Initiation and Planning – setting up for success

The theory behind project management and software delivery at Alcidion is well documented to ensure we take a consistent and proven approach to our client engagement.  Let us look at some practical activities that Alcidion encourages during the Initiation phase of an engagement to set our clients and ourselves up for success.

As part of our methodology, Alcidion complete a formal internal kick off meeting and a kick off session with our client. This formal start to an engagement sets mutual expectations ensuring scope is well understood.

Along with the standard project management scope, schedule, risk and issues analysis and communication planning, other activities are progressed:

Resourcing –Alcidion completes a Project Based Objectives template for each internal team member to ensure our roles and responsibilities are clear. This allows us to understand which resources are required for the project, when they will be involved and to confirm that all resources understand the project and their role.

Installation – We aim to install the product into the environment (client or Alcidion depending on the agreed infrastructure) as early as possible. This provides confidence in the infrastructure and enables early visibility of baseline installs to provide a reference point for the design activities during the initiation phase.

Planning – Often clients and vendors are so focused on just getting in and getting it done, that we do not stop and spend the necessary time planning. At Alcidion we recommend an implementation planning study is completed as a first step. Alcidion’s products lend themselves to collaborative design and implementation, so we encourage time is spent understanding how to best support the client teams with their use of our software.

Workshops – Alcidion conduct multiple workshops with our clients during the planning phase, tailored to the product modules to be implemented. These include a product overview and working through configuration options.  The aim is to source as much information as possible. Questionnaires are provided to elicit information and drive design discussion in the workshops. We want to support and improve our client workflows and our comprehensive system capabilities enable this to be done iteratively.

Data, data, data – The sooner Alcidion’s implementation teams gain access to the client’s data to assist in migration and integration the better. Sample messages are good but access to test and production data as early as possible drive those planning discussions around specific data and integration approaches.

Lessons Learned – We actively review and update our lessons learned register. We consult with other members of the global services team who have implemented similar projects to ensure we continue to improve our delivery. This includes ongoing review of lessons learned between Alcidion and the client as a theme throughout the implementation.

Some top tips for our Clients

Here are additional considerations for our clients to address during the initiation phase to ensure implementation of our products provides safe, meaningful and impactful change for clinicians and patients.

  • Have you identified a project sponsor and clinical champion?
  • Do you have a governance framework in place or does this need to be defined?
  • Are your resources ready and available for planning?
  • Are the project team resources on board?
  • Have clinical leaders and subject matter experts been identified to drive and be the decision makers? Initiation and Planning is one of the most resource rich and impactful, phases of any project.
  • Are you ready to ensure there is engagement across all levels of the organisation for kick off both internally and with Alcidion?
  • Are the processes in place to embed the transitional change in the organisation from the start? This won’t be just a technical IT project!
  • Are your requirements well defined and understood across the organisation? This will ensure we can meet your needs and can achieve consensus early on what we are delivering.
  • Do you have your current state processes and workflows well documented to assist building best practice future state?
  • Be clear and communicate the objectives and benefits to clinicians and their patients early – check our case studies Evidence based Project Management and Great Software Projects are ineffective without Good Implementation.

And finally, a key element to be communicated to all staff during an Alcidion implementation is that go-live is just another step in our relationship. Improvements continue to be made to enhance care, as the products are better understood by those using them and adoption is progressed. As more data is captured, we can move to increasing the use of the data to assist in clinical decision workflows.

These are just a few practical areas that Alcidion recommends in our Initiation phases, so our products are delivered efficiently and effectively to improve the working life of our front-line staff and improve the lives of patients and the communities we live in!

Renee Schofield is a Senior Project Manager at Alcidion