Have an Implementation plan but know when to deviate

  • 27 July 2023
  • 3 replies

Userlevel 5

I was just speaking with our leadership team and one topic brought something home I thought I would share.


We have a very defined implementation process in which we work through three stages of implementation:

  • PM Staging
  • Integration
  • Implementation

We follow this process almost religiously where each step is followed so we know we have all the data, structure, and requirements for a successful implementation. Overall it works great but we occasionally need to deviate, especially for some of our larger customers.


As we were talking we had to reiterate to some individuals when it is appropriate to make those modifications and why. For example, we normally won’t assign an Integration Consultant until PM Staging is complete and an Implementation Specialist isn’t assigned until Integration is complete. However there can be value, especially with a strategic client, to deviate and assign both the IC and IS early so progress can be made even though we are still gathering initial documentation.


I am not trying to solve anything here, but have a discussion to see what others are doing that drives a deviation from your standard processes?

3 replies

Userlevel 7

Great post @rondeaul! It’s definitely ok to adjust the plan depending on a situation. I know when I’ve onboarded larger enterprise/strategic accounts we roll out the Redder Carpet (it’s like the red carpet that we roll out for everyone, but a deeper red 🤣)

I think of making these deviations like an airline pilot. We want to generally stay the course, however if there’s a storm in our path, then I’m going to deviate from the normal course to ensure passengers get to their destination safely! 🛬

I’ve participated, as a customer, in onboarding experiences where the onboarder HAD to check every box and it was painful to say the least.

A couple of factors that influence my decision to deviate:

  1. Size and impact of the account - Is this a client that is going to help the company?
  2. Account needs - does this client have very unique circumstances that require us to deviate (What outcomes are they expecting? Not everyone needs integrations to get launched so maybe that gets taken care of down the road. Don’t force it in onboarding, if they don’t need/want it)

I’m sure there are plenty more, but those are the top two that came to my mind! Which ones did I miss???

Userlevel 5

Love that @emaynez, especially size and impact. Just because the size of the deal may be smaller, the impact can be significant from growth opportunities and relationships. I was in a role once where we sold one of the Alphabet (Google) companies and while it was a smaller deal, the growth potential was huge.

Userlevel 4

Our clients are general contractors - in a word, they’re “busy”. To the extreme!

It’s not unusual that our implementation can, for a period of time, take a back seat to their pursuit of construction projects. The loss of momentum can be a killer, especially when we are in the midst of a logic/data heavy decision discussion and we have to take a 2+ week clean break. These are the projects where we see the heaviest schedule slide. 

Whether it was continued delays that made them take a couple steps back, or total indecision on how to use the hours alloted for XYZ element of the scope, we’ll offer to table that effort as an IOU that can be redeemed during the life of their agreement. If they can’t decide now, then it isn’t really THAT critical, right?

We’ll never punt on a critical path item, but if they are at a loss on how to put a bow on some section of the scope… move on, friends, we can deal with that later!