“Change is the law of life and those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.” –John F. Kennedy, U.S. President
Our next step in our Capstone process is putting it all together! This begins with building on your Project Design Outline to develop your final paper content. This involves utilizing your Project Analysis and Project Design Outline to begin organizing and writing the project content segment of your final project.
You will also be working on another important component of the project: The Implementation Plan. This addresses the important questions: How will you carry out your project work? How will you implement it? Simply put, an implementation plan documents how you will put your solution, business plan, retention plan, etc. into practice.
Often, people within an organization will resist change. While your capstone project may be based on a process improvement, increased efficiencies, improved effectiveness or some other benefit to your department or organization, you may find yourself faced with some resistance to implementing that change. In his TedTalk “5 Ways to Lead in an Era of Constant Change”, Jim Hemerling makes a great presentation around positioning your change in a positive manner so that your team or organization embraces the opportunity to implement transformation.
An important aspect of implementation is to consider each of the stakeholders involved in the process. When developing your project implementation plan, think of each person or department that will be impacted by the change you are proposing and consider how your project solution will affect how they do their work or perform a process. As part of your project content, you will want to describe how to roll out your proposal in a way that creates a win-win situation. By involving others in the process, you will find that they are much more receptive to the idea of change and willing to help implement it successfully. Skillful managers anticipate obstacles and implement change incrementally so as not to overwhelm individuals, teams, or the organization.
Another aspect of implementation, based on the nature of your project, may involve implementing your business plan to establish or grow your own company. As exciting as this may sound, there are many costly steps necessary to establish or grow a business and you want to do this with great care, strategy, and forethought. You may find that implementing your plan to start your own small business will take a year or more to incorporate fully. Or, depending upon your project, you may be launching a new marketing strategy to grow your existing business. This implementation will certainly involve time and money, therefore needs to be planned precisely.
Your project may focus on professional development goals, such as building your leadership knowledge, skills, and capacity. In this case, your content would focus on leadership theories and best practices and your implementation plan would involve how you envision applying your capstone project to your future professional accomplishments. Based on the content you have developed, the lessons you’ve learned and the best practices you’ve researched, how do you see your leadership style evolving? How will you implement this into your everyday business practices? For example, given the insights that you have gained, how might you transition your current authoritative style of leadership to a more democratic, coaching style of leading and managing?
A significant part of your implementation plan, whatever the focus, may require resources such as added personnel, capital in the form of funding, equipment, technology, etc. This will be an important factor in your strategy. You’re encouraged to give thought to how you will gain access to these resources as you think about deploying your project plan to meet your goals and objectives.
As you can see, whatever your project or motivation might be, a strategic implementation plan will contribute greatly to your individual and ultimately organizational success.