What is included in a solid software implementation plan?

software implementation plan

Do not roll out your new software without a solid software implementation plan. You’ve invested time, money, and your reputation developing or acquiring that new software. It will make your business more efficient, profitable, and easier to interact with. It’s going to be amazing!

After all, the software is ready, you’re ready. It can feel like you’re at the end of a marathon. But now is not the time to rush ahead. Here at WillDom, we take software implementation plans just as seriously as software development. 

What Does Software Implementation Mean?

The process of going live with your new or updated software. Adopting new software can include training, possible workflow changes, and compatibility with other company systems. The amount of work needed will depend on how different the new software is from the old and how many departments or systems it affects. 

Take a look at our top 5 must-have launch steps for software implementation best practices.

  1. Plan

You can use some of your development planning information for your launch plan. Keep your long-term goals for the new software front and center. 

The benefit of upgrading should be first in all your communications to your team. List your short-term necessities for the launch and all your deadlines. You may need to contact other vendors to ensure compatibility. 

You will need to train your team. Plan deadlines for non-crucial days and make sure your support team is working that day. 

Depending on your business, launching on a holiday could be a great idea or a disaster. Write out a detailed, step-by-step plan including deadlines, stakeholders, and possible sticking points. Then move to step 2.

Software Implementation Checklist:

  1. Purpose of this launch. What are the benefits to the company? Team members? Customers?
  2. Short-term necessities. 
  3. Long-term wishlist.
  4. What other software does this project interact with? 
  5. Where does this software fit in current workflows?
  6. What team members will work with this software? Be affected by this software?
  7. Deadlines.
  8. Prepare

Create launch communications, a safe testing space, and training programs. Talk with your developers and all vendors to get their perspectives on potential issues. Update and back up everything you can ahead of the new launch. You should have a fallback already in place in case of disaster. 

Assign an expert in each department that will use your new program. Brief them on the goals and timelines and make them part of the training. Having someone within the department act as a leader during the rollout will make everyone’s lives easier. You get valuable feedback from their perspective and they can communicate your goals to their coworkers. 

Lastly, create a protocol for reporting issues. It should be easy to do and judgment-free. You want to know if something is behaving strangely as it can be a symptom of a bigger problem.

Software Implementation Checklist:

  1. Known preparation that can be done. 
  2. Set up testing and training frameworks.
  3. Establish a backup plan in case of failure.
  4. Prepare information to roll out to the team.
  5. Choose department launch leaders.
  6. Create a feedback system for issues.
  7. Communicate

You want to give your teams a heads-up about upcoming changes. If they were already involved in the creation process, then give them an update. If this is their first time hearing about it, make sure you sell the benefits of the new software. 

Change is hard for people, especially when they feel ambushed or unprepared. So tell them early and focus on what the software does for them. What pain points does it alleviate? Does it save them time? Does it combine two tasks into one? Does it simplify an action they take every day? “What’s in it for me” is a very powerful motivator. And when your team buys in, you’ll hear cheers instead of groans on launch day.

Software Implementation Checklist:

  1. Lead with the benefit of the team members.
  2. Create excitement to deal with resistance to change.
  3. Test & Train

Create a safe, separate way to test your new software. Throwing it into the mix with client data and all of your other software untested is a big risk. 

During this testing phase, start training your team leaders. Use this process to observe how your different departments use the system. Build your training systems around this information. The testing phase can also be a debugging opportunity for your developers. Record everything! Create a sense of excitement around training by tailoring it to your employee’s needs.

Software Implementation Checklist:

  1. Safe testing.
  2. Start training.
  3. Record feedback.
  4. Launch & Continuously Improve

Launch day is not the end of the creation process. 

No matter how thoroughly you tested, something unexpected will happen at some point. Expect that you and your dev team will be constantly improving this software. Use your protocols for bugs or issues and look at them as opportunities to improve rather than catastrophes. If you’ve followed the previous steps, there won’t be any big issues anyway.

Software Implementation Checklist:

  1. Have a safety net in place during launch.
  2. Celebrate!
  3. Gather data and feedback.
  4. Make improvements.

If you follow this checklist, your software launch will be everything you were hoping for. Happy team members, seamless tech integration, and improved efficiency. 

Pat yourself on the back for following the age-old adage “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” And if you do run into any problems, reach out to us at WillDom.com or our LinkedIn. We can build you a team perfect for any job you need to be done (or redone).

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