Successfully Execute Your Strategy with an Implementation Plan

Written by

Chuen Seet

Does your organization have an amazing strategy, but struggle to execute on it? Leveraging a strategic roadmap to inform an implementation plan could be the best way to overcome this common challenge.

Creating a good implementation plan can be difficult, as you need to understand your unique business challenges and their solutions. Businesses often bring in expensive external consultants to deliver this kind of work, but wait! Developing an effective implementation plan yourself is possible.

When you combine the high-level analysis of a strategic roadmap with the detail-oriented approach of an implementation plan, you can make sure your organization is in the best position to bring your strategy to life.

What is an implementation plan?

The phrase "implementation plan" is a broadly defined term that refers to realization of any goal or project. In this context, a strategic implementation plan describes how, who and what must be changed to achieve the strategy.

Translating a strategy into an implementation plan is difficult, so businesses often create an intermediary artifact called a strategic roadmap as a bridge between strategy and an implementation plan.

A strategic roadmap describes what needs to change and how to change, at a higher level than an implementation plan.

At the organization-level, implementation plans can be very complicated documents to create and manage, especially when we consider how many people the plan will impact. Engaging stakeholders correctly to ensure their buy-in and effective delivery can be one of the hardest parts of creating a good implementation plan.

Is there a perfect implementation plan?

When it comes to implementation, no plan will ever be perfect. Rather than focusing on creating the "perfect" plan it is better to think of implementation plans as models that attempt to forecast how the actions, people and resources of an organization come together along a timeline to realize the business’s strategy.

The best way to approach creating an implementation plan is with change in mind. Your plan needs to be constantly reviewed and updated to ensure you are moving towards your strategic goals.

Ready to get started on your implementation plan? Follow our Six-Step Implementation Plan Guide.

Implementation plan or strategic roadmap — which is better?

Here at Jibility, we love closing the strategy-execution gap. We offer a dedicated, lightweight tool that builds qualified strategic roadmaps to help organizations realize their strategy. But! This doesn’t mean that strategic roadmaps are “better” than implementation plans.

Strategic roadmaps and strategic implementation plans are complementary documents that can be used in tandem, rather than choosing between one or the other.

If you are looking to review what needs to change in order to achieve your organizational strategy at a higher level, you will be looking to build out your strategic roadmap. If you are ready to start making more detailed decisions about what needs to happen and when, we recommend drafting up your strategy implementation plan.

What should I include in my implementation plan?

Implementation plans are different across industries, organizations and even projects, but some common elements are almost always the same.

Make sure you outline key objectives that need to be met as part of the implementation plan. These objectives should be specific, measurable and set to a deadline. Your objectives can change over time, but not including them at all means you don’t have anything to implement.

Clearly communicate how your objectives link back to the overall strategy you’re trying to realize. Similarly, you will want to denote any challenges your organization needs to overcome in order to achieve your nominated objectives.

Lastly, always include review dates and progress reporting. This will help you to continue to review your implementation plan regularly, making sure it is accurate for the current business climate, as changes occur.

Your implementation should be a living document, under constant review with the ability to pivot when change occurs.

Ensuring that the objectives in your implementation plan link back to your organization’s strategic goals can be difficult, especially when your plan is ever-changing. This is one of the reasons why we recommend creating a strategic roadmap before an implementation plan.

Keeping track of changes to your strategic roadmap can be challenging. But with a tool like Jibility, you can follow a unique method that leverages the best of capability-based planning, empowering you to close the strategy-execution gap in your organization.

Implementation plan FAQs

What are the 4 major components of an implementation plan?

To create an implementation plan that is effective, you will need to ensure the plan accounts for the challenges faced by your organization; the objectives your business has to achieve to overcome those challenges; the work-initiatives that will be delivered to achieve those objectives; and the timeline attached to completing those work-initiatives.

What are the stages of an implementation plan?

There are several stages associated with creating and actioning an implementation plan. Research and development; ensuring stakeholder buy-in; delivery and review; and completion.

What is the purpose of an implementation plan?

A good implementation plan should demonstrate what actions need to occur for your organization to achieve its strategic vision. The implementation plan should detail what work will happen, when it will happen, who will deliver it, what the budget requirements are, and how your organization will approach pivoting when unforeseen changes occur.

Free strategic roadmap Tool

Our free app, Jibility, takes you through the above 6 steps, but it also supports a 4-step approach that skips Capabilities and Actions for when you need an even faster result. Find about more about this approach with our nonprofit example.