You should also assess your budget, comparing dollars spent with dollars earned. You need to gather and track that information to see whether you are hitting your targets and to get proof that you are succeeding in the cost savings you promised when the program was launched. Every statistic you collect can be used to further sell your program and show your supporters that you are delivering on your goals.
Many of our later custom programs were funded by dollars that our team saved on the front end by reducing travel costs, classroom costs, and lost hours of productivity. For example, instead of spending the projected nearly $1.5 million on teaching IT and desktop-applications classes in the classroom, we spent $300,000 on our initial 300 Webbased courses. That saved the company $200,000 on travel expenses, $450,000 on materials, and almost $900,000 on labor. Of that savings, 60 percent went back into our budget.
It was critical that we were accurate with our budget forecast before the launch because Purington had promised the company that we could deliver 400 percent more training for 40 percent less budget. That meant our budget was automatically 40 percent smaller the day we started. The money saved up front was earmarked for custom development that otherwise would not have been possible. At the end of the first fiscal year, we came out $126.00 over our projected budget.
It's not just important that you hit your targets; it's equally critical to publicize them. Those numbers ”compared with our original baseline ”had a powerful impact when we reminded executives why they had supported this initiative in the first place.
Have acknowledged and eliminated your failures. Even the best strategic plans are flawed. The sooner you weed out the mistakes and tweak the existing system, the sooner you can focus on those elements that are successful.
Are monitoring usage rates. The continuing success of your project will rely heavily on making sure that existing and new users are taking advantage of your system.
Have evaluated the effectiveness of your content. Training needs will change constantly. It's a good idea to constantly examine course usage and rotate out those offerings that are least successful.
Are selling your successes. If you don't brag about what you've accomplished, no one else will. Take every opportunity to share your accomplishments with the employee population, executive team, and the media. Soon others will start spreading the word.