Maximizing momentum: The pre-kickoff checklist
Author: Joe van Bolderen is a Certified Master Anaplanner and founder of Van Bolderen Consulting Group.
Initiating an Anaplan implementation correctly is building the solid foundation necessary to having a successful implementation. If you're looking for a magic wand, you're in the wrong place. Anaplan implementations take time, effort, and meticulous planning. It requires a synchronization of three key participants: the client, implementation partner, and Anaplan.
The process isn't a one-size-fits-all model, but five key components typically remain constant: project success alignment, shared expectations, vision, a well-structured project management system, and an escalation plan. In this blog post, I'll detail each of these essential aspects, painting a more comprehensive picture of what initiating a successful Anaplan implementation entails.
Project success alignment
Goal alignment isn't just something to be glossed over at meetings; it's the foundation upon which successful Anaplan implementations are built. It requires each party to be transparent about their goals for the project. From desired outcomes to proposed methodologies, every aspect should be discussed, written down, communicated, and mutually agreed upon.
Moreover, the implementation approach, particularly the Anaplan Way, should be understood by all project members. Every teammate should have a firm grasp of the path that will be taken to reach the end goal.
Defining roles and responsibilities early on avoids confusion and mismatched expectations. Each of the three parties — the client, implementing partner, and Anaplan — should comprehend their roles, responsibilities, and the contribution they're expected to make.
This step isn't just about assigning tasks; it's about cultivating an environment of shared accountability and responsibility. When each member is aware of their role and has a clear understanding of their counterparts' roles, it establishes responsibility that bolsters productivity and drives the project forward.
Having a vision is paramount. It's not about seeing the future state, but having a clear idea of where you want to go and how you plan to get there. This vision should encompass current processes, future aspirations, visual appeal, and the workflow process of the businesses forecasting process.
As the project evolves, so too should your vision. Regular reassessments and refinements should be part of your process, ensuring that your implementation strategy remains aligned with your evolving business needs. Constantly search for areas to improve and iterate.
Project management system
Initiating a well-structured plan for meetings, complete with a roster of necessary participants, is crucial. While it's essential to ensure all relevant parties are included, remember that smaller teams tend to foster more focused, productive discussions.
Be flexible with your meeting schedule. As the project progresses, adjustments will likely be necessary. Be ready to tweak your plan to accommodate team availability and changing project needs.
Every project, no matter how meticulously planned, will encounter hurdles. That's where an escalation plan comes into play. This plan outlines who needs to be contacted and what steps need to be taken when things don't go according to plan.
Knowing the escalation pathway not only mitigates risks but also helps keep the project moving forward without unnecessary delays. It's about being prepared for the unexpected and having a system in place to swiftly handle any roadblocks that arise.
In conclusion, kick-starting a successful Anaplan implementation isn't a walk in the park. It's about creating harmony — between alignment, expectations, vision, meeting structure, and escalation plans. Embrace the process, continually improve, and aim for success. Remember, Anaplan implementations are a team effort, where every party plays a crucial role.
Now, it's your turn. Please share your implementation stories, tips, and tricks!