor (CSF) and how to measure success.

3. Scope Statement

The scope statement is a critical component of an implementation plan. It is a brief description of your project scope. Proper project scope management is critical for effective project planning.

4. Resource Plan

A resource plan is one of the key components of an implementation plan. Create a detailed resource plan containing every resource needed for successfully implementing the project. 

These resources can be human resources, equipment, and every material required to carry out the project.

5. Risk Analysis

You can effectively use risk assessment tools to identify all the potential project risks you may encounter.

Potential project risks
Source: HSE Docs

6. Implementation Timeline

To have a successful implementation plan, you will require a clear project timeline. You get a clear overview of individual tasks in your project and project deliverables with a project timeline.

Project timeline - implementation timeline
Source: Vertex42

7. Implementation Plan Milestone

If you want to measure progress when executing your project implementation plan, it is vital to identify key milestones which you will use to track project progress. Schedule milestones in your project execution plan around due dates set for project completion. 

Project Execution Plan Template
Source: Smartsheet

8. Team Roles and Responsibility

There is a need to assign responsibilities to team members, with everyone knowing what role or responsibility is assigned. 

9. Implementation Plan Metrix

Define metrics such as the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and other key metrics to control the implementation plan's progress effectively.

How to Write a Project Implementation Plan 

You must have accurate knowledge to create a solid implementation plan. Here is a detailed outline of how to write a project implementation plan.

1. Research and Discovery

The first step is identifying what you require to create an effective project implementation plan. You will have to conduct research to answer these questions.

  • What kind of teams are needed to achieve the strategic goals?
  • What is the time duration required to execute the strategic plan?
  • What resources are required, and what quantity should be allocated from the budget?

You must conduct a strategic interview with key stakeholders, key partners, customers, and team members to gather the required information.

This strategic interview aims to determine what components and assignments are essential and what factors are of greater importance so you can prioritize. List all the set project goals you wish to achieve and cross-embed the strategic plan with the implementation plan.

Finally, everything must align with the strategic plan for the project implementation plan to work.

2. Identify Assumptions and Risks

Identifying risks and assumptions in your implementation plan is important. Examples of assumptions and risks in your implementation plan include paid time off or holidays, market instability, damaged tools, budget constraints, and losing personnel. 

You must consider all these factors before executing the implementation plan.

3. Assign Responsibility

Assigning responsibilities is vital when carrying out each activity in the implementation plan. For a task to be properly assigned, the manager must delegate specific roles and responsibilities to team members.

After assigning tasks, monitor them to ensure that all assigned tasks are carried out effectively.

4. Determine Activities

Finally, you must recognize all the important activities to complete your plan. Here are some questions that can help you decide on important activities to include in your implementation plan.

  • What is the organizational structure?
  • Who are the project’s key players?
  • What are the crucial steps and key milestones you want to accomplish?
  • Do you have task dependencies you need to factor in?
  • Which activities are essential for completing the project’s strategic initiative?
  • What are the stakeholder requirements?
  • What are the allocated resources?
  • What are all the potential risks involved in the project?

After implementing these questions, your implantation plan is complete and ready for execution. 

You may need project approval from the top executives before you can start implementing your plan.

Implementation Plan Example

Implementation plans are widely used across various organizations and have wholesome benefits.

The primary goal of an implementation plan is to implement company strategy effectively and create a workable step-by-step process of bringing the project to completion.

Here is a detailed example of how an implementation plan works.

Project PlanBuild a New Website
ObjectivesEvery notable milestone the team must achieve before reaching the utmost project goal. 
Success CriteriaCommunication is vital for everyone involved in the project to understand the success criteria clearly. The development team must communicate with the stakeholders to reach a consensus on the success criteria.With effective communication tools, understanding the success criteria is easy.
Scope StatementAt this point, the developmental team creates an implementation schedule that contains each task for every team member.The project manager must break down this project into tasks known as user stories in product and software development.The team should take note of certain tasks that will not be done or are not achievable.
Resource PlanProject resources consist of every expert or professional involved in the developmental process and every piece of equipment and materials required.
Risk AnalysisThe project manager should know that certain risks will arise and plan for them adequately. The project can identify probable risks and develop adequate contingencies using a risk register.
Timeline, Milestone, and MetricsThe development team can use a project management system to mark out every milestone task achieved and the project timeline to measure project progress effectively and to see if any team member is falling behind in the given task.
Assignment of Tasks and ResponsibilitiesAssign tasks to every team member so that the collective effort of every member produces the desired result.

Benefits of an Implementation Plan

The implementation plan plays a key role in the success of the overall strategic plan. Without the implementation plan, project managers will not be able to execute the project’s implementation strategy, resulting in project completion.

Throughout the project's implementation phase, the project manager, key stakeholders, and the entire team have a clear direction to execute the project easily.

1. Increased Cooperation

If each team member works in isolation or does not work well with other team members, it will affect the project’s result. With an implementation plan in place, you can foster cooperation within the team.

Working with other members is easier when everyone knows what is expected of them and the steps to be followed in the implementation plan with their tasks.

An implementation plan helps to bridge the gap between team members to ensure everyone works in sync with themselves.

2. Buy-in 

Buy-in in project management means getting stakeholders on board with the project mission and vision and involved in the decision-making process.

Suppose you do a thorough job in your research and acquire all the relevant information for successfully implementing the strategic plan. In that case, you can buy in from key project stakeholders and important partners involved in the entire project.

The up-side to this is that you can always get buy-in with a well-structured and detailed implementation plan.

3. Meeting Goals to Ensure Project Success

Communication and clear understanding are key to accomplishing project goals. Setting a goal and getting every team member to understand how to accomplish this goal is possible through the implementation plan.

Ensure you carry along the strategy director and implementation leader when creating communication channels for the implementation plan. 

Best Practices for Implementation Planning 

Putting these principles to work within your team while executing the implementation plan will guarantee success in executing the project. 

1. Create a Designated Implementation Team

A specific team focused on ensuring the productive implementation of a particular plan is essential. Create a specific team burdened with the responsibility of ensuring that the success of an implementation plan increases the chances of success even though it is not compulsory.

2. Create a Shared Vision Among All Team Members

Your team members must clearly understand the implementation plan's purpose. If the vision is clear to them, a deeper connection to the work will be established, which will serve as a motivating factor.

Always encourage team members to express their views on the strategic and implementation plans.

3. Choose a Dependable Team Leader 

The team leader has to properly orient and coach the team members on the best ways to carry out their implementation plan tasks.

This individual should seek guidance from past implementation plan leaders and use the information gatherers to improve the implementation process.

In certain cases, you can have more than one team leader (multiple team leaders), and their responsibilities will differ a little from each other.

Within the team, a champion will be mostly responsible for getting things done, and a viable management sponsor who helps the team scale obstacles will be required.

4. Define Actionable Plans

To make remarkable changes in the implementation process, you must stay on course, identify challenges and discover the reasons for these problems.

You can identify these challenges through

  • Brainstorming
  • Survey
  • New-members information form
  • Notecard method

With these techniques, you can easily identify various project management challenges, gain more insights into the project implementation plan and create solutions to the identified challenges.

You can effectively implement the Notecard method in this manner. You need to ask the team members three important questions.

  • What is the single biggest challenge facing the team?
  • What will be the most relevant issue in the next five years?
  • What is the best strategy to tackle these issues?

After the cards have been submitted, the next step is to identify the most similar answers and isolate them to be deliberated.

5. Create an Action-Oriented Plan

Create an action plan focused on incremental action and not just having continuous discussions. Your plan must encourage you to take significant steps that will accumulate in you getting the desired result.

Project action plan - Project Management Action plan
Source: SketchBubble

While creating a project implementation plan, ensure it is reality-based. Creating a non-reality-based plan means trying to achieve something you cannot. In other words, your plan should not be trying to solve a proxy problem. 

In creating your plan, it is important to identify what you require to impact the identified challenges and make notable changes.

For example 

  • What organizational resources are required to get the work done? 
  • How do you allocate resources to the needed areas?
  • What are the additional resources required to complete the project?

You will create a detailed plan to impact the identified issues with this knowledge.

6. Value Communication

Constant communication with the team enables you to see the project better, keeps the project transparent, helps generate new ideas and strategic initiatives, and ensures everyone is on the same page.

Regular and honest communication among team members will foster cooperation and enhance productivity. Ensure that the team’s contributions during discussions are perceived as valuables and let them know they are expected to contribute.

You can use team management software to foster better communication among your teams and manage your teams effectively. 

7. Monitor Progress and Incremental Success Consistently

Ensure you perform constant evaluations and analyses to ensure you are still on track regarding the implementation process. You can hold progress report meetings to measure and analyze development.

By constantly monitoring progress, you will be able to identify potential risks, make the necessary adjustment before a crisis hits, and allow you to adapt before processes or expectations become solidified.

Celebrating milestones encourages team members and helps them to feel valued and part of something that works. The team will remain motivated and willing to see the process through by celebrating milestones. You can use project tracker software to track your tasks and projects.

8. Involve the Right at the Appropriate Time

This best practice involves discovering the best time to involve upper management. In the project initiation phase, you must include key decision makers and not just any team member.

You should list out critical tasks that you must execute and select the right personnel to carry out these tasks. The next move is allocating resources and determining what tasks you require to complete the larger task.

Having the right people working with you will guarantee the success of the project implementation plans.

9. Publicize Your Plan

Maintaining transparency with team members and management is important to the success of the implementation plan. During implementation planning, it is not advisable to indulge stakeholders' involvement at all times. 

Ensure you make your plan available to higher-ups to keep your team accountable down the line. 

Implementation Plan FAQs

What’s The Difference Between an Action Plan and an Implementation Plan?

The most significant difference between an action plan and an implementation plan is that an implementation plan addresses various factors that affect the implementation process, such as risks, resources, and team roles & responsibilities.

On the other hand, an action plan is focused on describing work packages and tasks.

Who Creates Implementation Plans?

The project manager is responsible for creating the implementation plan for a particular project or series of projects. 

With the help of stakeholders and certain team members, the project manager can develop a comprehensive implementation plan. 

What is the Implementation Process?

The implementation process in project management is a series of events in which plans, strategies, and goals are converted into actions to accomplish strategic project objectives and goals.

Useful Project Management Software for Successful Implementation Planning 

You do not have to go through the rigorous stress of creating your implementation plan in a spreadsheet or Word document. 

Many simple project management software tools help you create your implementation plan with an implementation schedule best suited for your implementation and execution plan.

Here are the project management software tools that will give you your desired results.

  • Monday.com is a highly-customizable project management tool that provides users with various tools for creating and tracking your implementation plan, dependencies and budgets, and delegating responsibilities.
  • ClickUp is an affordable project management software that offers the most inclusive free-forever plan with extensive functions not limited to successful project implementation planning and execution.
  • Wrike is a powerful project planning tool that helps you create and execute your strategic implementation plan.

Every wise project manager knows that having a well-structured implementation plan increases the likelihood of completing the entire project. Taking the implementation planning process as a vital part of the project is very important because a lot depends on this process. With the right software tool, you can easily create an implementation plan suited to your specific project need.

Anastasia Belyh

Editor at FounderJar

Anastasia has been a professional blogger and researcher since 2014. She loves to perform in-depth software reviews to help software buyers make informed decisions when choosing project management software, CRM tools, website builders, and everything around growing a startup business.

Anastasia worked in management consulting and tech startups, so she has lots of experience in helping professionals choosing the right business software.