Strategy Implementation: The 6 Step Process

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What is Strategy Implementation?

Strategy implementation is the process used to ensure a strategic plan is executed. It involves translating the high-level goals and objectives outlined in a company's strategic plan into specific actions and initiatives that can be carried out by employees at all levels of the organization.

As a whopping 9 out of 10 organizations fail to implement their strategies, you can’t just create a strategic plan and leave it on the shelf—make sure you have a solid strategy implementation process in place to bring it to life.

In our six-step strategy implementation process, you will transform your static, inactive plan into a living, dynamic, and successful strategy implementation. Read our article on factors affecting strategy implementation to develop an even deeper understanding of strategic implementation.

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6-Step Strategy Implementation Process

The implementation process should follow a strategic analysis and strategy formulation phase. After you’ve identified your business problem and strategy to tackle it, you should follow these key steps to put your strategy into action:

  • Choose your strategy framework
  • Build your plan
  • Define projects and KPIs
  • Establish your strategy rhythm
  • Implement strategy reporting
  • Link performance to strategy

implementation strategy for business plan

Here is our 6-step process guide to strategy implementation to ensure your new strategy evolves from a plan to strategic implementation.

Step #1: Choose your strategy framework

Strategy is something that should be embedded in everything an organization does. 

It must be part of the DNA of both the organization and its people. But if you don't make an effort to call it out explicitly, you won't get the focus or traction you need.

Start with a simple framework that establishes a strategy lexicon everyone understands and can get behind. Whenever someone asks, "how are our strategic objectives going?", everyone must be on the same page regarding what it actually means.

For example, at Cascade , we use the following "strategy house" to define the different elements of our strategy:

implementation strategy for business plan

We walk you through this approach in our How to Write a Strategic Plan Guide , where you’ll also find a free template you can download to jump-start the development of your strategy.

It gives you a clear way to talk about strategy implementation and avoids using unnecessary jargon.

We've deliberately chosen to include only a vision statement rather than the more popular “ vision and mission ” combo because we found that people struggle to understand the difference between those two.

If you need to add more depth to your strategy, consider using a strategic planning framework such as the Balanced Scorecard or McKinsey's Strategic Horizons . 

However, whichever strategic framework you choose, simplicity should remain your top priority. All of the frameworks in our guide pass this test with flying colors!

Step #2: Build your plan and set clear goals 

The next step of our strategy implementation process is where you start creating your roadmap to success.

Now that you've got your framework in place, you're ready to move on to the actual creation of your strategic plan. We've developed a comprehensive guide on how to write a strategic plan , so we won't go into details here.

But assuming you're using a framework similar to the one above, here's how we'd suggest approaching the creation of your implementation plan with your key stakeholders:

1. Bring together your management team: Gather the leaders of your organization (founders, CEO, directors, etc.) to agree on your vision. You might do this in one workshop but have them engaged with it regularly. Have them read this article to keep everyone on the same page. ‍

2. Define values: At the same workshop, write down the values that the organization holds. They’re crucial for your company’s culture, so go through this article to make the process smoother.

3. Align on strategic priorities : Finally (same workshop still), write down 3 or 4 Strategic Focus Areas the team thinks need to be addressed to reach the vision.

4. Co-create objectives with your teams: Take your basic framework back to your team(s) and have them independently input ideas for strategic goals and objectives under each Focus Area. You must involve them in the planning process and give them a voice. This will ensure buy-in and motivation to implement your business strategies.

💡 Tip : You might want to assign one Focus Area to each member of your leadership team and have them lead the charge for getting that Focus Area fleshed out. This is a great way to ensure buy-in to the final product of your strategic plan.

📚 Recommended read: The Right Way To Set Team Goals

5. Make a final check: Once you've fleshed out the strategic objectives, get back together as a group and ask yourself a series of hard questions:

  • ‍ If we deliver each of these strategic objectives under a given Focus Area, will we have nailed that Focus Area?
  • If we deliver all of our Focus Areas, will we reach our vision?
  • Will our values help or hinder us along the way?

📚 Recommended read: How To Effectively Co-create Strategy At Your Organization (Summary and recording of the workshop with Illana Rosen, Director of Innovation and Strategy at Old Navy)

Step #3: Define KPIs and projects

Now it’s time to cover the bottom layer of our strategy house: projects and key performance indicators (KPIs). 

That's part of the strategy implementation process where top management should empower people throughout the organization to come up with their projects and KPIs to measure success. 

Step 3 of our process guide to strategy implementation is to define your KPIs and create effective projects . You need actionable steps (projects) and a way to measure progress toward your strategic objectives (KPIs).

KPIs are one of the oldest management tools around. And for a good reason—they work. They keep you and your team members honest about progress and focused on outcomes.

They need to become your beacons for implementing strategy. Here are a few tips when it comes to coming up with your own:

  • Keep them simple: Don't try to come up with complex ratios that only a small group of people understand. Make them simple and relatable to everyone in the organization.
  • Choose at least 1 KPI for each of your strategic objectives : In general, it’s best to have 1-3 KPIs per objective. Too many KPIs can lead to confusion and dilute focus. However, the exact number will depend on the complexity of the objective and available resources. If an objective is particularly complex, it may require more KPIs to adequately measure progress.
  • Make it easy to measure them quickly: Large organizations have hundreds of metrics, with each unit and function tracking them in their own set of preferred tools and applications. Bring them under one roof so you can get real-time insights. 
  • Don't make them all about the $$$: Sure, profit and revenue might be your end-game, but KPIs should be the drivers of those things—measuring the outcomes alone adds little value.

Here’s an example of focus areas, related strategic objectives, and assigned KPIs:

Focus area: Operational Excellence 

Strategic objective: Reduce waste in the manufacturing process by 15% within the next year

  • Scrap rate : Measures the percentage of defective products or materials that are discarded during the manufacturing process. 
  • Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) : Measures the overall efficiency of manufacturing equipment. 
  • Cycle time : Measures the amount of time it takes to complete one unit of production.

implementation strategy for business plan

One final point: You need to update the progress of your KPIs at least once per month, or you risk quickly losing focus on them. Spend the time now as part of your strategic planning process to figure out how to access the stats and data you need. 

Projects are the specific initiatives and actions that will help the organization achieve its strategic goals. Here are some steps to create effective projects in the strategy implementation process: 

  • Make sure your projects are aligned with your overall business strategy . 
  • Prioritize the projects that will have the most significant impact, and define specific project objectives that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).
  • For each project, you should have a detailed project plan that includes timelines, milestones, and key stakeholders. 
  • Assign teams with the right skills and knowledge to execute the project, monitor progress, and adjust as needed.
  • Once the project is complete, hold a retrospective meeting. Evaluate the outcomes, identify successes and areas for improvement, and use this information to inform future projects.

📚 Recommended read: Free Implementation Plan Templates And Examples

Step #4: Deal with business-as-usual

Step 4 in our guide to strategy implementation is where you overcome business-as-usual.

The ironic thing about strategy implementation is that everyone acknowledges its importance, but it's often the first thing to be forgotten about when the going gets tough.

People get so caught up in the day-to-day that they don't have time to focus on the big-picture items that will keep the organization moving forward. This rapidly becomes a self-fulfilling cycle and is one of the most common reasons strategies fail .

Here are some tips to help you break the cycle:  

  • Meet often to discuss progress: We'd suggest a minimum of quarterly reviews for higher-level objectives, but monthly would be a great place to start until things get bedded in.
  • Determine the attendees: You'll need the leadership team at a minimum—but you also need to involve the rest of the organization. The more they engage with the overall strategy, the stronger the ownership they feel.
  • Be conscious of time: Specify the end time and always respect it. Allocate the last 10 minutes (or as many as you need) to “next steps”. Reviewing progress without the next steps is meaningless. ‍
  • Define the meeting structure beforehand: What metrics will you discuss? For how long? Which reports will be used? More on this in step #5 below.

Step #5: Implement consistent & simple strategy reports

Step 5 of our process guide to strategy implementation focuses on strategy reporting .

Once you've put your strategy into action, it's important to review and adapt it regularly to ensure it's still on track to meet your business goals. This is where strategy reports come in handy. 

Now that your meetings are in place, you'll want to choose a consistent way of reporting the progress of your strategy implementation . The main objectives of this report should be:


Set up a regular schedule for reviewing your strategy reports. This could be weekly, monthly, or quarterly—whatever works best for your business. Everyone should know what to expect and what they need to update before the meeting(s).

The progress report should give an at-a-glance view of how the strategy is progressing. Identify the key metrics that are most important to your business, and focus on those when reviewing your reports and dashboards .


Ensure that the report includes the names of the owner of each goal (accountability), as well as the names of the people getting things done (recognition).


Your next steps. Your action plan. What will be done to get to desired outcomes? The strategy report needs to include not only an overview of how the strategy looks now but how it's progressing over time. Try to include a comparison period or graphs/charts that show progress over time to ensure momentum is maintained.

Strategy reports will help you look for trends and patterns in your data. Are there areas where you're consistently exceeding expectations? Are there areas where you're consistently falling short? Use this information to make informed decisions about how to adapt your strategy.

And don't forget - adapting your strategy doesn't mean giving up on it entirely. It simply means making adjustments and tweaks to ensure you're staying on track and achieving your goals. Sometimes, a small tweak can make a big difference in your results, so don't be afraid to make changes as you go.

👉 How Cascade can help you: 

You should be able to create, customize, and share strategy reports with your team with ease. Even if you are not a professional business data analyst. That’s where Cascade comes in. 

With a user-friendly interface, you’ll be able to stay organized and focused on your strategic goals.

implementation strategy for business plan

But you’ll be able to do more than just create progress reports; Cascade helps you do work that matters—accomplishing business outcomes. Imagine how you would use the extra 2 hours if you wouldn’t have to fill out the spreadsheets to analyze and report on progress.

Step #6: Link performance management with strategic management 

Linking performance reviews to strategy, the first five steps of our process guide to strategy implementation are the absolute basics to ensure that you have success implementing and executing your strategy .

But organizations that truly succeed are those who manage to weave strategy implementation into the fabric of their existence. An easy way to get started with this is to create a formal link between strategic management and performance reviews.

Nothing shows people how important strategy is more than when it impacts their reviews and potentially even their reward and remuneration. Here are a few ways to do it: 

  • Build a strategic management system that has these performance review links built into its HR processes.

But even if you're doing performance reviews the old-fashioned way, you can still make a point of awarding specific credit to employees who embrace strategy execution in their role and can demonstrate how they've contributed.

  • Encourage your managers to talk to people about strategy regularly. Consider creating a 1:1 template that managers can use which highlights how a person's goals contribute to the strategy.
  • Expose your strategy to your people. Lack of communication is a common pitfall that prevents successful strategy execution. If you only present your strategy in PowerPoint, people won’t remember it. Help your people align with the plan by having them access it at will.

👉 How Cascade can help: 

You should see at a glance how connected your functional units are to your strategic goals, giving you the context you need to make informed decisions. 

With Cascade, you get a complete view of alignment within your organization and its teams.

implementation strategy for business plan

You’ll be able to easily evaluate how the performance of each initiative and team contributes to the success of your strategy. This will help you identify areas for improvement and make data-driven decisions that drive your business forward.

Key Components To Support Successful Strategy Implementation

A well-written implementation plan is not enough to guarantee successful strategy execution . There are several key components crucial to support effective strategy implementation in an organization. Here’s why you should pay attention to:  

Strategic alignment 

Ensure that the strategy is aligned with the overall vision and mission of the organization, as well as the organization's core values. It’s essential to have clarity and unity across all levels of the organization.

implementation strategy for business plan

Assign ownership of specific tasks and responsibilities to individuals or teams within the organization, and hold them accountable for achieving their objectives. This will promote ownership, commitment, and a sense of responsibility in your team.

Resource allocation

Ensure that the necessary resources, including financial, human, and technological resources, are allocated appropriately to support the implementation of the strategy. Without the right resources, your strategy is just a piece of paper.

📚 Recommended read: Resource Allocation: How To Do It Effectively (+ Templates)

Performance measurement

You should have a transparent performance measurement system in place to track progress. This way, you can easily identify any areas that are underperforming and take corrective action before it affects your overall objectives. Regularly monitor and report on these metrics to track your progress and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Organizational structure

Design your organizational structure to support the implementation of your strategy. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and decision-making processes to avoid confusion and maximize efficiency.

Effective systems, including processes, procedures, and tools, can help ensure that resources are allocated appropriately and that performance is monitored and evaluated effectively. Use the right systems to simplify your processes and streamline your workflow.

Remember, a well-written implementation plan is just the beginning. To guarantee successful strategy execution, pay attention to these key components. If you’re not sure if you have them covered, try McKinsey’s 7S Model to identify potential implementation constraints. 

Benefits of a well-executed strategy implementation 

Here are some of the key advantages of an effective strategy implementation process:

  • Increased revenue: When everyone in the organization is working toward the same objectives, it becomes easier to identify and pursue new growth opportunities.
  • Improved operational efficiency: When your team understands their roles and responsibilities and is working toward common goals, they're better able to collaborate and optimize their workflows. This means smoother sailing and less hiccups along the way.
  • Better decision-making: With a solid strategy in place, leaders can use it as a guidepost when making important decisions, ensuring they stay aligned with the organization's overall goals and objectives. No more flailing around in the dark!
  • Increased employee satisfaction: By involving employees in the strategy development process and regularly communicating progress updates, organizations can foster a sense of ownership and accountability among their teams. Happy employees = happy workplace.
  • Enhanced reputation: When a business delivers on promises and consistently exceeds customer expectations, it establishes itself as a leader in its industry and builds a loyal customer base.
  • Faster adaptability: By regularly reviewing and updating the strategy, organizations can stay ahead of the curve and be better positioned to pivot in response to new challenges or opportunities. Flexibility is key!

Strategy Implementation Best Practices And Final Tips 

Here are some final tips and best practices to help you implement your strategies like a pro: 

Be decisive and go all in

No action plan is perfect, so don’t get too attached to it. When you spot opportunities or mistakes in your reviewing meetings, act on them decisively. Change is not only natural but necessary to learn and adapt at light speed to the market’s conditions.

implementation strategy for business plan

Guide decision-making with good strategies

Frame your strategy as choices. The company’s direction must be clear enough that it educates your people’s decisions when they reach crossroads. And they reach crossroads multiple times per day. 

Get rid of static tools

Refining your strategy faces massive friction without a dynamic tool. That means wasting time, losing peace of mind, and ultimately losing money. Cascade removes this friction from all the stages of your strategy refinement, from planning to reporting , and even aligning .

Leverage data analytics

Use data analytics to inform your strategy implementation decisions. Data analytics can help you to identify trends, opportunities, and potential roadblocks, and to make data-driven decisions that support your strategic goals.

If you are struggling to discover insights because your data and metrics are scattered across multiple business and project management tools, Cascade will make your life easier. 

By integrating your metrics into one centralized source of truth , you'll have access to all performance data in one place. This makes it simple to transform statistical information into actionable insights and compelling narratives with effective data storytelling. 

implementation strategy for business plan

Cascade’s real-time dashboards are designed to help you monitor key sets of data or metrics in real time, giving you the visibility you need to stay on top of what's important.

And with customizable features, you can tailor your dashboard view to suit your needs, making it easy to share insights with your team and keep everyone aligned.

Follow these tips and best practices, and let Cascade help you bring your strategy implementation game to the next level.

📚 Recommended read: Best Strategy Software: 8 Possible Roads To Strategy Execution (2023)

Implement strategies with Cascade 🚀

Working your way through our 6-step process guide to strategy implementation isn't something you'll be able to do overnight. It will take a good few weeks and probably a few iterations. But don't let that be an excuse not to start.

We can tell you without question that when our customers follow the above process, their strategy implementation plan succeeds far more often than it fails. This is an integral component of effective strategic management and shouldn't be overlooked.

By incorporating Cascade into your strategy implementation process, you can simplify your approach and maximize your chances of success. With Cascade's real-time dashboards, centralized business data, and full visibility into performance, you can stay focused and mitigate risks to ensure long-term success.

So why not take the first step today and incorporate Cascade into your strategic management process?

Experience the power of Cascade for yourself by taking a tour of our platform or booking a 1:1 demo call with one of our in-house strategy experts.

Other Related Strategy Implementation Templates 

  • Program Implementation Plan Template 
  • IT Implementation Plan Template 
  • Project Implementation Plan Template
  • Digital Transformation Plan Template 
  • Strategic Growth Plan Template 

Strategy Implementation FAQs

What is the difference between strategy implementation and strategy formulation.

Strategy formulation is the process of developing a strategic plan, while strategy implementation is the process of executing that plan by coordinating and communicating with different departments and individuals.

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Strategic Implementation: More Than Just Implementing Strategy

By Kate Eby | November 27, 2017 (updated December 4, 2021)

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Strategic implementation is a key ingredient of modern business: Once an organization creates a strategy to meet its goals, implementation is the next step for successful execution. Essentially, the implementation phase outlines how a company plans to achieve its goals. Business theories and frameworks help guide strategic formulation, implementation, and execution. This article explains strategic implementation and how it differs from other strategy tactics. You’ll learn about key steps and pitfalls, review some examples, and get expert insights.

What Is Strategic Implementation?

There are numerous definitions of strategic implementation on the web, including the following:

Business Dictionary : The activity performed according to a plan in order to achieve an overall goal. For example, strategic implementation within a business context might involve developing and then executing a new marketing plan to help increase sales of the company's products to consumers.

The Houston Chronicle : The process that puts plans and strategies into action to reach goals. A strategic plan is a written document that lays out the plans of the business to reach goals, but will sit forgotten without strategic implementation. The implementation makes the company’s plans happen.

OnStrategy : The process that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals.

What these and other definitions have in common is that they discuss turning a theoretical plan (about an organization’s direction) into manageable tasks that team members can perform to achieve the stated goals.

Once an organization creates a strategy, it needs to be implemented, and then executed. Here are the high-level steps in strategic implementation (which we will discuss in detail later):

  • Communicate
  • Align initiatives with strategy
  • Engage staff and outside stakeholders
  • Allocate resources
  • Make structural adjustments
  • Create strategic evaluations

Strategy Implementation vs. Strategic Implementation

Whether or not a difference exists between strategy implementation and strategic implementation depends on who you ask.

implementation strategy for business plan

Ray Mckenzie, Founder and Managing Director of Red Beach Advisors , says, “Strategy implementation is a larger umbrella, or a holistic view of what’s going to happen, and looks at products and pricing and how we function as business. Strategic implementation is a plan for implementation of a specific objective: For example, if I have a piece of software that I want installed in three months.” One scenario might be if you want to integrate CRM software into your organization, you’ll need to identify the steps to take to execute the integration.

Llloyd Baird

Lloyd Baird is the Jon M. Huntsman Visiting Professor at Utah State University . Of the difference between the two phrases, he says, “It depends on what organization or company you are talking to.”

In this article, we’ll treat strategy implementation and strategic implementation as synonymous.

Getting Strategic

As organizations evolve, they often change from a reactive to proactive operational style. It’s at this point that an organization begins strategic planning, which leads to strategic implementation.

Formulation, Implementation, and Execution

Strategy formulation (also known as planning), implementation, and execution are intertwined, but each are distinct. Formulation is the creation of a framework that guides decisions. Implementation is preparation and putting elements of the strategy into place. Execution is the decisions made and activities performed throughout the company, with the objective of meeting goals outlined in the strategy.

For example, imagine you're the coach of a football team in a critical 4th-and-1 situation. In this case, the terms would function as follows:

  • Formulation: You select a play from your playbook, with the objective of getting a first down.
  • Implementation: The players position themselves on the field as outlined in the chosen play, and you place the best offensive linemen up front, and the sturdiest running back in the backfield.
  • Execution: The ball is snapped, the linemen push their defensive counterparts back, and if all goes well, they open up enough ground so that when the running back gets the handoff, he can move it across the line of scrimmage for a first down.

Smartsheet offers many templates to assist with strategic formulation.

Thinking About Strategic Implementation

In his paper Strategy Implementation as Substance and Selling , author Donald C. Hambrick and Albert A. Cannella, Jr., state  “… implementation must be considered during the formulation process, not later, when it may be too late.” They continue, “The strategist will not be able to nail down every action step when the strategy is first created, nor … should this even be attempted. However, he or she must have the ability to look ahead at the major implementation obstacles and ask, ‘Is this strategy workable?’”

Corporate Strategy and Business Unit Strategy

Executives create the corporate strategy, which determines the company’s lines of business. It also addresses how business units can work together to increase efficiency. Business unit strategy is created by the leader of each unit, and revolves around how the corporate strategy is put into action. In other words, corporate strategy determines what happens, and business unit strategy determines how it happens.

To align corporate and business unit strategies, executives must encourage the development of business unit strategies that both contribute to corporate strategy objectives and respond to their competitive situation, whether geographical or functional.

In a 1984 paper titled Business Unit Strategy, Managerial Characteristics, and Business Unit Effectiveness at Strategy Implementation , authors Anil K. Gupta and V. Govindarajan explain, “The absolute performance of a business entity depends not just on the effectiveness of its internal organization in implementing the chosen strategy, but also on industry characteristics and the choice of strategy itself.”

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Why Is Implementation Important?

Executives formulate the strategy that business units will execute. However, implementation requires the participation of the entire organization, so implementation is as important — if not more so — than the strategy itself. For example, you can buy seeds and plant them in your garden with the goal of serving a home-grown salad every night at dinner, but that doesn’t ensure that you’ll reach your goal. If you plant at the wrong time of year, if the seeds are not viable in your climate, or if the soil is depleted, you’ll still be buying vegetables from the store for a long time to.

Because strategic implementation is the most important, it’s also the most difficult to achieve. A 1989 Booz Allen study found that 73 percent of managers thought that strategic implementation is more difficult than formulation, 72 percent think that it takes more time, and 82 percent say it’s the part of the process over which they have the least control. But there’s been progress. In a 2015 survey of reports titled Strategy implementation: What is the failure rate? , authors Carlos J.F. Cândido and Sérgio P. Santos conclude that the implementation failure rate has fallen from the between 70-90 percent in the mid 1980s to about 44 percent in the early 2010s.

There are many reasons that strategies can fail. A bad plan (e.g. one that has unrealistic goals), or poor execution (e.g. not adapting to changing conditions) can cause failure, but since implementation is the key aspect, there are more possible pitfalls, including the following:

  • Stakeholders Don’t Buy-In: Those who are responsible for executing a strategy won’t want to do it if they don’t believe in it. Ray McKenzie says, “Not having completed buy-in from the team is first and foremost. If people don’t buy-in, it won’t get completed.”
  • Resources Aren’t Aligned with Strategy: For example, if you want to sell red balloons, but fill your warehouse with blue ones, you won’t meet your goals.
  • Incentives Aren’t Aligned with the Strategy: This happens when you reward people for completing tasks that don’t contribute toward the key performance indicators (KPIs) .
  • You Don’t Plan to Adjust: Lloyd Baird says, “There’s an old military saying: Your battle plan is great until you contact the enemy, then everything changes. Things are changing so fast in organizations that if you don’t have a method to adapt, evaluate, and change, you’re going to fail. The people that are really good are the ones who are adapting along the way.”
  • Continuing To Do Things that Used To Work: Rather than relying on old mechanisms for success, stay current with trends and tools.
  • Internal Politics: Turf battles or personal disputes can prevent an organization from properly implementing a strategy.
  • Accountability Void: When implementing a strategy, everybody involved must be made aware of their responsibilities, and the consequences of not meeting them.
  • No Milestones: As Ray McKenzie explains, “A strategy only works for a period of time — you have to have an outline of those dates.”
  • Lack of Empowerment: This happens when people and teams aren’t given the authority, resources, and tools to execute the strategy.
  • Communication Breakdown: If the organization is not sharing the strategy, or is sharing it in the wrong ways, the team won’t understand it.

Challenges and Criticisms of Strategic Implementation

Like any business process, strategic implementation has its share of challenges and criticisms. However, if an organization is aware of the limitations of strategic implementation and the obstacles that may arise, they can overcome potential challenges.

Strategic Implementation Challenges

Key Leadership Theories for Implementation Strategy

Leadership theories guide how executives think about the world and their organization’s place in it. A couple important, related theories are discussed below.

Tipping Point Theory

  • What It Is: The nce a critical mass of people gets behind something, it spreads quickly. Malcolm Gladwell’s 2000 book, The Tipping Point, provides many examples of this theory in action, from the changes in the Bill Bratton-led NYPD in the 1990s that resulted in a dramatic drop in crime, to the way Hush Puppies shoes became popular again once key people in the fashion world started wearing them. The makeup of a critical mass will vary by organization: It could be a majority, or it could be a small group of influential people.
  • How It Can Help with Strategic Implementation: While implementing a strategy, executives can identify what constitutes a critical mass in each business unit, and work to get those people invested in the strategy. Once those team members are on board, they’ll bring the rest of the team along.

Blue Ocean Theory

  • What It Is: It sprang out of a marketing theory with the same name, which posits that companies should create opportunities in market areas where there isn’t much competition to provide greater growth opportunities. For example, Southwest Airlines became a major player by combining customer-focused service, low prices (partly achieved by flying from secondary airports and partly by using only a single aircraft), and flying to underserved areas. As a leadership theory, Blue Ocean tasks leaders with undertaking the activities that increase team performance, listening to feedback from all parts of their organization, and developing leaders at all levels.
  • How It Can Help with Strategic Implementation: Having leaders at many levels focus on activities that increase team performance and listen to every level, the strategies they develop will be easier to implement. This method helps the leaders generate some built-in buy-in. By walking the leadership walk, others are more likely to follow along.

What Do You Mean by Strategic Evaluation?

Strategic evaluation is a type of business performance measurement (BPM) system. In a 2007 paper Towards A Definition of a Business Performance Measurement System , Monica Franco-Santos et al. describes it as, “...a set of metrics used to quantify both the efficiency and effectiveness of actions; or as the reporting process that gives feedback to employees on the outcome of actions.” Strategic evaluation (often written as strategic evaluation and control, when it’s used as part of a strategic management model) is a cyclical process that helps managers and executives determine whether programs, projects, and activities are helping an organization meet their strategy’s goals and objectives. In short, it can help an organization stay on and get back on track.

Strategic evaluation is performed during the execution phase, but you create the process during implementation. There’s always a need to get and analyze feedback to find out what is and isn’t working, identify ways to fix what’s not working, and record the lessons learned for future strategies. There are four high-level steps in the strategic evaluation process:

  • Set benchmarks
  • Compare results against benchmarks
  • Analyze the differences
  • Take corrective actions

There are a few different facets of strategic evaluation. Each facet is important and shouldn't be ignored, as using all four ensure that you’ll discover any possible root causes of a problem.

  • Premise: Were the strategic goals realistic and achievable?
  • Implementation: Was the process of implementing organizational changes based on the strategy performed properly?
  • Strategic Surveillance: Are processes and tasks being performed as expected, and if so, are they getting the desired results?
  • Special Alerts: While strategic evaluation should take the long view, and not focus too much on short-term fluctuations, it needs to evaluate how changing market conditions and competitors’ actions, as well as unexpected events, affect the strategy. Taking this view will highlight those surprises and changes — then you can implement contingency plans and bring in crisis management teams if required to change the strategy’s execution.

Strategic evaluations are a great way to learn. Ray McKenzie says, “Have a follow-up with the team to see what worked, or if you should do things differently next time around."

How Strategic Implementation Works in Different Organizations

With the rise of mass production in the 19th century, companies began to centralize key functions like sales and finance, which led to economies of scale. Later, as some firms became diversified and began to increase their market, they created business units that focused on product lines or geographical regions. The firms may have lost some of the previously gained economies of scale, but they were able to better react to market conditions.

Centralized organizations could use strategic implementation to make shared services more efficient. Diversified organizations could coordinate processes and goals between various regional offices or product-focused groups.

Later, companies started using the matrix organization to try to take advantage of both the economies of scale created by centralization, and the adaptability of the geographical or product-focused organizations. Matrix organizations are difficult to coordinate. Implementing a strategy can help everyone focus on the same goals.

In the 1990s, the business process reengineering (a version of this is know as Total Quality Management, or TQM ) drove the creation of organizations that were organized around processes. Again, implementing a strategy can help everyone focus on the same goals.

Going forward, virtual, networked, and “Velcro” organizations (a concept where the organization can be pulled apart and put back together in response to changes in the business environment, or as Lloyd Baird says, “a network of relationships”) will have the same issues that strong strategic implementation can help.

What Is Involved in the Implementation Process

After formulating and finalizing a strategy, it’s time to share it with the organization. Next, you may need to make changes to the organization in preparation for the execution phase. The steps to take are as follows:

Communicate: Everyone in the organization, and some outside, must learn about the strategy, how it affects them, and what changes they’ll need to make to support it. As you cascade the strategy throughout the organization, different groups will need to be made aware of the parts that are important to them. Sales and marketing teams will want to hear more about the sales goals, while IT will be more concerned about changes to the network and new required software. A vendor will need to know what changes they’ll need make to the materials they provide.

Engage Stakeholders: After communicating the goals, managers and staff (as well as any contractors or vendor affected) need to understand the importance of the strategic goals, their role in strategy execution, their responsibilities, and the impact of meeting or not meeting the goals or fulfilling their responsibilities. Using stakeholders throughout the organization to be champions of the coming changes will make the job easier.

Align Initiatives with Strategy: You’ll likely need to update processes, swap out tools, and make other changes to ensure company activities are contributing to the KPIs laid out in the strategy.

Allocate Resources: What needs to be bought or moved to prepare for execution? What funding needs to be allocated to strategic, operational, and capital expense budgets?

Make Structural Adjustments: Do you need to hire new people? Will there be a round of layoffs? Will you need to change any reporting structures? Are new vendors or contractors required? This is the hardest part of the implementation to perform.

Create a Strategic Evaluation: Implement repeatable processes that will check progress toward the goals, and provide data to executives and managers to determine what changes need to be made to the strategy or it’s execution to keep the organization on track to meeting the goals.

The Three Cs of Strategic Implementation

In a 2012 Forbes article , Scott Edinger composed a concise checklist of considerations. When preparing to implement, keep these in mind:

  • Clarify: Avoid high-level statements that only resonate with the C-suite. Write your strategy in a way that connects with front-line employees and managers.
  • Communicate: Spread the message in as many ways as you can. Connect the strategy to each group's’ core purpose.
  • Cascade: Translate the strategy into actions through the organization. Managers at every level will be the ones who handle this.

5 Changes That Support Successful Implementation

Another lens to look through is, “What changes need to be made to implement the strategy?” You can divide the answer into five groups:

  • People: Train or hire the right (and the right number of) individuals to implement plans. Ray Mckenzie advises, “Build a team of people who are key and can help you move your strategy forward.”
  • Resources: Get funding and sufficient time to implement required changes.
  • Organization: Restructure the company to support the strategic goals.
  • Systems: Acquire the tools needed to perform the required processes.
  • Culture: Work to create an environment that prioritizes the actions needed to reach the stated goals.

Strategic Five Changes That Support Successful Implementation

McKinsey 7S Framework

The McKinsey 7S framework is an organizational tool developed at the McKinsey & Company consulting firm in the 1980s, by Robert H. Waterman and Tom Peters. The framework can be used in many ways, including to determine how well an organization is prepared to change in order to implement a strategy.

Here are the 7Ss:

  • Strategy: What needs to to be implemented
  • Structure: The chain of command
  • Systems: The tools used to perform tasks and complete processes
  • Skills: What employees can do
  • Style: How the leaders lead
  • Staff: The employees
  • Shared Values: The core values, expressed through the corporate culture

The McKinsey 7S Framework

These can be divided into the hard Ss (Strategy, Structure, Systems), which are tangible, and the soft Ss (Skills, Style, Staff, Shared Values), which are intangible. In order to ensure smooth implementation, align each of these categories.

Examples of Successful and Unsuccessful Implementation Strategies

As previously mentioned, because strategy formulation, implementation, and execution are intertwined, it may difficult to know which phase is the cause of strategic failure. Here are some quick examples of success and failure where implementation is key.

Wal-Mart: The corporation became the retail giant they are by having low prices. They made lower margins by having high volume. In order to do that, they implemented a supply chain strategy that reduced operating costs. As they grew, their strategy was to use their size as a bargaining chip with suppliers to get even lower prices.  

J.C. Penney: Penney’s was a major retailer in the U.S. for many years, but when the landscape changed, they kept doing the same things. When the company finally brought in new leadership in 2011, they implemented a strategy that eliminated coupons that customers used and lowered their regular prices. They also changed their retail mix. When sales began to fall, they maintained their implemented strategy without adjusting. If they had taken advantage of the data from strategic evaluations and had responded appropriately, they might have been able to salvage the parts of their strategy that were working.

Apple: In the late 1990s, Apple was close to going out of business. They had many products that didn’t sell. When Steve Jobs returned, he implemented a strategy that reduced the number of products, and worked to develop new ones. This approach eventually led to the invention of the iPod. The iPod was not the first MP3 player, but it was the first to catch on because of its ease of use and storage capacity. This, in essence, was an application of the Blue Ocean theory: Apple found a market segment that wasn’t very competitive, and created a product that was better than what was available. For a long time, Apple was the dominant player in that market segment.

Google: While Google is successful in most ventures (search, email, maps), they have had some notable stumbles. One is Google Glass, the company’s wearable computer. While the idea was good, the device was very expensive, was not easy to use, there were concerns about privacy, and was an unattractive pair of glasses. Mostly, there was no real compelling reason to use it. Google Glass was a failed application of the Blue Ocean theory, and also another failure to adapt to data from strategic evaluations.

Strategic Implementation without Disruption

Strategic implementation can involve the restructuring of reporting relationships: adding, deleting, or updating processes, or even layoffs. This process can be painful for employees, and can cause problems when it’s time to execute strategy.

Restructuring can be expensive, and the new structure can create issues as troublesome as those you are trying to solve. Employes have to adapt to the new structure and may be dissatisfied. As a result, a lot of tacit institutional knowledge can be lost as people get shuffled around or worse, leave the company. Restructuring may also result in maintaining legacy systems until they can be phased out, which causes unnecessary expense. Additionally, some people won't be able to fully focus on the new strategy while they keep legacy systems running.

It's far less disruptive to choose an organizational design that’s flexible and can be adapted without major conflicts, and then formulate strategies that can be easily implemented.

Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton recommend the balanced scorecard framework, which they co-created in the 1990s. They believe that this framework will minimize the need to go through disruptive restructuring when new strategies change due to the following reasons:

  • It focuses on the strategic agenda of the organization.
  • It recommends monitoring a small number of data points.
  • It looks at both financial and non-financial data.

The implementation of this framework is beyond the scope of this article, but you can read an explanation of its benefits via the Harvard Business Review .

Sometimes disruptive restructuring is necessary. If it can’t be avoided, here are some steps to make it more manageable:

  • Break the strategy into smaller chunks, so the disruption is spread over a longer time frame.
  • Communicate directly to affected employees. Explain why the changes are needed, and retrain them to adapt to the new structure.
  • Use a version of the strategic evaluation process that focuses on the affected employees, have them report their on satisfaction levels, and adjust the strategy based on that feedback to lessen the impacts.

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6 Tips for Transitioning from Strategy Formulation to Implementation

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  • 17 Nov 2022

Strategy formulation is key to a successful business, but it's only effective when implemented correctly. Some professionals are experienced in developing comprehensive business plans, while others are well-versed in execution —more commonly known as "thinkers" versus "doers."

A balanced combination of both is an invaluable asset to any business. If you're struggling to bring your business strategy across the finish line, here are tips for transitioning from strategy formulation to implementation and a deeper understanding of why it's essential to your company's long-term success.

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Formulating a Successful Strategy

Developing an effective strategy requires in-depth knowledge, critical thinking, and careful planning. While several frameworks can help set the foundation, Harvard Business School Online's Business Strategy course uses the value stick.

The value stick is a visual representation of value-based strategy and can help you formulate a business model that factors in pricing, product positioning, and vendor management. Value-based strategy relies on customers' perceived value of the products or services being sold and determines the organization's prices, costs, and supplier strategy.

The Value Stick

Some key terms for formulating a value-based strategy include:

  • Willingness to pay (WTP): The price customers are willing to pay for a product or service. The margin between a customer's WTP and the actual price is deemed "customer delight," or customers' perceived received value.
  • Price: The price the product is sold for. The margin between the price and cost is the firm margin, or the money the business makes.
  • Cost: The cost of manufacturing the product.
  • Willingness to sell (WTS): The lowest price a supplier is willing to accept for its services. The margin between WTS and cost is called "supplier surplus" or "supplier delight"—the value suppliers believe they're receiving.

This is just one framework for formulating a successful strategy. You can use similar tools, but the best option will always depend on your company's strategic planning needs . To ensure you're on the right path to an effective business strategy, here are six tips for formulating and implementing successfully.

6 Tips For Transitioning from Formulation to Implementation

After formulating a well-developed business strategy, it's time to execute, which is easier said than done. Strategy execution often poses several challenges that can be hard to overcome.

According to the HBS Online course Business Strategy , there are three characteristics of strategy implementation that make the process difficult for many companies:

  • Boring: Strategy tends to be exciting; implementation, by comparison, can be rather mundane
  • Time-consuming: The best strategies typically require years to implement effectively
  • Detail-oriented: Good strategy implementation requires an attention to detail many managers don't have

To prevent these obstacles and ensure a smooth transition from formulation to successful implementation, here's an overview of what you can do to set your business strategy up for success .

1. Set Clear Goals

A simple and effective way to transition from formulation to execution is to set clear strategic goals . Strategic goals are measurable, actionable objectives that align with an organization's purpose and long-term vision. These goals ensure that individuals implementing the strategy have clear guidelines on how to define successful execution.

“When we set goals, we like to imagine a bright future with our business succeeding,” says HBS Professor Robert Simons in Strategy Execution . “But to identify your critical performance variables, you need to engage in an uncomfortable exercise and consider what can cause your strategy to fail.”

Planning in advance and identifying possible weaknesses in your strategy can help you achieve these business goals and objectives without additional roadblocks.

2. Create a Value Map

A value map is a visual tool that helps organizations determine the needs, pain points, or desires its products or services can solve or fulfill for potential customers. It's a tool that illustrates a business's potential value drivers, the factors that influence customers' willingness to pay for a product or service. Identifying and mapping value drivers can be used to formulate an organization's value proposition and key differentiators.

According to HBS Online's Business Strategy course, there are five steps to creating an effective value map:

  • Identify value drivers: Determine 10 purchasing criteria customers use when choosing between your product and competing products.
  • Rank value drivers: Rank those 10 criteria from most to least important.
  • Rate your company's performance: For each value driver, rate how your company is performing from a score of one (poor) to five (excellent).
  • Rate your competitors' performance: Repeat this process for two or three of your main competitors.
  • Review your value map: Ask yourself if your findings accurately reflect the market's competitive situation, your company's strengths and weaknesses, and if there are actionable next steps to mend any competitive gaps.

Sample value map

By creating a value map, you can review your business's performance and discover new opportunities to improve your position in the market. A value map can also rank how well your company is attracting and maintaining talent compared to competitors.

3. Strengthen Important Value Drivers

Once you've identified your key value drivers, the next step of execution is to strengthen them. Yet, it's important to focus on strengthening the most important ones rather than all of them.

"If you strive to be exceptional everywhere and spread resources evenly across all your value drivers, you end up being mediocre throughout," says Harvard Business School Professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee, who teaches Business Strategy .

Once you've identified the most important value drivers, strengthening them requires generating creative ideas . Since enhancing value drivers can be a relatively vague task, creativity provides ideas and direction. Don't be afraid to think outside the box, take risks, or even fail. Through experimentation and testing, new ideas can strengthen your value drivers and propel your business forward.

4. Create a Plan For Evolving Your Value Proposition

A value proposition is a short statement explaining the value your company provides and how your product or services differ from competitors. As the business landscape and market shift, so must your value proposition.

Competitors often become imitators or substitutes, which can cannibalize your revenue. To stay on top, your strategy—including your value drivers and value proposition—will have to evolve continually.

5. Delegate Work Effectively

Successful strategy implementation can be an overwhelming, multi-step process. It's important for managers to delegate effectively . By assigning tasks to other team members, leadership can spend more time focusing on bigger picture elements and:

  • Engage other team members
  • Share core business values
  • Encourage strategy buy-in
  • Win together and boost team morale

6. Continue to Review Performance

While these tools can be helpful for any strategy implementation, they don’t guarantee success without constant review and oversight. A successful strategic plan that drives value for a business and its customers requires continuous performance reviews and improvements.

One factor of strategy implementation to review is your employees. According to Strategy Execution , it can be beneficial in some cases to use ranking systems when reviewing employee performance to ensure your strategic initiatives receive the support needed to succeed long term.

“Ranking systems have really good features that managers can use to stimulate performance,” says HBS Professor Susanna Gallani in Strategy Execution . For example, employees who are highly motivated by personal achievement often thrive as a result of ranking systems.

It’s also important to continuously review your strategy, even after implementation. To ensure you get the most out of this review process, consider setting up a standardized operating procedure (SOP) for a designated task owner to run regularly to analyze and determine if an update is necessary. This can help you avoid common pitfalls of business strategy failures.

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Why Business Strategy Formulation and Execution Are Important

Business strategy is an essential component of long-term growth and success. It offers value to customers, encouragement to key stakeholders, purpose for your company initiatives, and direction to your team. Yet, formulation only gets you so far.

Don't lose momentum during the implementation phase—ensure all your hard work pays off. With the right framework, you can create value for your customers and implement a frictionless strategy to achieve outstanding financial results.

Are you interested in learning about strategy implementation? Explore Business Strategy and Strategy Execution , two of our online strategy courses , to develop your strategic planning and implementation skills. To determine which strategy course is right for you, download our free flowchart .

This post was updated on November 3, 2023. It was originally published on November 17, 2022.

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Defining Strategy, Implementation, and Execution

implementation strategy for business plan

The three are different, though their boundaries are hard to draw.

It is striking how much confusion there is between strategy, implementation, and execution . Is “strategy” a matter of making choices about where we want to go, where we play and how we win, of setting goals and actions, about how we create and capture economic value over time? Does it include creating solutions to unforeseen problems and running with unexpected opportunities? Is “getting things done” what we mean by implementation or execution? Do you “execute” or “implement” a strategy?  And can you separate these from strategy formation ?

implementation strategy for business plan

  • KF Ken Favaro is a former CEO of Marakon Associates, the chief strategy officer of BERA Brand Management, and a guest instructor at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.

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Strategy Implementation: The Complete Guide For Small Businesses

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Strategy implementation is one of those concepts that all small business owners and managers  know they need to work on. The problem is that very few of those owners or managers understand how to get started — or how to proceed once they have.

That’s where the experts at Sling  can help. We’ve created this complete strategy implementation guide for small businesses so that you don’t have to recreate the wheel. Follow these eight easy steps to implement any strategy — large or small — and reach your goals sooner.

What Is Strategy Implementation?

On the face of it, strategy implementation is fairly simple: it’s the process that translates general strategies into actionable plans for reaching your goals. But underneath the straightforward definition lies a maze of different variables and methods that make strategy implementation difficult for a business  to achieve.

Strategy implementation is built on such essential elements as:

It also incorporates a big-picture view of your business as well as SWOT and environmental analyses and any relevant issues  and objectives. Needless to say, there’s a lot to consider when working to implement a new strategy.

We’ve simplified the process by reducing it to its basic components so that it’s easier to understand and, ultimately, execute.

8 Steps For Strategy Implementation

1) appoint a visible leader.

Leader of a strategy implementation plan

Every project needs a visible leader — strategy implementation is no different. For a small business, the leader will likely be the owner or manager. You can also delegate smaller strategy implementation projects to trusted employees who want to develop their skills and advance.

For large-scale strategy implementation, the leader should have access to a wide range of data, including but not limited to:

  • Employee scheduling
  • Existing business market

This gives the leader a complete picture of the business so he or she can make the most informed decisions possible.

For small-scale strategy implementation — like reorganizing the bar in a restaurant — less information is necessary. Throughout the rest of this article, we’ll assume strategy implementation on a grander scale (i.e., business-wide) so that you can get a feel for major organizational changes.

2) Create The Mission, Vision, And Values

Once you’ve appointed a leader, it’s time to create the mission, vision, and values of your strategy. The leader doesn’t have to do this all on their own. They can, of course, if the business is small enough. But even a mom-and-pop coffee shop can benefit from a diverse  range of input at this point.

Don’t be afraid to meet with employees or talk with other business owners about creating a mission, vision, and values  statement. That information will make the next few steps much easier.

3) Set Organizational Goals

Man working at a cafe

Next, it’s time to set the organizational goals that pertain to this particular strategy implementation. Organizational goals are high-level objectives that apply to the business as a whole (e.g., market penetration, opening another location, new hiring practices).

These are usually items that a CEO, owner, or high-level manager  is responsible (and accountable) for. Keep in mind that organizational goals will sometimes overlap with departmental and employee goals. It all depends on the size and scope of your business and your strategy.

4) Set Departmental Goals

When you have a complete view of your organizational goals, break them into smaller sub-goals and delegate responsibilities to each department.

For example, if one of your organizational goals is to reduce and simplify the processes in your restaurant , you might translate that into streamlining activity behind the bar. It then becomes a departmental goal assigned to the head bartender.

He or she would come up with a plan to make that goal a reality, and then either execute the plan personally or delegate the responsibility to another employee or team of employees.

5) Compose A Strategic Plan

Outdoor hotdog stand as example of strategy implementation

Once you’ve established the mission, vision, and values statement and set organizational and departmental goals, it’s time to compose your strategic plan . Start by creating a written document that details the steps and processes your business needs to reach the goals you’ve set.

Be as detailed as possible, but also be willing to go back and change the plan if you see that something isn’t working or if someone has a better idea.

6) Analyze And Allocate The Resources

After you’ve composed your strategic plan, use that information to analyze and allocate any and all resources necessary to get the job done. Don’t forget to take into account:

All of these resources can have a dramatic effect on the success of your strategy implementation.

7) Assemble A Team And Go To Work

Coworkers discussing strategy implementation

With your plans set and your resources dedicated to the task at hand, it’s time to assemble your team  and go to work. Assign individual tasks and set deadlines to adhere to the timeline you’ve established in your strategic plan.

Once the project is underway, get everyone involved. While only a small team may be working on the actual implementation, success depends on getting everyone in your business engaged and working toward the same goal.

It’s also essential to hold employees accountable for their part of the plan so that they take ownership of their work and feel invested in the change. But don’t give individual employees too much power. If you do, you run the risk of them making changes that are contrary to your overall plan.

8) Take Advantage Of Performance Measurement Tools

Don’t let your strategy implementation continue too long without measuring its performance. That may involve an employee performance review , another SWOT analysis, a labor-cost  review, or something completely different. Again, it all depends on your goals and the strategy implementation itself.

Sling Time Clock feature

The tools you choose to gauge strategy implementation performance will be dictated, in large part, by the smaller departmental goals you’ve established.

If, for example, you’re trying to simplify the clock-in/clock-out  procedure in your business, you would get a clearer picture of all the variables involved by incorporating a time-tracking suite of tools like Sling  to measure performance. That way, you would know for sure if the changes you’re making are helping or hindering the process as a whole.

Your Strategy Isn’t Set In Stone

No plan is perfect, so don’t consider it set in stone. Once you’ve finalized everything and turned your team loose to implement the strategy, it’s time to observe, assess, and make changes if necessary.

Look for pieces of the plan — or the strategy itself — that aren’t working and tweak them so that they do. Sometimes, all it takes is a slight change to get back on the road to success.

For more free resources to help you manage your business better, organize and schedule your team, and track and calculate labor costs, visit GetSling.com  today.

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Implementation plan template

Taking your business goals from “not started” to “accomplished” can feel overwhelming. Luckily, an implementation plan template can break down your goal into manageable, achievable steps. Learn how to create one.

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Let’s say you want to renovate your bathroom. How would you go about it? You probably wouldn’t jump right in without a plan in place—that’s a recipe for flooded floors and an expensive repair. Instead, you’d likely think through all the actions you need to take to turn your old bathroom into an updated one before getting started.

Business goals are a lot like that. To achieve them, you need a detailed understanding of the steps that will take you from start to finish. Depending on your goal, planning out all the steps can feel like a big task. That’s where implementation plan templates come in.

[product ui] Implementation plan project in Asana, spreadsheet-style project view (List)

What is an implementation plan?

You should create your project implementation plan during the planning phase , before kicking off your initiative (aka the project or plan of action designed to achieve your specific goal). To learn more about how to build out an implementation plan, read our article on creating an implementation plan .

What is an implementation plan template?

An implementation plan template is a reusable resource you can use as a starting point to identify what steps you need to take to accomplish your goals. Digital implementation plan templates help you view and track every step you need to take to achieve your goal—and because they’re reusable, you can use them to map out a process for accomplishing similar goals down the line. And that means less work about work —always a win in our book.

How to use an implementation plan template

Once you’ve created your baseline implementation plan template, using it is easy. You can simply duplicate the template at the start of every initiative and then fill out the information needed to achieve that specific goal.

To get you started, let’s take a look at what to include in your basic implementation plan template.

What to include in an implementation plan template

Your baseline implementation plan template will serve as a roadmap for all your similar goals going forward. That reusability is key—so think about how to build out your baseline template in a way that will easily duplicate across initiatives. Typically, this means including repeatable steps or phases in your baseline template that can scale across initiatives. 

The easiest way to do this is by separating the template into phases (such as research, planning, and execution). Once you’ve identified the project phases, you can add in more detail that you’ll use to track progress across your specific goals. 

Here’s some basic information you can include in your implementation plan template:

The owner for each task or action item

The action’s start date and deadline

The duration of the action

Action status

Action priority

Action progress 

Then, once you’ve kicked off a specific initiative, you can duplicate the template and add in goal-specific information. Plus, you can add dependencies to any tasks that depend on each other for completion and set milestones to mark specific points along the goal’s timeline (such as when you complete a goal phase). With an implementation plan template, you’ll achieve your goals in no time. 

Integrated features

Custom fields . Custom fields are the best way to tag, sort, and filter work. Create unique custom fields for any information you need to track—from priority and status to email or phone number. Use custom fields to sort and schedule your to-dos so you know what to work on first. Plus, share custom fields across tasks and projects to ensure consistency across your organization. 

Timeline View . Timeline View is a Gantt-style project view that displays all of your tasks in a horizontal bar chart. Not only can you see each task’s start and end date, but you can also see dependencies between tasks. With Timeline View, you can easily track how the pieces of your plan fit together. Plus, when you can see all of your work in one place, it’s easy to identify and address dependency conflicts before they start, so you can hit all of your goals on schedule. 

Milestones . Milestones represent important project checkpoints. By setting milestones throughout your project, you can let your team members and project stakeholders know how you’re pacing towards your goal. Use milestones as a chance to celebrate the little wins on the path towards the big project goal. 

Dependencies . Mark a task as waiting on another task with task dependencies. Know when your work is blocking someone else’s work, so you can prioritize accordingly. Teams with collaborative workflows can easily see what tasks they’re waiting on from others, and know when to get started on their portion of work. When the first task is completed, the assignee will be notified that they can get started on their dependent task. Or, if the task your work is dependent on is rescheduled, Asana will notify you—letting you know if you need to adjust your dependent due date as well. 

Recommended apps

Dropbox . Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Dropbox file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane.

Google Workplace . Attach files directly to tasks in Asana with the Google Workplace file chooser, which is built into the Asana task pane. Easily attach any My Drive file with just a few clicks.

Zoom . Asana and Zoom are partnering up to help teams have more purposeful and focused meetings. The Zoom + Asana integration makes it easy to prepare for meetings, hold actionable conversations, and access information once the call is over. Meetings begin in Asana, where shared meeting agendas provide visibility and context about what will be discussed. During the meeting, team members can quickly create tasks within Zoom, so details and action items don’t get lost. And once the meeting is over, the Zoom + Asana integration pulls meeting transcripts and recordings into Asana, so all collaborators and stakeholders can review the meeting as needed.

Miro . Connect Miro and Asana to streamline workflows and see the full picture of every project, all in one place. Embed Miro boards into Asana project briefs, allowing team members to interact, view, comment, or edit directly from within Asana. Or, attach an existing or new Miro board to any Asana task, automatically inviting task collaborators to view, comment, or edit the board. 

Benefits of a digital implementation plan template 

Static implementation plan templates—like those created in Excel—are a helpful way to see your timeline and tasks at a high level, but they lack the functionality needed to really hit your goals. In contrast, digital implementation plan templates created in a project management tool let you track and manage everything—from communication to goal progress and any potential roadblocks—all in one place. 

Here are a few other benefits of using a digital implementation plan template: 

Increase goal success by breaking down your high-level goal into actionable, achievable steps at the start of the initiative. 

Track goal progress in different views, including Kanban boards and Gantt charts .

Easily monitor and manage every phase of your project.

See which team members are responsible for what and buy when. 

Quickly view any upcoming or overdue milestones, so you can adjust timelines and work accordingly. 

Monitor the progress and status of each action item or deliverable .

Easily collaborate and communicate with your project team as well as internal and external stakeholders. 

Why should you use an implementation plan template?

An implementation plan template can help you achieve your business goals by outlining every step you need to take to accomplish a given initiative. When created in a project management tool , a digital template also serves as a reusable baseline for similar initiatives, saving you time and helping you create a streamlined process for achieving goals. 

What should you include in your implementation plan template?

Since your template will serve as a guide for future goals, the baseline template should include any information you’ll want to duplicate and include for similar undertakings. This will likely include information such as goal phases; the status, duration, and priority of action items; and the progress and stage for each action item.

When should you create an implementation plan for your goal?

You should create an implementation plan at the beginning of your goal process, when you’re still defining your business goals, conducting your risk assessment , and assigning responsibilities. To learn more about how to create an implementation plan for a specific goal, check out our article on building an implementation plan from scratch.

What’s the difference between an implementation plan and a strategic plan?

Strategic plans and implementation plans go hand-in-hand. A strategic plan outlines at a high level what strategies you’re going to take to achieve a business goal. An implementation plan, on the other hand, is a step-by-step action plan that includes the exact actions you’ll take to accomplish the goal. Think of it this way: A strategic plan includes what you’re going to do and why (typically outlined by your company’s vision and mission statements). An implementation plan outlines how you’re going to accomplish those goals, as well as when you’re planning to move forward with the necessary steps and who will help you achieve them. 

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What Is Implementation Planning? And How to Write Your Plan

Discover what goes into implementation planning, why it’s important in project management, and how to build your implementation plan.

[Featured Image] A project manager in a yellow sweater uses their laptop and a whiteboard to work on implementation planning.

What is implementation planning?  

Implementation planning is a process in project management that entails creating step-by-step instructions for completing projects. The purpose of this process is to inform members of a project team of the concrete actions and individual tasks required to achieve the team’s strategic goals.

What is an implementation plan? 

An implementation plan is a written document that outlines a team’s steps to accomplish a goal or project. Having such a document enables team members and key stakeholders to understand all aspects of a project before executing it. 

Although you may find implementation plans that differ from one project to another, there are several components you may find in common, including:

Project objectives 

Scope statement 

Risks analysis 

Resources and tools list 

Outline of deliverables 

Implementation strategy 

Implementation schedule

Team roles and responsibilities 

Implementation plan metrics

Benefits of creating an implementation plan

Creating an implementation plan for your project means you have an actionable roadmap for the whole project and a mechanism to hold team members and stakeholders accountable, simplify communication, and offer transparency.

Strategic plan vs. implementation plan

Implementation plans are sometimes referred to as strategic plans, but there is an important distinction between these two terms. A strategic plan details the strategies you’ll use to complete a project, while an implementation plan details the step-by-step actions you’ll take to complete a project.  

How to write an implementation plan 

Before you start writing your implementation plan, there are several things you’ll need. Be sure to get an official clearance from decision makers and stakeholders for the project to be launched. In addition, the project team will need to have conducted thorough research into the key resources the team will need and the time tasks will take to complete. 

With this preparation behind you, follow the steps below to build your implementation plan.  

1. Define your project goals.

A project goal refers to what a project team will accomplish beyond the tangible outcomes or deliverables. Think of it as what a project outcome or deliverable can enable for others. For example, your project goal might be to develop software that makes it easier for business owners to reach customers. 

2. Define outcomes and deliverables.

Along with goals, you will need to define the project’s outcomes and deliverables. These are the expected results of every step you take to complete a project or the final product. Examples of outcomes and deliverables include the construction of a building, the development of a software program, and the launch of a new product line. 

You’ll also need to define KPIs (key performance indicators) that will determine how your project is measured and monitored at every phase.  

3. Assess potential risks. 

Every project carries with it some risks that may affect the outcome. It’s important to know project risks before you launch the project and implement the steps to complete it. Risks might include unforeseen delays, costs, or even changes in the industry the project affects.  

4. Set tasks and due dates.

Work with team members to determine the specific tasks and subtasks that must be completed for the project to come to fruition. Start by breaking the project goal, outcomes, and deliverables into actionable steps and lining them up in the order in which they need to be completed. Then, determine the actual deadlines for each step. 

5. Assign team member roles and responsibilities. 

Once you have established the individual project tasks and deadlines, the next step is to work with your team to assign member roles and responsibilities. Take team members’ strengths and experience into account when assigning tasks, as well as their availability during the project’s duration. 

6. Assemble your implementation plan. 

Now that you have all the components of your implementation plan, the final step is to assemble them into a coherent document that includes the following: 

Project objectives

Scope statement

Implementation strategy

Risks analysis

Resources and tools list

Outline of deliverables

Implementation schedule 

Team roles and responsibilities

Implementation planning key takeaways

Remember: The implementation planning process can enable team members to understand all aspects of a project before executing it, as well as simplify communication among team members and stakeholders, and offer transparency.

Follow these best practices to get the most out of your project management process:

Make use of tools and software for project management, such as Gantt charts and PERT charts . 

When in doubt about a particular aspect of your project, conduct additional research and consult subject matter experts. 

Centralize communication using your project management tool so that everyone receives project updates and announcements at the same time.  

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The Ultimate Guide to Implementation Plans

May 4, 2022 - 10 min read

Maria Waida

Implementation plans provide step-by-step instructions for everything from digital marketing campaigns to ending hunger in rural communities . They’re used to transform abstract concepts within strategy plans into real-world action. The only downside is that implementation plans can be challenging to pull off. Some industries see as much as a 75% failure rate in plan execution. 

The good news is you can succeed where others have failed by creating a successful implementation plan with the tips and strategies outlined in this guide. 

Keep reading to discover must-have components for implementation plans, a thorough step-by-step planning method, and advice on how to avoid common pitfalls. 

What is an implementation plan?

A project implementation plan (also called a strategic plan) is a combination of strategy, process, and action. It outlines the steps a team will use to achieve a shared objective. An implementation plan covers all aspects of a project , including the budget, timeline, and personnel.

The perfect project plan includes: 

  • Objectives, requirements
  • Scope assessment
  • An outline of deliverables
  • Task due dates
  • Risk assessment
  • Stakeholder, team, and process management plans
  • Team member roles and responsibilities
  • Resource management
  • Communication tools

Roadmap planning breaks down big-picture goals into measurable project phases, tasks, and subtasks. Each category is clearly defined with its own deadlines and resource allocations. Tasks and subtasks are assigned to team members who will complete and approve each one. 

In other words, if the goal is the "what," the implementation plan is the "how."  

An implementation plan is often presented as a written document or planned in a project management solution . The latter is a better fit for this particular roadmap because, as you can probably tell, implementation plans are complex and comprehensive. Implementation plans should all contain solutions for:

  • Tasks and subtasks
  • Timelines 
  • Collaborators
  • Any additional resources

It’s also important to note that having a flexible implementation plan is key for dealing with changes that come up once the project is live. 

What are the benefits of implementation planning?

The benefits of implementation planning range from organizational to relationship-building to increased profitability. A solid implementation plan: 

  • Creates an actionable roadmap from project inception to completion
  • Makes communication simple and crystal clear
  • Improves employee retention in the long-term
  • Organizes all resources in one manageable place
  • Helps businesses be proactive instead of reactive
  • Offers transparency to clients and collaborators
  • Builds trust among stakeholders
  • Holds everyone accountable
  • Outlines a daily and weekly workflow the whole team can follow
  • Improves the likelihood of buy-in
  • Makes collaboration more fluid and synergistic
  • Helps businesses commit to long-term goals
  • Gets everyone’s thoughts out of their heads and into one accessible place

When do you begin implementation planning?

Because it’s so involved, it’s important that you don’t begin implementation planning too early or too late. 

Why? The process of creating an implementation plan is time-consuming. Most of the tasks involved require you to wait on communication or approvals from multiple stakeholders. The process also requires lots of research, goal-setting, gathering or defining resources, and getting team availability together. 

Avoid planning too early by waiting until the project is officially greenlit. The definition of greenlit means something different to every agency. However, most would agree that a signed contract and successful deposit payment are good markers. 

After those client onboarding tasks are complete, you can begin implementation planning. Remember, the project can’t begin without these plans, so have a system in place to kick off and support implementation planning ahead of time. 

The Ultimate Guide To Implementation Plans 2

What is an implementation timeline? 

An implementation timeline is a visual representation of all project-related due dates. That includes:

  • The final project due date
  • Dates your team needs to complete each phase by 
  • Due dates for individual tasks and subtasks 

These dates aren’t set in stone yet. However, accurately forecasting effort and mini-milestones now will make the implementation phase that much easier. 

Implementation timelines are often represented by visual Gantt charts . A Gantt chart uses bars to track the progress of each phase, task, and subtask all at once. Wrike users can add task dependencies, which trigger automatic chart updates and notifications to team members in charge of the next steps. 

Gantt charts also help project managers identify possible roadblocks. With every single step laid out, it’s easy to see where resources are stretched too thin and whether or not milestones are realistic. 

How do you make an implementation plan?

Follow these steps to create a successful implementation plan: 

  • Choose an implementation planning tool Project management solutions like Wrike can help teams share information, start and complete approvals, and set up timelines with ease. 
  • Holidays or upcoming PTO
  • Delivery time for goods and materials
  • Additional training or onboarding of outside team members
  • Review the strategic plan Ask yourself, where do the implementation plan and strategic plan align so far? Where does it conflict? When in doubt, always edit your implementation plan to support your strategic plan. 
  • What the project is
  • Why it’s important
  • Who is involved 
  • What is each person’s role in the project 
  • What all parties hope to achieve
  • The obstacles you foresee and how your team will overcome them
  • Which ROIs you’ll use to measure success
  • Is available for the project as a whole 
  • Should be allocated to each key phase
  • Will be monitored, and who will oversee it
  • Will be broken down into trackable categories
  • Collect related materials Gather the documents you need to plan and execute the project all in one place. Include data from past projects that may help you accurately forecast this one. 
  • Define how progress will be measured and monitored Choose KPIs that align with your project goals, then chart progress within your project management solution. Come up with a plan for who is in charge and how often they’ll check in. 
  • Outline management buy-in criteria Get crystal clear on what managers are looking for, what information they need to approve or reject, and any other information that will decrease resistance. 
  • Do a stakeholder analysis Create a chart that defines each stakeholder’s level of impact, influence, and attitude. Explain the evaluations further and create an action plan for each person or group. 
  • Clarify day-to-day operations Include a work plan that goes over which processes will be used, which will be changed, and how future changes will be dealt with down the road. Choose who is responsible for approving, managing, and finalizing adjustments as they come up. 
  • Everyone’s preferred mode of communication
  • What type of updates are expected when 
  • And how information will be shared  Also, designate communication channels and leaders who will oversee them.  Don’t forget to loop in both your implementation leader and strategy director. Stakeholders do not need to sign off on this section. However, you may choose to share it with them so they can see how you plan to keep everyone on track. 
  • Identify key project phases, tasks, and subtasks Break the project goal down into actionable steps. Give each phase a name, deadline, and set of related tasks. Use project status updates in Wrike to communicate task and subtask due date expectations with everyone involved. Updates are formatted as dropdown menu options which make it easy for individuals to quickly update the entire team when they’ve moved on to the next step.  After, assign team members to complete and approve each task. Set up task dependencies within Wrike, so status notifications are automatically sent to those who were waiting to move on to the next step. 
  • Go over security needs If your project deals with sensitive data, outline what you’ll need to keep the entire project and team compliant throughout. List all digital and physical information sources that require privacy (think sensitive company financial data, home addresses, credit or bank account information, etc.). 
  • Provide a glossary Include industry terms that clients, stakeholders, and teams will need to know throughout the course of the project. Add project-related abbreviations, slang, or resource nicknames you expect will come up in communications. 

What are the components of an implementation plan?

There are 13 components every implementation plan needs to have:

  • Selected tools
  • Preliminary research
  • Strategic plan alignment
  • Project summary
  • Resource and materials list
  • Goal monitoring and measurement
  • Buy-in criteria
  • Stakeholder management
  • Operations plan
  • Management plan
  • Key phases and tasks
  • Glossary of terms

A simple implementation plan template

Your own project implementation plan will have lots of information included, but a simple table including the steps needed to launch the project is always a good place to start.

In this example, a small business is preparing to launch an online store to sell its products. Let's take a look at how this looks on a simple table. 

What are implementation planning best practices?

  • Always be as specific as possible 
  • Don’t shy away from consulting experts and conducting additional research as needed 
  • Pull data from similar past projects (successful and unsuccessful), then apply what you learned 
  • Remember that 100% alignment between all stakeholders and personnel across the board is unrealistic 
  • Use a project management solution to quickly update plans when changes come up 
  • Centralize communication to save time and keep everyone on the same page 

What information do you put in an implementation schedule?

Include an outline of the project timeline, goals, and tasks to keep teams on the same page. Combine that with key updates on:

  • The progress of major phases
  • Adjustments made to budgets, timelines, or personnel
  • Upcoming challenges and planned solutions

Implementation schedules are also meant for stakeholders, so the information you put in one needs to be tailored toward their needs. Identify each stakeholder’s level of involvement and what information they want to receive. 

What is the implementation process?

The implementation process is the step-by-step plan a team follows to achieve a shared objective. Each step is concrete and actionable. These instructions should be easily understood by anyone who reads them. 

What is a good implementation plan example? 

One good implementation plan example comes from Outdoor Equipment Manufacturer MTD . The brand uses Wrike to optimize its complex product development process. 

Their projects involve having multiple active tasks open across a variety of teams at the same time. As a result, their implementation plan relies on custom workflows, visual progress updates, and a bird’s eye view of what’s going on across the entire organization. 

Who creates implementation plans?

Project managers create implementation plans. They may choose to collaborate with team leads, subject experts, suppliers, and stakeholders to add important details. However, project managers are responsible for drafting, revising, and monitoring implementation plans the whole way through. 

What are the challenges of an implementation plan?

  • Foggy vision Implementation plans are only as good as the strategy they’re based on. Connect back to your original goals and strategy plan frequently when drafting the implementation process. 
  • Bad communication Instant messenger notes and email updates tend to get lost over the course of a project. Centralize all communication in your project management platform. In Wrike, use @ mentions to loop in stakeholders and collaborators. 
  • Lack of training Hire outside specialists or plan time for proper employee training on new projects, especially if those skill sets come with a learning curve. 

How to use Wrike as implementation planning software

Create a foolproof project plan using Wrike’s visual Gantt charts, detailed task options, and robust templates . Each of these features helps project managers easily make and monitor progress. Use our two-week free trial to save time with customizable implementation plan templates you can use over and over again.

Mobile image promo promo

Maria Waida

Maria is a freelance content writer who specializes in blogging and other marketing materials for enterprise software businesses.

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More Like this

Strategic implementation, follow these 6 steps to successfully implement your strategic plan..

  • What is strategic implementation?
  • Getting your strategy ready for implementation
  • Avoiding the implementation pitfalls
  • Covering all your bases
  • Make sure you have the support
  • Determine your plan of attack

What is Strategic Implementation?

Implementation is the process that turns strategies and plans into actions in order to accomplish strategic objectives and goals. Implementing your strategic plan is as important, or even more important, than your strategy. The video How to Build a Strategic Plan You Can Actually Implement is a great way to learn how to take your implementation to the next level.

What is a competitive advantage

Critical actions move a strategic plan from a document that sits on the shelf to actions that drive business growth. Sadly, the majority of companies who have strategic plans fail to implement them. According to Fortune Magazine, nine out of ten organizations fail to implement their strategic plan for many reasons:

  • 60% of organizations don’t link strategy to budgeting
  • 75% of organizations don’t link employee incentives to strategy
  • 86% of business owners and managers spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy
  • 95% of the typical workforce doesn’t understand their organization’s strategy.

A strategic plan provides a business with the roadmap it needs to pursue a specific strategic direction and set of performance goals, deliver customer value, and be successful. However, this is just a plan; it doesn’t guarantee that the desired performance is reached any more than having a roadmap guarantees the traveler arrives at the desired destination.

Getting Your Strategy Ready for Implementation

For those businesses that have a plan in place, wasting time and energy on the planning process and then not implementing the plan is very discouraging. Although the topic of implementation may not be the most exciting thing to talk about, it’s a fundamental business practice that’s critical for any strategy to take hold.

The strategic plan addresses the what and why of activities, but implementation addresses the who, where, when, and how. The fact is that both pieces are critical to success. In fact, companies can gain competitive advantage through implementation if done effectively. In the following sections, you’ll discover how to get support for your complete implementation plan and how to avoid some common mistakes.

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Avoiding the implementation pitfalls.

Because you want your plan to succeed, heed the advice here and stay away from the pitfalls of implementing your strategic plan. Here are the most common reasons strategic plans fail:

  • Lack of ownership: The most common reason a plan fails is lack of ownership. If people don’t have a stake and responsibility in the plan, it’ll be business as usual for all but a frustrated few.
  • Lack of communication: The plan doesn’t get communicated to employees, and they don’t understand how they contribute.
  • Getting mired in the day-to-day: Owners and managers, consumed by daily operating problems, lose sight of long-term goals.
  • Out of the ordinary: The plan is treated as something separate and removed from the management process.
  • An overwhelming plan: The goals and actions generated in the strategic planning session are too numerous because the team failed to make tough choices to eliminate non-critical actions. Employees don’t know where to begin.
  • A meaningless plan: The vision, mission, and value statements are viewed as fluff and not supported by actions or don’t have employee buy-in.
  • Annual strategy: Strategy is only discussed at yearly weekend retreats.
  • Not considering implementation: Implementation isn’t discussed in the strategic planning process. The planning document is seen as an end in itself.
  • No progress report: There’s no method to track progress, and the plan only measures what’s easy, not what’s important. No one feels any forward momentum.
  • No accountability: Accountability and high visibility help drive change. This means that each measure, objective, data source, and initiative must have an owner.
  • Lack of empowerment: Although accountability may provide strong motivation for improving performance, employees must also have the authority, responsibility, and tools necessary to impact relevant measures. Otherwise, they may resist involvement and ownership.

It’s easier to avoid pitfalls when they’re clearly identified. Now that you know what they are, you’re more likely to jump right over them!

Covering All Your Bases

As a business owner, executive, or department manager, your job entails making sure you’re set up for a successful implementation. Before you start this process, evaluate your strategic plan and how you may implement it by answering a few questions to keep yourself in check.

Take a moment to honestly answer the following questions:

  • How committed are you to implementing the plan to move your company forward?
  • How do you plan to communicate the plan throughout the company?
  • Are there sufficient people who have a buy-in to drive the plan forward?
  • How are you going to motivate your people?
  • Have you identified internal processes that are key to driving the plan forward?
  • Are you going to commit money, resources, and time to support the plan?
  • What are the roadblocks to implementing and supporting the plan?
  • How will you take available resources and achieve maximum results with them?

SWOT Basics

Making Sure You Have the Support

Often overlooked are the five key components necessary to support implementation: people, resources, structure, systems, and culture. All components must be in place in order to move from creating the plan to activating the plan.

The first stage of implementing your plan is to make sure to have the right people on board. The right people include those folks with required competencies and skills that are needed to support the plan. In the months following the planning process, expand employee skills through training, recruitment, or new hires to include new competencies required by the strategic plan.

You need to have sufficient funds and enough time to support implementation.  Often, true costs are underestimated or not identified. True costs can include a realistic time commitment from staff to achieve a goal, a clear identification of expenses associated with a tactic, or unexpected cost overruns by a vendor. Additionally, employees must have enough time to implement what may be additional activities that they aren’t currently performing.

Set your structure of management and appropriate lines of authority, and have clear, open lines of communication with your employees. A plan owner and regular strategy meetings are the two easiest ways to put a structure in place. Meetings to review the progress should be scheduled monthly or quarterly, depending on the level of activity and time frame of the plan.

Both management and technology systems help track the progress of the plan and make it faster to adapt to changes. As part of the system, build milestones into the plan that must be achieved within a specific time frame. A scorecard is one tool used by many organizations that incorporates progress tracking and milestones.

Create an environment that connects employees to the organization’s mission and that makes them feel comfortable. To reinforce the importance of focusing on strategy and vision, reward success. Develop some creative positive and negative consequences for achieving or not achieving the strategy.  The rewards may be big or small, as long as they lift the strategy above the day-to-day so people make it a priority.

Determine Your Plan of Attack

Implementing your plan includes several different pieces and can sometimes feel like it needs another plan of its own. But you don’t need to go to that extent. Use the steps below as your base implementation plan. Modify it to make it your own timeline and fit your organization’s culture and structure.

  • Finalize your strategic plan after obtaining input from all invested parties.
  • Align your budget to annual goals based on your financial assessment.
  • Produce the various versions of your plan for each group.
  • Establish your scorecard system for tracking and monitoring your plan.
  • Establish your performance management and reward system.
  • Roll out your plan to the whole organization.
  • Build all department annual plans around the corporate plan.
  • Set up monthly strategy meetings with established reporting to monitor your progress.
  • Set up annual strategic review dates, including new assessments and a large group meeting for an annual plan review.


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Hi i like to read these article and i got lots of help about strategy plan thanks

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the implementation plans can assists an organisation in making its strategic efficiently which bust the organisation performance

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Great article , I am an MBA student from kenya and am intending to research on factors that influence the implementaton of strategic plans in kenyan schools . Any idea on the relevant objectives and theories for my theoretical review and framework will be highly appreciated .

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The article has been of invaluable use to me.thanks a lot.I would like to get more articles on strategic Management since I have done an Undergraduate degree in Strategic Management.

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Good outline. My experience suggests that strategic plan ACHIEVEMENT always boils down to: broad understanding; assignability; actionable tasks; measurable elements; and stretch reasonableness. When plans fail, it’s usually because they’re either too esoteric, vague, unrealistic, or lack broad-based employee buy-in. Shorter-term plans, subsidiary plans, budgets, functional assignments, and job descriptions need to support this broader set of goals and objectives. There needs to be regular, ongoing communication and updates. Lastly, (and this makes professional planners uneasy), it’s not just about an elegant process, it’s about translating that vision into an executable framework from which elegant outcomes are actually achieved.

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this is great and I have scooped a lot from it

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Thanks a lot.This article has made me understand better

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Isn’t this from “Strategic planning for dummies”? anyways thanks

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Hi Brian- Our COO, Erica Olsen, wrote the book “Strategic Planning for Dummies” so you will some very similar thoughts here that you would see in the book.

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thanks for the article . it has really helped me answer all my questions keep it up.

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Thanks but can you assist more on why in most cases the strategic planning is regarded as a meaningless ,trivial and mundane ritual in organisations

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I’m very happy reading your article and help much in our project implementaion, hoping that there are still more than this, thanks very much

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The article is very useful for information. Thank you.

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thanks alot for the outline,really impressed though an advise for strategy formulation in a motor vehicle showroom as a new business venture and also implementation of the same.

' src=

This is a very valuable piece. You helped me understand strategic planning and implementation much better. Thanks so much.

' src=

Very helpful information, thank you!

Comments Cancel

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Detailed Implementation Plan for Business Strategy


Category: OKR University .

A strategy implementation plan is crucial for businesses to effectively execute their strategy by breaking it down into specific tasks, assigning responsibilities, establishing timelines, and tracking progress. A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively.

Content Index

  • What is a strategy implementation plan?
  • The difference between a strategic plan and a strategy implementation plan
  • Why is a strategy implementation plan important?
  • Components of a strategy implementation plan
  • Frequently Asked Questions

Key Highlights

  • The success of a business depends on how good its strategy is, but a great strategy is still just a concept or blueprint that merely reflects the intent of the business.
  • A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively.
  • While a strategic plan focuses on defining the strategy, a strategy implementation plan focuses on executing it.
  • A strategy implementation plan is crucial for turning a strategic plan into reality as it outlines all the steps and actions required to implement a strategy.
  • A well-designed strategy implementation plan helps businesses ensure the effective allocation of resources, alignment, and cooperation of all the stakeholders in working towards the same goals and progress in the right direction.
  • Following are some of the key components in a strategy implementation plan necessary for successfully executing a strategy: Action Items, Timelines, Resource Allocation, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), Communication Plan, Risk Management Plan, and Monitoring and Evaluation.

Strategy and Implementation Plan

The success of a business depends on how good its strategy is. A solid business strategy helps the business organization achieve its objectives, remain competitive, and stay ahead of the competition. It takes into account various aspects of the business, such as its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, and enables businesses to create a well-defined plan to cater to the customers with suitable offerings and weather the challenges in the market. It enables businesses to set clear goals, identify the steps needed to achieve them, and determine the resources required for success.

However, a great strategy is still just a concept or blueprint that merely reflects the intent of the business. Unless you manage to implement it effectively, a strategy cannot achieve the desired outcomes. Strategy implementation provides a clear direction for achieving the strategic objectives and ensures success. A perfect strategy implementation requires a focused and coordinated effort across all levels of the organization. It involves putting the right people, processes, and resources in place to execute the strategy effectively. It calls for a detailed strategy implementation plan.

What is a Strategy Implementation Plan?

A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively. It provides businesses with a framework for setting priorities, managing resources, and tracking progress toward achieving the desired strategic objectives. A well-crafted implementation plan enables businesses to execute the strategy in the most efficient and effective manner possible, increasing their chances of success.

Our goals can only be reached through a vehicle of a plan. There is no other route to success. Pablo Picasso

What is the Difference Between a Strategic Plan and a Strategy Implementation Plan?

A strategy implementation plan is a totally different document compared to a strategic plan. They both serve different purposes.

A strategic plan is devised by the top management. It is a high-level document that focuses on the bigger picture and the ambitions of an organization. It outlines the vision, mission, and long-term goals of the organization. It elaborates on the direction the organization wants to take and the long-term objectives it expects to achieve over a certain period, usually three to five years. A strategic plan details the overall strategy and lays out a roadmap for how the organization will achieve its goals.

In contrast, an implementation plan is a highly detailed, actionable, tactical document that lists and details the specific actions and steps businesses should take to implement a strategy. It breaks down the business strategy into specific tasks and smaller objectives. It assigns responsibilities to relevant team members, establishes timelines and milestones for each task, event, and activity, and provides a framework for tracking progress and evaluating success.

While a strategic plan focuses on defining the strategy, a strategy implementation plan focuses on executing it. A strategy implementation plan is critical for translating the strategy into action and making progress toward achieving the strategic goals.

Why is a Strategy Implementation Plan Important?

A strategy implementation plan is crucial for turning a strategic plan into reality as it outlines all the steps and actions required to implement a strategy. It helps organizations to effectively execute their strategy by breaking it down into specific tasks, assigning responsibilities to the right people, establishing timelines for each task and milestone, and providing a framework for tracking progress and evaluating success.

Without a strategy implementation plan, a strategic plan may remain nothing more than just an idea, with no clear path to execution. A well-designed strategy implementation plan helps businesses ensure the effective allocation of resources, alignment, and cooperation of all the stakeholders in working towards the same goals and progress in the right direction.

A strategy implementation plan also helps businesses identify potential obstacles and challenges, allowing businesses to proactively put mitigation strategies and counteracting mechanisms in place to address them before they grow into bigger issues. It also helps to establish accountability by assigning responsibilities to the team members for specific tasks, outcomes, and deliverables.

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Seven ways an effective strategy implementation plan can help execution.

  • Helps to convert a strategic plan at a conceptual level into actionable steps, activities, and tasks.
  • Assigns responsibility for every task to concerned personnel, creates a reporting structure, and ensures accountability.
  • Establishes timelines and milestones and makes tasks and steps time-bound and trackable.
  • Provides a framework for measuring progress towards the objectives and evaluating success.
  • Ensures judicious allocation of adequate resources for all the tasks and steps.
  • Identifies potential obstacles or challenges and proactively addresses them.
  • Helps organizations achieve their strategic objectives and realize their vision.


Seven Components of a strategy implementation plan

Following are some of the key components in a strategy implementation plan necessary for successfully executing a strategy.

1. Action items

Action items are a list of specific tasks that the company needs to complete to implement the strategy. Each action item is clearly defined, with instructions, expected outcomes, deadlines, and resources needed. Every action item should be assigned to a specific individual or team with clear expectations and accountability. Following are some examples of action items.

  • Develop a landing page to generate leads.
  • Hire a social media manager and a content director to execute the marketing strategy.
  • Train the staff on leveraging AI to gain more comprehensive insights from the collected data.
  • Secure funding for the marketing initiatives to promote the newly launched product line.
  • Create a new e-commerce store to support the strategy.

2. Timelines

Every task, action, or step requires a timeline to determine when it needs to be completed and by whom. The timeline should also be segmented into smaller time frames, and the expected progress at those specific points during strategy implementation should be listed as key milestones and deadlines. It is important to ensure that the timeline is realistic and achievable. While creating the timeline, you should also take into account any potential delays or unexpected roadblocks that may arise during the strategy execution.

  • Lead generation

Responsibility: Marketing Manager

Action item: Achieve 4000 new leads by the end of Q2

Steps and Timeline:

  • 1000 leads by the 30 April 2023
  • 2500 new leads by 31 May 2023
  • 4000 new leads by 30 June 2023
  • Hire new employees

Responsibility: HR Manager

Action item: Hire a social media manager and a content director in Q2

  • Write job descriptions with detailed roles and responsibilities – 20 Apr 2023
  • Add them to the list of openings on the ‘Career’ page on the corporate website – 27 Apr 2023
  • Communicate the requirements and invite applications through digital ads and Manpower site listings – 30 Apr 2023
  • Shortlist suitable candidates and schedule interviews – 15 May 2023
  • Assess the findings and select the right employees – 25 May 2023
  • Communicate with them and confirm their availability and willingness to join – 26 May 2023
  • Send offer letters to them – 31 May 2023
  • Onboard the new employees with an induction – 30 June 2023

3. Resource allocation

The strategy implementation plan should mention the resources needed to implement the strategy, including human resources, financial resources, equipment, infrastructure, and technology. The strategy implementation plan must ensure the allocation and availability of necessary resources for all the tasks at the appropriate times throughout the implementation process.

  • Q2 Marketing campaign – $100,000
  • Recruitment and onboarding of new employees – $50,000 for new employees
  • Technology training and upskilling employees – $25000
  • E-commerce Website and landing page development – $100,000

Personnel: Marketing team, Accounts team, HR team, IT team, and third-party consultants

Equipment: New computers and software for staff, marketing materials, new multi-channel campaign management software, and website hosting

4. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Strategy implementation requires careful monitoring and tracking of the progress toward the objectives. For that, you should identify the relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and key metrics to measure the success of the strategy implementation. These KPIs should be specific, measurable, and aligned with the overall objectives of the strategy. The plan should have target numbers to verify that the action items lead to desired outcomes.

  • Increase sales by 15%.
  • Achieve an increase in website traffic by 20%.
  • Increase customer satisfaction by 10%.
  • Boost social media engagement by 25%.

5. Communication plan

Strategy execution requires communication with various stakeholders at various points in time. So you need a communication plan to govern all the communication involved in strategy execution. It should inform all stakeholders about the strategy execution, including the goals, timelines, and progress updates. It should also describe the appropriate channels and frequency of communication throughout the implementation to continuously engage with the stakeholders.

  • Monthly progress updates to all employees
  • Quarterly progress reports to the executive team and board of directors
  • Fortnightly newsletters to customers
  • Social media updates thrice a week

6. Risk management plan

When a company is planning a strategic implementation, it must consider the risks involved in it and the challenges and problems that may arise during the implementation. So there is a need for a robust risk management plan to identify potential risks, assess their likelihood and impact, and develop strategies for mitigating them. It should also include a contingency plan as a backup in case of unexpected events. Planning should also include mechanisms to regularly monitor and address the risks throughout the implementation process.

Potential risk: Failure of the marketing campaign

Mitigation strategy: Conduct thorough market research and set up focus groups to test the campaign before launch.

Potential risk: Lack of adoption of a new technology

Mitigation strategy: Set goals for the company-wide adoption of the new technology using the OKR framework and set a deadline. Communicate it with the employees, update adoption data regularly on the OKR software, collect regular feedback through and provide training and support for staff to ensure successful adoption.

Potential risk: Lack of financial resources

Mitigation strategy: Develop a contingency plan to secure additional funding if necessary.

7. Monitoring and evaluation

It is imperative to monitor and evaluate strategy execution regularly to verify progress, identify problems, make adjustments, and ensure that the strategy execution is on track. The monitoring and evaluation process should be ongoing throughout the period of strategy implementation. So the strategy implementation plan should include a process for collecting and analyzing data. It should also mention the means to report progress to stakeholders.

  • Regular review of sales data to track progress toward KPIs
  • Comparing the number of leads generated with the sales conversion figures to identify the ratio of quality leads
  • Analysis of website traffic, number of leads generated, and social media engagement
  • Monthly surveys to measure customer satisfaction
  • Quarterly review of the budget to ensure proper allocation and utilization of resources

Strategy Implementation Plan: Frequently Asked Questions

1. what is a strategy implementation plan.

A strategy implementation plan is a detailed roadmap that clearly defines the steps and activities required to execute the strategy effectively. It provides businesses a framework for setting priorities, managing resources, and tracking progress toward achieving the desired strategic objectives. A well-crafted implementation plan enables businesses to execute the strategy in the most efficient and effective manner possible, increasing their chances of success.

2. What are the 5 steps of strategy implementation?

The five steps of strategic implementation include

  • Strategic Planning
  • Communicating the strategy
  • Aligning the organization
  • Strategy implementation
  • Monitoring and adapting

3. How do you write a strategy implementation plan?

  • Define specific goals and objectives.
  • Identify the tactics and initiatives needed to achieve those goals.
  • Ensure alignment with the strategic objectives.
  • Develop a timeline and budget for each initiative.
  • Assign responsibilities and establish performance metrics.
  • Assess risks and create a risk management plan.
  • Create a communication plan to communicate with stakeholders.
  • Continuously monitor progress and adjust the plan as needed.

Strategy implementation plan: Key takeaways

  • A great strategy is just a concept without a solid implementation plan.
  • A strategy implementation plan helps businesses turn their strategy into reality by breaking it down into specific tasks, assigning responsibilities, establishing timelines, and tracking progress.
  • A strategy implementation plan differs from a strategic plan, which focuses on defining the strategy and long-term goals.
  • Key components of a strategy implementation plan include action items, timelines, resource allocation, KPIs, communication plan, risk management plan, and monitoring and evaluation.

In recent years, the latest trends in strategy implementation have focused on agility, innovation, and digital transformation. Companies invest in technology to optimize processes, create cross-functional teams for collaborative decision-making, and prioritize customer-centricity.

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What is a Strategic Implementation Plan?

What can you get from making sip, the stages of strategic planning.

  • Analysis and evaluation – evaluation of the internal and external influences of an organization
  • Strategy articulation – development of organizational plans
  • Plan-based action – transformation of organizational plans into action
  • Appraisal and refinement – evaluation of the performance

How to Implement a Strategic Plan?

  • Determine the tactics used by your competitors and the demand of your consumers.
  • Secure a SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats)
  • Determine the steps you need to implement in fulfilling your mission.
  • Set specific goals.
  • Use your objectives to set for the development of your plan.
  • Write an organizational structure and your planned budget.
  • Evaluate if your objectives are met.
  • Determine the needs of your customers.
  • Assess your competitors
  • Think of what else you need in order to achieve your goals.

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What Is an Implementation Plan? (Template & Example Included)


What Is Project Implementation?

Project implementation, or project execution, is the process of completing tasks to deliver a project successfully. These tasks are initially described in the project plan, a comprehensive document that covers all areas of project management. However, a secondary action plan, known as an implementation plan, should be created to help team members and project managers better execute and track the project .

What Is an Implementation Plan?

An implementation plan is a document that describes the necessary steps for the execution of a project. Implementation plans break down the project implementation process by defining the timeline, the teams and the resources that’ll be needed.

implementation strategy for business plan

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Implementation Plan Template

Use this free Implementation Plan Template for Excel to manage your projects better.

Implementation Plan vs. Project Plan

A project plan is a comprehensive project management document that should describe everything about your project including the project schedule, project budget, scope management plan, risk management plan, stakeholder management plan and other important components. An implementation plan, on the other hand, is a simplified version of your project plan that includes only the information that’s needed by the team members who will actually participate in the project execution phase, such as their roles, responsibilities, daily tasks and deadlines.

Project management software like ProjectManager greatly simplifies the implementation planning process. Schedule and execute your implementation plan with our robust online Gantt charts. Assign work, link dependencies and track progress in real time with one chart. Plus, if your team wants to work with something other than a Gantt chart, our software offers four other project views for managing work: task lists, kanban boards, calendars and sheets. Try it for free today.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart is great for monitoring implementation plans

Key Steps In Project Implementation

Here are some of the key steps that you must oversee as a project manager during the project execution phase . Your project implementation plan should have the necessary components to help you achieve these steps.

1. Communicate Goals and Objectives

Once you’ve outlined the project goals and objectives, the next step is to ensure that the team understands them. For the project to succeed, there must be buy-in from the project team. A meeting is a good way to communicate this, though having project documents that they can refer to is also viable.

2. Define Team Roles and Responsibilities

The project manager will define the roles and responsibilities and communicate them to the project team . They should understand what they’re expected to do and who they can reach out to with questions about their work, all of which leads to a smooth-running project.

3. Establish the Success Criteria for Deliverables

The project deliverables need to meet quality standards, and to do this there must be a success criteria for handing off these deliverables. You want to have something in place to determine if the deliverable is what it’s supposed to be. The measurement is called a success criteria and it applies to any deliverable, whether it’s tangible or intangible.

4. Schedule Work on a Project Timeline

All projects require a schedule , which at its most basic is a start date and an end date for your project. In between those two points, you’ll have phases and tasks, which also have start and finish dates. To manage these deadlines, use a project timeline to visually map everything in one place.

5. Monitor Cost, Time and Performance

To make sure that you’re keeping to your schedule and budget, you need to keep a close eye on the project during the execution phase. Some of the things you should monitor are your costs, time and performance. Costs refer to your budget , time refers to your schedule and performance impacts both as well as quality. By keeping track of these metrics, you can make adjustments to stay on schedule and on budget.

6. Report to Project Stakeholders

While the project manager is monitoring the project, the stakeholders, who have a vested interest in the project, are also going to want to stay informed. To manage their expectations and show them that the project is hitting all its milestones, you’ll want to have project reports , such as project status reports. These can then be presented to the stakeholders regularly to keep them updated.

What Are the Key Components of an Implementation Plan?

There’s no standard one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to creating your implementation plan. However, we’ve created an implementation plan outline for your projects. Here are its components.

  • Project goals & objectives: The project goal is the ultimate goal of your project, while the objectives are the key milestones or achievements that must be completed to reach it.
  • Success criteria: The project manager must reach an agreement with stakeholders to define the project success criteria.
  • Project deliverables: Project deliverables are tangible or intangible outputs from project tasks.
  • Scope statement: The scope statement briefly describes your project scope, which can be simply defined as the project work to be performed.
  • Resource plan: Create a simple resource plan that outlines the human resources, equipment and materials needed for your project.
  • Risk analysis: Use a risk assessment tool like a SWOT analysis or risk register. There are different tools with different levels of detail for your risk analysis.
  • Implementation timeline: Any implementation plan needs a clear project timeline to be executed properly. You should use an advanced tool such as a Gantt chart to create one.
  • Implementation plan milestones: You need to identify key milestones of your implementation plan so that you can easily keep track of its progress.
  • Team roles & responsibilities: The implementation plan won’t execute itself. You’ll need to assign roles and responsibilities to your team members.
  • Implementation plan metrics: You’ll need KPIs, OKRs or any other performance metrics you can use to control the progress of your implementation plan.

Many of the key components listed above are included in our implementation plan template . Use this Excel file to define your strategy, scope, resource plan, timeline and more. It’s the ideal way to begin your implementation process. Download your template today.

Implementation plan template for Excel

How to Write an Implementation Plan

Follow these steps to create an implementation plan for your project or business. You can also consider using project management software like ProjectManager to help you with the implementation process.

1. Review Your Project Plan

Start by identifying what you’ll need for the execution of your implementation plan:

  • What teams need to be involved to achieve the strategic goals?
  • How long will it take to make the strategic goals happen?
  • What resources should be allocated ?

By interviewing stakeholders, key partners, customers and team members, you can determine the most crucial assignments needed and prioritize them accordingly. It’s also at this stage that you should list out all the goals you’re looking to achieve to cross-embed the strategic plan with the implementation plan. Everything must tie back to that strategic plan in order for your implementation plan to work.

2. Map Out Assumptions and Risks

This acts as an extension to the research and discovery phase, but it’s also important to point out assumptions and risks in your implementation plan. This can include anything that might affect the execution of the implementation plan, such as paid time off or holidays you didn’t factor into your timeline , budget constraints, losing personnel, market instability or even tools that require repair before your implementation can commence.

3. Identify Task Owners

Each activity in your implementation plan must include a primary task owner or champion to be the owner of it. For tasks to be properly assigned, this champion will need to do the delegating. This means that they ensure that all systems are working as per usual, keep track of their teams’ productivity and more. Project planning software is practically essential for this aspect.

4. Define Project Tasks

Next, you need to finalize all the little activities to round out your plan. Start by asking yourself the following questions:

  • What are the steps or milestones that make up the plan?
  • What are the activities needed to complete each step?
  • Who needs to be involved in the plan?
  • What are the stakeholder requirements?
  • What resources should be allocated?
  • Are there any milestones we need to list?
  • What are the risks involved based on the assumptions we notated?
  • Are there any dependencies for any of the tasks?

Once all activities are outlined, all resources are listed and all stakeholders have approved (but no actions have been taken just yet), you can consider your implementation plan complete and ready for execution.

Implementation Plan Example

Implementation plans are used by companies across industries on a daily basis. Here’s a simple project implementation plan example we’ve created using ProjectManager to help you better understand how implementation plans work. Let’s imagine a software development team is creating a new app.

  • Project goal: Create a new app
  • Project objectives: All the project deliverables that must be achieved to reach that ultimate goal.
  • Success criteria: The development team needs to communicate with the project stakeholders and agree upon success criteria.
  • Scope statement: Here’s where the development team will document all the work needed to develop the app. That work is broken down into tasks, which are known as user stories in product and software development. Here, the team must also note all the exceptions, which means everything that won’t be done.
  • Resource plan: In this case, the resources are all the professionals involved in the software development process, as well as any equipment needed by the team.
  • Risk analysis: Using a risk register, the product manager can list all the potential risks that might affect the app development process.
  • Timeline, milestones and metrics: Here’s an image of an implementation plan timeline we created using ProjectManager’s Gantt chart view. The diamond symbols represent the implementation plan milestones.
  • Team roles & responsibilities: Similarly, we used a kanban board to assign implementation plan tasks to team members according to their roles and responsibilities.

Benefits of an Implementation Plan for the Project Implementation Process

The implementation plan plays a large role in the success of your overall strategic plan. But more than that, communicating both your strategic plan and the implementation of it therein to your team members helps them feel as if they have a sense of ownership within the company’s long-term direction.

Increased Cooperation

An implementation plan that’s well communicated also helps to increase cooperation across all teams through all the steps of the implementation process. It’s easy to work in a silo—you know exactly what your daily process is and how to execute it. But reaching across the aisle and making sure your team is aligned on the project goals that you’re also trying to meet? That’s another story entirely. With an implementation plan in place, it helps to bridge the divide just a little easier.

Additionally, with an implementation plan that’s thoroughly researched and well-defined, you can ensure buy-in from stakeholders and key partners involved in the project. And no matter which milestone you’re at, you can continue to get that buy-in time and time again with proper documentation.

At the end of the day, the biggest benefit of an implementation plan is that it makes it that much easier for the company to meet its long-term goals. When everyone across all teams knows exactly what you want to accomplish and how to do it, it’s easy to make it happen.

Implementation Plan FAQ

There’s more to know about implementation plans. It’s a big subject and we’ve tried to be thorough as possible, but if you have any further questions, hopefully we’ve answered them below.

What Is the Difference Between an Action Plan and an Implementation Plan?

The main difference between an action plan and an implementation plan is that an action plan focuses exclusively on describing work packages and tasks, while the implementation plan is more holistic and addresses other variables that affect the implementation process such as risks, resources and team roles & responsibilities.

What Is an Implementation Plan in Business?

A business implementation plan is the set of steps that a company follows to execute its strategic plan and achieve all the business goals that are described there.

What Is an Implementation Plan in Project Management?

Implementation plans have many uses in project management. They’re a planning tool that allows project managers to control smaller projects within their project plan. For example, they might need an implementation plan to execute risk mitigation actions, change requests or produce specific deliverables.

How to Make an Implementation Plan With ProjectManager

Creating and managing an implementation plan is a huge responsibility and one that requires diligence, patience and great organizational skills.

When it comes to a project implementation plan, there are many ways to make one that’s best suited for your team. With ProjectManager , you get access to both agile and waterfall planning so you can plan in sprints for large or small projects, track issues and collaborate easily. Try kanban boards for managing backlogs or for making workflows in departments.

A screenshot of the Kanban board project view

Switching up the activities after a milestone meeting with stakeholders? You can easily update your implementation plan with our software features. Add new tasks, set due dates, and track how far along your team is on their current activities.

Implementation plans are the backbone of an organization’s strategic overall plan. With ProjectManager, give your organization the project management software they need to gain insight into all resources needed, view activities on their lists and collaborate with ease. Sign up for our free 30-day trial today.

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The Strategy Story

Strategy Implementation: Process, Models & Example

implementation strategy for business plan

Strategy implementation is the process where strategies and methods are put into action to fulfill an organization’s objectives, goals, and mission. This step comes after the strategic planning and decision-making process.

What is a Business Strategy? What are examples of business strategy?

Strategy Implementation Models

There are many different models and frameworks that can be used to guide the process of strategy implementation. Here are a few of the most commonly used models:

  • Balanced Scorecard:  Developed by Robert Kaplan and David Norton, this model uses a balanced set of financial and non-financial metrics to measure performance. It considers four perspectives: financial performance, customer knowledge, internal business processes, and learning and growth.
  • McKinsey 7S Framework:  This model emphasizes the importance of coordinating seven key organizational elements for successful implementation: structure, strategy, systems, staff, style, skills, and shared values.
  • Kotter’s 8-Step Change Model:  Although not a strategy-specific implementation model, John Kotter’s model is widely used in strategic change scenarios. The eight steps include creating a sense of urgency, forming a guiding coalition, creating a vision for change, communicating the vision, removing obstacles, creating short-term wins, building on the change, and anchoring the change in corporate culture.
  • OKR (Objectives and Key Results):  This goal-setting framework helps organizations implement the strategy by defining objectives and tracking measurable results.
  • OGSM (Objectives, Goals, Strategies, Measures):  This model provides a clear and visual structure to help organizations align their strategies with operational actions and expected outcomes.
  • PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act):  This iterative four-step management method is used in businesses to control and continuously improve processes and products.
  • Strategy Map:  A strategy map is a visual tool designed to communicate a strategic plan and achieve high-level business goals.

The best model for any given organization will depend on the nature of the organization, the specific strategies being implemented, and the context in which they operate.

Strategy Implementation Process

The strategy implementation process is a complex process that involves turning strategic plans into actions and then measuring the effectiveness of those actions in achieving the organization’s goals. Although it can vary based on specific models and business environments, a typical strategy implementation process may include the following steps:

  • Developing an Implementation Plan:  The first step in the process is to develop a detailed plan for implementing the strategy. This plan should clearly outline the tasks that need to be accomplished, who is responsible for each task, when each task needs to be completed, and what resources are required.
  • Resource Allocation:  Resources need to be efficiently allocated to support the strategy. This could involve financial resources, human resources, materials, or time. It’s also important to ensure that the organization can implement the strategy.
  • Organizational Structure Adjustments:  Sometimes, the existing organizational structure may need to be modified or redesigned to support the strategic goals. This could involve changes in roles, responsibilities, reporting lines, etc.
  • Strategy Communication:  It’s important to communicate the strategy across the organization. All employees should understand the strategy, their role in it, and how their work contributes to strategic objectives.
  • Employee Training and Development:  Employees may need new skills or knowledge to carry out their roles under the new strategy. This might require training, mentoring, or hiring new staff.
  • Performance Management:  Set clear performance standards and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to monitor progress toward strategic objectives. Regularly review performance and provide feedback.
  • Leadership and Management Support:  Leaders and managers should commit to the strategy, set a good example, and motivate their teams.
  • Review and Adjust:  Strategy implementation is not a one-time activity. Regularly review progress and make necessary adjustments. This might involve changing aspects of the strategy, altering the implementation plan, or reallocating resources.

Strategy implementation can be challenging, but following a structured process can increase the chances of success. Remember that effective strategy implementation requires a long-term commitment and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

Strategy Implementation Example

Let’s look at an example of a company implementing a new strategy. This example is hypothetical and simplified but gives a basic idea of the process.

Company ABC, a retail business, has decided to implement a new strategy of focusing more on e-commerce sales to adapt to the increasing trend of online shopping. Here’s how they could implement this strategy:

  • Develop an Implementation Plan:  ABC creates a detailed plan with objectives such as developing a user-friendly online shopping platform, increasing the online product range, and implementing digital marketing campaigns.
  • Resource Allocation:  ABC allocates funds for website development, digital marketing, and e-commerce logistics. They also allocate personnel resources, assigning teams to manage the new online shopping platform, customer service, and digital marketing.
  • Organizational Structure Adjustments:  ABC modifies its organizational structure, establishing a new e-commerce department and hiring a Head of E-commerce.
  • Strategy Communication:  ABC’s CEO communicates the new strategy to all employees through a town hall meeting. They explain the strategic shift, its reasons, and how it affects different parts of the organization.
  • Employee Training and Development:  ABC arranges training programs for its customer service and sales teams to help them adapt to the new e-commerce environment. They also hire new staff with digital marketing and e-commerce experience.
  • Performance Management:  ABC sets KPIs related to online sales volume, website traffic, and customer satisfaction rates. They introduce a performance dashboard to track these metrics.
  • Leadership and Management Support:  ABC’s management team fully supports the new strategy. They lead by example, show enthusiasm and commitment, and regularly update staff on progress.
  • Review and Adjust:  After the first quarter, ABC reviews the results. They see an increase in online sales, but customer feedback indicates some issues with the new online platform. ABC takes this feedback and makes necessary adjustments, enhancing the website’s user interface and fixing technical bugs.

This example demonstrates the importance of planning, resource allocation, organizational adjustments, communication, and ongoing review in the strategy implementation process. It’s also worth noting that even well-planned strategies may need adjustments based on feedback and performance results.

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The Strategy of Business Plan with Implementation Summary

MAR.27, 2015

Strategy of Business Plan

The business plan is written and ready for implementation. Now what? As a guide for action, the strategy and implementation summary in business plan sets out the strategies for business startup and continuity, and presents the operational financial plan. Planning and taking action are two very different activities. Once the entrepreneur begins implementing the business in the real world, challenges are sure to arise.

The strategy and implementation summary in the business plan section of the business plan identifies the path the business intends on using to establish and grow the business. It includes strategies identifying how the business will maintain a competitive edge, market the company, grow sales, develop a network of contacts and customers, and so on. Milestones are established that include the budget for implementation of each step. However, entrepreneurs commonly encounter difficulties, which is why so many new businesses fail within the first five years after startup.

The Strategy of Business Plan with Implementation Summary

Planning for the Difficulties

Common difficulties business owners face and possible solutions include the following:

• Problems with development of products described in the strategy and implementation summary in business plan (reorganize to better support product development) • Difficulty hiring and retaining skilled personnel (try using a human resources consulting company) • Marketing efforts fail to produce desired results (revise the marketing plan ) • Funding for strategy implementation proves to be inadequate (re-evaluate financial needs, revise strategies, and/or seek new investors) • Entrepreneur discovers he or she needs to strengthen management skills (take advantage of workshops and assistance offered by organizations like the Small Business Administration and the Chamber of Commerce) • New and unexpected competitors enter the market (revise product and service differentiation or marketing strategy) • Lack of a solid network (begin networking online through social media and offline through community business organizations)

These are just a few of the problems entrepreneurs may face when starting a new business. A quality strategy and implementation summary in business plan addresses strategy and implementation by outlining the strategic assumptions, supported by market analysis. If the analysis is thorough, the entrepreneur conducted a SWOT analysis and included contingency planning. An entrepreneur may experience difficulties, but those difficulties should not be a surprise.

Business Plan Revisions

The final business plan should never be final. It needs regular review and assessment in light of the results of actions taken and the difficulties experienced to achieve business startup, smooth operations, and growth.

The business environment is dynamic which is why OGS Capital has a cadre of business professionals with real-world experience. The consultants are experts in writing business plans , including strategy and implementation summaries. They are also ready to assist entrepreneurs who need business plan revisions as a result of difficulties encountered during startup and early stage operation. Submit the online contact form to begin discussing options.

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A&A Strategy Implementation Plan 3 2023 Draft

A&A Strategy Implementation Plan 3 2023 draft


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