After an RFID project has been successfully deployed in one part of the organization, as a pilot or as a small-scale solution, the next step typically involves an organization-wide roll-out and sustenance. This changes the project dynamics. Whereas a small, focused team worked on the project before, a much larger team consisting of new members starts to work on the bigger project now. Whereas the knowledge base residing in the smaller team was leveraged through informal mechanisms before, the informal mechanisms need to be replaced by the formal ones so the larger team can tap into the knowledge base now. The number of stakeholders also increases. Some of the older stakeholders may move on to work in other areas. Although an obvious solution to the situation is to make sure that the results and the lessons learned are captured (as discussed in Chapter 5), it is not sufficient. That solution just addresses the mechanical aspect of project sustenance. To make the solution lasting, the results and the change must be built into the organization, that is, institutionalized. When a new process or a new way of doing business through RFID is institutionalized, it has a much higher chance of surviving the departure of the old team, changes in the business climate, or even changes in the technology.
However, the process of institutionalization is not easy. Even the most seasoned project teams often make a mistake in this step. Why? Because this step requires a slightly different set of skills to succeed. For example, the team testing out an RFID deployment on the factory floor under a tight deadline is likely to improvise, overcome resistance by finding temporary solutions, and do whatever it takes to get the project completed. When the project is completed and the time for a company-wide roll-out arrives, a different type of approach is required. Now, the team needs to bring new members on board, identify and address organizational interdependencies on a much larger scale than before, and most importantly, figure out how to share lessons learned with a wider, more diverse organization in a language that is understood by many.
To institutionalize the results, it is important to make sure that the right types of people with the right types of capabilities are on-board to take the project forward. The goals should be set up to encourage people to follow through and commit to the on-going success of the project. Lastly, the right type of organizational structure should be set up with people or a team having clear responsibility and resources to carry the project forward.