Every leader loves to revel in a successful system implementation. Reaching go-live is a celebratory milestone your team should acknowledge. However, be cautious about prematurely declaring victory and ensure your team has considered all implementation aspects and processes, which are critical to project success.
Although go-live is a significant achievement, it is not the final step in an implementation project. It’s just the beginning.
Remember, a truly successful go-live is:
Implemented with team buy-in
Measured over time
Supported by reliable leadership
Before preparing for your go-live celebration, consider these seven (7) strategies to ensure you don’t declare victory too early.
Assess Success Against Initial Business Goals & Objectives
Yes, you should celebrate the successful implementation, but don’t forget to evaluate the success compared to the initial project goals and objectives.
The evaluation should include the following measurements:
Business case performance
Stakeholder and team satisfaction
Measure Adoption Over Time
Now that your system is live, stakeholder adoption is especially critical. When celebrating, consider hosting events to acknowledge the:
Actual system implementation
Post-go-live, implementation success must be reviewed and measured over time. As the organizational leader, you will need to decide the timing of go-live celebrations.
Budget For Ongoing Maintenance
If victory is declared too soon, your team may forget about the associated costs of the implemented system’s ongoing maintenance and long-term budget requirements. With the victory sign already hung, the sense of urgency can dissipate, leading to waned interest and possibly even decreased funding.
To mitigate these risks, proactively identify team members responsible for the following activities:
Designating ongoing project staffing resources
Developing comprehensive project timelines
Engaging departments involved in system maintenance
Ensuring allotment of financial resources
Managing the funding of maintenance and system enhancements
Prepare for Post-Implementation Regression
Post-implementation regression can become permanent if your team has not prepared for it in advance. Assume there will be post-go-live obstacles. For example, changes in leadership or organizational strategic direction can alter the project’s path. Be proactive to ensure you are prepared to mitigate such disruptions. Schedule regular stakeholder engagement meetings to assess any system issues that may arise.
Know When to End Third-Party Contracts
Hiring vendors is a necessary investment for a successful implementation. You don’t want to end your partnership with them immediately after go-live because vendors can provide post-implementation expertise your team may lack. Therefore, releasing vendors and consultants too soon can create challenges later.
Before ending contracts with your vendors, ensure you have considered:
Additional unexpected needs
Conduct these project assessments to prevent staff burnout and alienation, leading to underperformance and increased turnover.
Support Employees Through Challenges
Providing a post-implementation support model for your team is critical to sustaining success and team satisfaction. Team members opposed to the project before go-live will welcome any opportunity to declare the project a failure, impacting staff morale and future project success. Also, disgruntled teammates can hinder your success.
Prevent these scenarios by identifying a solid project support model that can be leveraged after system implementation.
It may be challenging to convince others to be committed to the project. Therefore, leadership and team accountability are vital in sustaining go-live success.
Leaders should model the behaviors needed to ensure project success by actively demonstrating:
Celebrating the project go-live milestone is vital to boosting team morale and keeping staff engaged in post-go-live initiatives. However, go-live is not an indicator of a successful implementation. Don’t become so distracted by the go-live victory that you overlook potential post-implementation pitfalls. Proper leadership, effective project management, and the inclusion of skilled support will ensure your implementation is a success.