Now That Your Implementation Is Derailed

Sabrina Palmer

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There are times while preparing our organization for a solution implementation that the project halts or, worst yet, it begins to stir internal discussions that cause the project to derail.

And while dealing with project delay can be frustrating, some of the discussions needed to get the project back on the right track can lead to a successful implementation if the project team and the organization are willing to have them. Listed below are three tips for recovering from project derailment.

1. Don't Point Fingers

If you are working on a project that has been derailed or is going off track, it is most important to work with everyone involved to understand why the project may be stalling. It is often easy to blame staff or the vendor, but pointing fingers is not the way to get the project back on track. There may be more to the project issues than you are aware. Building trust with the implementation team allows those to share on project issues that will allow your project to recover more quickly.

2. Communicate

As part of your effort to recover from a derailment, it will be necessary to communicate up, down, and around. Using project teams to understand issues can contribute to the project's delay. In cases when a project stalls, it can be attributed to project scope, project resources, or organizational readiness. If you and the vendor are interested in delivering a project that is successful, then each of you will comfortably discuss each of the topics.

Implementing too much change all at once with your procure to pay solution is one common area of project derailment. If your project scope is too large for the duration, then it is necessary to reduce the scope so that the organization can have a quick win. Quick wins allow you to showcase your solution as an example of success for all of your end users to see, whereby setting up the other modules for success.

Having the right project resources, including a strong sponsor, also ensures that your solution implementation remains on track. Meet with your project team to understand if resources are a source of a derailment. If resources are an issue, you may need to add or change resources to ensure the project scope is adequately supported for the duration that is allotted. In other cases, you may need to make changes to project leadership or to project sponsorship.

Another source of a derailment is organizational readiness. Organizational readiness is working with your stakeholders and business users to ensure they will use the solution and supporting processes that are being implemented.

3. Identify Root Causes, and Develop an Implementation Plan

In some cases, project derailment occurs because of noise or fear for change. Stakeholders may be so attached to existing processes and have not understood how the new solution may replace their existing processes. If you've diagnosed your project and identified that it is suffering because of noise, then work with your stakeholders to understand the root causes of their concern. When you have listed out your root causes, then work with your team, including stakeholders, to identify a solution that once it is executed, it alleviates the concern or issue.

With more than 10 years of experience, Sabrina has a proven track record of knowing how to get the job done when working with clients to help them raise their productivity levels. In her professional role, Sabrina puts her leadership skills and expertise to work to help organizations improve their bottom line by implementing technology solutions to automate their procure-to-pay processes. Sabrina is a first-generation college student and graduate.

She has earned a bachelor of science degree in industrial engineering and operations research from Columbia University and a masters in Information Systems from Steven's Institute of Technology.
She is a certified Six Sigma Green Belt and Kaizen Leader.

When Sabrina isn't busy leading a team or project, she is spending quality time with her husband and their two children in Raleigh, NC.