Section 3.9. Program Rollout


3.9. Program Rollout

The activities you have engaged in so far (and I have certainly condensed them here) have brought you to the point of having a quality management system in place, backed up by a supporting process program. You have entered into the project with executive support and have chartered a process team. You have focused your efforts along very distinct lines, and then you and your team have built a program with the active help of the people who will ultimately use it. Then you piloted the program and fine-tuned it based on the results of the pilot. Now you are ready to roll out the program into the day-to-day business of the organization.

Program rollout is not so much about sprinting out of the blocks as it is about preparing the organization to move with you. To do this, you need to make sure you have a sound implementation plan in place. The implementation plan is a roadmap you can use to integrate the process program into the company's way of doing business. Such a plan typically includes the following:

  • A description of the scope and contents of the process program

  • An identification of the impacted groups and managers the program will touch

  • An identification of any additional training or coaching set into place to support the rollout

  • A description of the support team (the process team) that will shepherd rollout activities

  • A schedule for the rollout of program components across the groups

  • A description of process support materials available to the groups

  • A description of the milestones and target dates used to define a successful rollout

As early as a draft is available, the implementation plan should be reviewed by executive management, by the partner groups, and by any potentially impacted parties. The plan is a significant change agent within the organization and thus needs the blessing of all these groups.

When you've developed the plan and it's been approved, it should be implemented with the same discipline you'd apply to any project within the organization. The program should be tracked according to its budget and schedule, its milestones and deliverables, and you should regularly monitor its progress.

Depending on the nature of your program and the scope of its reach, the rollout may last from a few to many weeks. The key here is to keep it under your guidance and control until you are sure it has been firmly cemented into placethat is, that it is being used how it should be used by the people who should use it, with only general mentoring and guidance by your team.

Here's a brief look at some considerations to help make program rollout a smooth process.

Views from the Top

LEADERSHIP LEADS

"Leadership is critical in implementing an improvement program. Organizational conduct always follows leadership activity. Despite what kind of program is set into place, if leadership does not visibly demonstrate its commitment to it, the organization will drift from the program."

Linda Butler, Director IT, Corporate Services CIO, BellSouth Telecommunications

"Executive commitmentsponsorshipis vital to the success of a process initiative. But it must be appointed appropriately and thoughtfully. True leadership is required. The program sponsor must have the authority and the visibility to shepherd the program through. More than that, though, the sponsor must posses a sound understanding of the subject matter to be the 'voice' of the process initiative; he must live the commitment in the eyes of the organization. You have to be passionate about this subject; you can't fake it."

Guy Bevente, AVP, Information Technology National Data, SBC


3.9.1. Identify Impacted Groups

You and your process team may be charged with creating the process program, with caring for it, with managing and maintaining it, but you're not really the owners. The owners are the groups impacted by the program, those who will adopt the program for their own use, who will rely on it to help them carry out their business activities. That's why it's important to identify these work groups as part of the rollout. By this point, you have worked closely with these groups, so there's no doubt now as to who they are. But it helps to document the relationship. It serves as an organizational link between the groups, your process team, and the process program.

3.9.2. Identify the Support Team

At this point in the evolution of the organizational process program, your role and the role of your team will begin to change. Up until now, you've been focusing on strategic activities. You've assembled the team, targeted improvement opportunities, and assessed the organization. With your team, you've developed a process program that fits with organizational business objectives. You'll continue with these strategic activities: process improvement is about their ongoing application. But now you'll need to begin focusing on more tactical activities. Your process team now moves from development into implementation. The team members are now going to need to work to help support the use of the program throughout the designated work groups.

It's important to identify your team members as taking on this support role. It serves as a show of executive commitment to the program's success. It also allies your team, in a public way, with the members of the work groups who'll be using the program. This support role is essential to your program's success. It might be the single most essential element.

Especially early on in program adoption, the work groups will rely heavily upon the support that your team provides. There will be a lot of hand-holding, a lot of very active participation from your team. And so it's important that the work groups know explicitly who they can call on for help, who will be available for guidance and assistance, and who will shepherd through the new activities they may be called on to perform.

3.9.3. Define Program Support Materials

The work groups that will be adopting the process program are naturally going to need access to it. As we saw earlier in this chapter, a process program can be made up of many elements: processes, procedures, templates, forms, checklists. Usually these will be managed from some form of repository. The work groups will need access to the material in this repository, but this will probably not be enough. In "Formal Training and Instruction," earlier in this chapter, I looked at the necessity of providing the work groups with the training they need in order to follow the program conscientiously. In much the same way, the groups will also need access to the kinds of support materials that will complement the training and provide an ongoing reference as work unfolds.

This typically includes items like guidelines, instructions, even sample artifacts. It can also include points of contact for coaches and mentors. And in sophisticated scenarios, it might include workflow management systems, hyperlinked manuals, or forms of e-learning and content management systems. The success of your program rollout will be greatly benefited by ensuring that this support material is identified and made available to the work groups.

3.9.4. Schedule the Rollout

You'll need a well-thought-out schedule to successfully implement the process program in the organization. The schedule will be used by you to manage the various implementation activities. It will be used by your process team as a way to guide delivery of their tasks and measure progress. And it will be used by the partner work groups to coordinate interactions while still managing daily business duties. Management may also use it as a way to monitor progress.

Keep two things in mind when developing the implementation schedule:

  • First, create a schedule that is realistic, one that comfortably accommodates all the various activities you'll need to account for in order to introduce the various process components into the organization. Often people are tempted to push forward an aggressive schedule, with the idea that it's better to show fast action here after so much planning and preparation. But this approach is rarely effective. Instead, carefully consider the scope of your program, the type of groups that will be using it, and the resources of your process team to put a schedule in place that reflects the true organizational environment.

  • Second, imbed a priority into the schedule. Focus early on implementing major program components, those elements that are critical to overall success or that support major business practices. Then you can allow later on for a focus on the smaller or tangential components of the program. If you imbed this kind of priority, you can be assured of implementing the parts of the program that will mean the most to the organization as a whole.

3.9.5. Establish Milestones and Target Dates

Plan the rollout of the process program as a series of distinct, measurable goals. If you create a schedule that accounts for the numerous and varied implementation activities, and you imbed into this schedule an implementation priority, you should have a structure that supports the identification of progress milestones, with target dates attached to them. These milestonesand how you identify themshould be geared to a single purpose: to chart the way for your teams to move through implementation activities. Defining these milestones is a way to introduce a logical order into the sequence of implementation activities.

It is also a way to segment activities into a series of mini-projects. Depending on the scope of your program, the overall implementation schedule may be large, and it may involve multiple teams, each with separate parts to play. Defining milestonesand linking them to specific deliverablesprovides a way to break down tasks and responsibilities into manageable chunks. Your process team can then use this segmented schedule as a way to manage time, direct focus, and coordinate work. The work groups can use it as a way to plan when their resources will be needed, and what these resources will need to be. And, of course, you will use it as a way to manage overall project activity and report status to the process team, the work groups, and upper management.




Process Improvement Essentials
Process Improvement Essentials: CMMI, Six SIGMA, and ISO 9001
ISBN: 0596102178
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2006
Pages: 116

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