Process Implementation and Integration


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Editor’s note: This article is the second installment in a three-part series on simplifying complexity, which encompasses 1) process improvement, 2) process implementation and integration, and 3) change management.

What’s the best method for assessing and distilling a complex problem down to a transparent process? In this case, we are looking for the best method to approach the implementation and integration of a new system, which encompasses these five steps.

1. Create a Playbook

Create a definitive project playbook for implementation and integration that clearly defines roles and responsibilities. This helps leverage the skills of the group so they can meet their objectives.

For the project playbook, the project owner must:

  • Conduct voice of customer (VOC) interviews.
  • Define information management expectations (i.e., digitize with intelligent tools such as Smartsheet).
  • Coordinate the transition between defined roles (i.e., workstreams) to output critical decisions.
  • Prioritize options to create the action plan and make the decision.

2. Assess Behaviors

Superior performance is the result of what people do — their behaviors. And behaviors drive outcomes, according to Charles J. Pellerin, team-building expert and former director of NASA’s astrophysics division. "It is what you pay attention to, combined with your mindset, that influences your behaviors and produces results you realize," Pellerin wrote.

Success lies in balancing the dichotomy between hard and soft skills. A system that plays to team members’ strengths and provides safe spaces to air concerns lends to an environment that cultivates continuous improvement.

Successful organizations use this formal approach to manage cross-functional teams:

  • Identify and leverage the team's skills and interests.
  • Identify roles and responsibilities on both sides of the partnership to pursue long-term win-win opportunities of the typical shared value.
  • Install a transparent cross-functional governance structure.

3: Create a Process Map

Your process map is a formal framework that helps your company move toward implementation. To create an effective process map, it must be a collaborative effort that involves the entire team.

Ask Questions

During process implementation and integration, it’s important to ask questions that help to clarify:

  • Customer expectations.
  • Customer priorities.
  • Customer needs.

You can use this information to take the shortest path for building a bridge to end users.

Eliminate Inefficiencies, Redundancies, and Non Value Added Steps

To prevent complexity from creeping back into a project, companies must redesign their business processes to systematically eliminate waste and inefficiency. Project planning software can help with this step because it ensures the project’s integration activities are well aligned. A key aspect of this phase is determining when milestones have been reached and knowing when it is time to move on to the next step.

As you plan your integration, be sure to include:

  • The start and end date of the project.
  • Critical milestones and deliverables.
  • Duration of the tasks required to achieve milestones.
  • Pressure test and validate schedule.

4. Plan and Execute Implementation and Integration

Implement the system with the appropriate functions and departments, and integrate the system with existing systems internal to the organization. Ensure collaboration goes smoothly by following the 4D decision-making model:

  • Define: Share information and discuss ideas and options.
  • Data: Collect and evaluate the key data and metrics that will support the decision.
  • Decide: Confirm the decision (as a team or as directed by leadership).
  • Disseminate: Actively support the decision by promoting it internally and encouraging adoption.

Many projects fail due to a lack of buy-in and access to decision-makers at every level. Establishing an approved decision-making structure at the outset of creating a process map is the best way to mitigate such failures.

5. Train to Fill Gaps

Develop training content to ensure alignment with applicable procedures, regulations/standards, guidance documents, manuals, and other relevant sources.

Training should:

  • Take place as close to implementation as possible.
  • Have a well-defined course curriculum and training materials.
  • Provide trainees with the knowledge and skills required to perform their jobs.
  • Include assessments to ensure employee understanding.

You will also need a process to ensure future employees receive the necessary training.

The third installment in this series offers tips on successful adoption. It will be published in late September.


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Hitash Patel is a managing consultant at Enterey. He helps companies in the life sciences industry to tackle and resolve complex technical and organizational challenges.


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