Implementation preparation

A detailed plan showing the activities that will occur during the first 12 months of implementation should be drawn up. Many activities take place during this period. It will probably be best to develop the plan on two levels - a high-level plan describing the major tasks to be carried out, and another plan, which is much more detailed, showing the individual subtasks.

For example, the high-level plan could show tasks such as - Develop plans for installation-related activities and other activities that will occur during the first year's use; Carry out training of managers, users, support staff, and other parties; Prepare purchase order; Sign contracts; Fix delivery date; Finalize site location and facility layout; Prepare for system installation and acceptance; Develop procedures/standards for system use, support, and management; Install, test, and accept system; Adapt system to company - conversions, macros, documentation, etc.; Use system;. Communicate experience; Monitor and review progress; Report progress

The low-level plan could show tasks such as - Develop detailed plans for facility preparation; Identify potential sites; Define detailed requirements (e.g., for power, space, environment control); Select site; Define detailed site and facility layout; Build facility; Order major systems (power, air conditioning, etc.); Order furniture and supplies; Define facility tests; Receive and install systems, furniture, and supplies; Test facility without CAD/CAM/CAE system; Install CAD/CAM/CAE system; Test facility with CAD/CAM/CAE system

For many tasks it will be difficult to accurately estimate the starting date or duration, but this is not a reason for excluding them from the plan. Progress review is an activity that should also be included in the plan. As much information as possible should be included for major milestones. If external resources are to be used during this period, they too should be included in the plan. External resources used could include system integrators, VAR's, management consultants, software developers, and vendor staff.

The implementation plan needs to be defined and agreed to. The hierarchic level at which these activities are carried out will depend on the size of the company and the implementation effort required. The driving force for the plan should be the highest-level person who will have responsibility for the development and use of CAD/CAM/CAE. This could be the VP responsible for CAD/CAM/CAE. Definition of the individual items in the plan should be the responsibility of the CAD/CAM/CAE Manager.

Top management and middle management should also be required to sign off on the plan. Middle management involvement is particularly important, as it is often their people who will carry out planned activities or, at least, be affected by the plan.

It is rarely a good idea to separate responsibility for preparation of a plan from responsibility for its implementation. If the CAD/CAM/CAE Manager is to be held responsible for the success of CAD/CAM/CAE, then this person should have a major role in the planning process. Similarly, people who will take little or no responsibility for the implementation should have no more than minor roles in planning. A CAD/CAM/CAE Manager who is not involved in the planning process may feel little commitment to the success of the plan and may consciously or subconsciously behave so as to modify its objectives.

One difficulty in developing the plan is that of inexperience. It must not be forgotten that CAD/CAM/CAE involves change - in individuals' jobs, organization, in responsibilities, and in the way that information is used. These changes will affect the whole organization. There will be people in the company who have experience planning for this type changing, unknown environment. It may be beneficial to get help from an experienced source.

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Page last modified on February 11, 2000
Copyright 1999, 2000 by John Stark