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What is an implementation plan? 6 steps to create one

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An implementation plan—also known as a strategic plan—outlines the steps your team should take when accomplishing a shared goal or objective. This plan combines strategy, process, and action and will include all parts of the project from scope to budget and beyond. In this guide, we’ll discuss what an implementation plan is and how to create one.

Projects require planning to be successful. Would you build a house without a blueprint? Probably not, because nailing pieces of wood together without a plan could lead to disaster. The same concept is true in the corporate world. An implementation plan functions as the blueprint for any shared objective. Your plan should include everything from the project strategy, to the budget, to the list of people working on the project. 

In this guide, we’ll discuss what an implementation plan is and how to create one. These steps can help you and your team prepare for projects both big and small.

What is the purpose of an implementation plan?

The purpose of an implementation plan is to ensure that your team can answer the who, what, when, how, and why of a project before moving into the execution phase. In simple terms, it's the action plan that turns your strategy into specific tasks.

What is an implementation plan?

A good way to know whether your implementation plan is effective is to hand it to someone outside of your team and see if they can understand the project in its entirety. Your implementation plan should leave no questions unanswered.

How to create an implementation plan in 6 steps

If you want your implementation plan to be comprehensive and beneficial to your project team, you’ll need to follow specific steps and include the right components. Use the following steps when creating your plan to reduce the risk of gaps in your strategy.

How to develop an implementation plan

1. Define goals

The first step in the implementation process is defining your goals . Determine what you hope to accomplish when your project is complete, like whether you hope to win over a new marketing client or revamp your internal content strategy. Starting with your project objectives in mind can help flesh out your project plan. 

Tips to consider:

Ask questions: When defining your goals, you and your team may want to ask questions about your project such as, “What are we trying to achieve with this project? What deliverables do we hope to produce? Who are the stakeholders we plan to share our project deliverables with?”

Brainstorm risk scenarios: Although you’ll perform a more in-depth risk assessment later on in your implementation plan, brainstorming potential risk scenarios early on gives you a more realistic idea of what you’re able to achieve. 

2. Conduct research

Once you have a broad idea of the project goals you want to achieve, you can hone in on these goals by conducting research such as interviews, surveys, focus groups, or observations. Your research should come from key experts in your field. These experts may be team members or external stakeholders. Your research outcomes should include a list of what your project timeline, budget, and personnel may look like.

Collaborate using shared tools: Collaboration is easier when you have the right communication tools in place to do so. Use a team collaboration tool to share your project goals and get feedback from others, regardless of their location. 

3. Map out risks

You brainstormed risk scenarios in step one of your implementation strategy, and in step three, you’ll map out all the potential risks you may face in your project. Risks can include anything from paid time off and holidays to budget constraints and loss of personnel. 

A great way to map out your risks is by using a risk register. This tool will help you prioritize project risks and prepare for them accordingly. You can also conduct a SWOT analysis , which will identify any weaknesses or threats affecting your project. 

Be flexible and proactive: Mapping out risks is more than just a preparation strategy. If you identify preventable risks during this stage of the implementation plan, you can take action to prevent those risks. This may mean adjusting your initial project goals. 

4. Schedule milestones

Scheduling your project milestones is an important step in the planning process because these checkpoints help you track your progress during execution. Milestones serve as metrics—they are a way to measure how far you’ve come in your project and how far you have left to go. 

To visualize project milestones and keep your entire team on track, use a Gantt chart . With a Gantt chart, you can visually lay out your implementation schedule and show how long you think each task will take.

Add wiggle room: Things don’t always go as planned, even if you do everything in your power to a schedule. By adding wiggle room to your schedule, you can ensure your project stays on track instead of keeping tight milestones and failing to meet them.

Clarify dependencies: Dependencies are tasks that rely on the completion of other tasks. Clarifying your dependencies makes it easier to keep the project on track and hit your milestones.

5. Assign responsibilities and tasks

Every action plan must include a list of responsibilities with team members assigned to each one. By assigning responsibilities, you can assess the performance of each team member and monitor progress more closely. Using a RACI chart can be an effective project management tool for clarifying roles and responsibilities. 

Assigning responsibilities is different from assigning individual tasks. One team member may be responsible for overseeing the project review, while you may assign three other team members to handle the delivery and communication of the project to various teams for review. When you assign responsibilities and tasks, be sure to make your expectations clear. 

Communication is key: When you assign roles, responsibilities, or tasks, it’s best to communicate why you’re choosing one team member over another. Instead of letting team members question why they have specific roles, you can use this step in the planning process as an opportunity to highlight team member strengths.

Track responsibilities in a shared tool: Having a shared tool, like project management software, can give team members clarity on who's doing what and by when.

6. Allocate resources

Resource allocation is one of the best ways to reduce risk. If you can plan out what resources you need for your project and ensure those resources will be available, you’ll avoid the risk of running out of resources mid-project. If you notice that you don’t have enough resources in this step of the implementation process, you can adjust your project accordingly before it kicks off. 

Resources may include money, personnel, software, equipment, and other physical or technical materials. Time can also be a resource because the team members you need to complete the project may be working on other projects.

Tips to consider: Ask yourself the following questions when identifying available resources for your project: 

What is the project’s priority level? 

Who is available to work on this project? 

What budget or tools are available? 

What additional resources do we need? 

Who needs to approve the resource allocation plan?

Following these steps as you create your implementation plan will increase the likelihood of hitting your project goals. Having a checklist of the items to include in your implementation plan can also lead to successful implementation. 

What to include in an implementation plan

Knowing how to create your implementation plan is crucial, but you also need to know what to include in your plan. This checklist includes the six most important items you’ll want to consider if you want to move forward with a successful project. 

Implementation plan checklist

1. Objectives

You’ll outline your project objectives in step one of the implementation process. Set your goals and decide what metrics your team will use to measure to monitor progress. By clearly identifying your project objectives, you and your team can measure progress and performance as you move forward.

2. Scope statement

You’ll set the scope of your project in step two when conducting research. Your project scope statement should outline the boundaries you’ve set for your project and broadly define what goals, deadlines, and project outcomes you’ll be working toward. Defining your project scope in the implementation plan can help prevent scope creep when you’re farther along in the project.

3. Outline of deliverables

Deliverables are the tangible goals of your project. Outlining the deliverables you hope to create can serve as a resource when managing time frames, delegating tasks, and allocating resources. 

4. Task due dates

Although the project timeline may change as your project progresses, it’s important to clarify your expected due dates during implementation planning. When you estimate task due dates, you can schedule milestones around these due dates and plan for project completion. You will commonly see Gantt charts used for strategic planning and implementation planning. This is because Gantt charts display information in a follows a linear path, similar to a timeline. 

5. Risk assessment

You’ll conduct your risk assessment in step three of the implementation process. Whether you use a   risk register , SWOT analysis , or contingency plan to identify risks , be sure to include these documents in your plan. That way, others involved in the project can look through your findings and potentially help you prevent these risks. 

6. Team member roles and responsibilities

You assigned roles and responsibilities to team members in step five of your plan, and keeping a detailed record of what these are can hold everyone accountable. Whether you use a RACI chart or another tool to clarify team member roles, there should be a place in your plan for everyone to refer to in case questions arise. 

Your implementation plan will likely be unique to the project you're working on, so it may include other components not listed above. However, you can use the six items above as your guide so you know your plan is comprehensive.

Many aspects of project implementation overlap with strategic planning. As a project manager , working on the project implementation plan while you are also working on the strategic plan can help minimize the total time spent on planning.

Another way to save time during the planning process is to house all of your plans in a work management platform. When your project team is ready to start the implementation process, everything is in one convenient place.

Benefits of having an implementation plan

There are many benefits to implementation planning, with the top benefit being an increased chance of project success. Implementing a project plan creates a roadmap for executing your project so you can prevent issues from occurring. 

Other benefits to having an implementation plan include:

Improved communication between team members and key stakeholders

Better organization and management of resources

Increased accountability for everyone involved in the project

More structured project timeline and daily workflow

Easier collaboration between team members

Going straight into the execution phase without an implementation plan may feel like walking on stage to give a speech without knowing what you’re going to say. Preparation is key for top-notch performance. 

Simplify implementation planning

Knowing the steps for implementation planning is the foundation of project management. A well-planned project leads to a successful project.

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18 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write Your Own

Clifford Chi

Published: December 01, 2022

Reading sample business plans is essential when you’re writing your own. As you explore business plan examples from real companies and brands, you’ll learn how to write one that gets your business off on the right foot, convinces investors to provide funding, and ensures your venture is sustainable for the long term.

Business plan sample: Image shows a hand writing a plan and a notepad.

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But what does a business plan look like? And how do you write one that is viable and convincing? Let's review the ideal business plan formal, then take a look at business plan samples you can use to inspire your own.

Business Plan Format

Ask any successful sports coach how they win so many games, and they’ll tell you they have a unique plan for every single game. The same logic applies to business. If you want to build a thriving company that can pull ahead of the competition, you need to prepare for battle before breaking into a market.

Business plans guide you along the rocky journey of growing a company. Referencing one will keep you on the path toward success. And if your business plan is compelling enough, it can also convince investors to give you funding.

With so much at stake, you might be wondering, "Where do I start? How should I format this?"

Typically, a business plan is a document that will detail how a company will achieve its goals.

Free Business Plan Template

Fill out the form to get your free template..

Most business plans include the following sections:

1. Executive Summary

The executive summary is arguably the most important section of the entire business plan. Essentially, it's the overview or introduction, written in a way to grab readers' attention and guide them through the rest of the business plan (which may be dozens or hundreds of pages long).

Most executive summaries include:

However, many of these topics will be covered in more detail later on in the business plan, so keep the executive summary clear and brief, including only the most important take-aways.

If you’re planning to start or expand a small business, preparing a business plan is still very crucial. The plan should include all the major factors of your business. You can check out this small business pdf to get an idea of how to create one for your business.

business plan sample: Executive Summary Example
  • What demographics will most likely need/buy your product or service?
  • What are the psychographics of this audience? (Desires, triggering events, etc.)
  • Why are your offerings valuable to them?

It can be helpful to build a buyer persona to get in the mindset of your ideal customers and be crystal clear on why you're targeting them.

5. Marketing Strategy

Here, you'll discuss how you'll acquire new customers with your marketing strategy. You might consider including information on:

  • The brand positioning vision and how you'll cultivate it
  • The goal targets you aim to achieve
  • The metrics you'll use to measure success
  • The channels and distribution tactics you'll use

It can help to already have a marketing plan built out to help you inform this component of your business plan.

6. Key Features and Benefits

At some point in your business plan, you'll review the key features and benefits of your products and/or services. Laying these out can give readers an idea of how you're positioning yourself in the market and the messaging you're likely to use . It can even help them gain better insight into your business model.

7. Pricing and Revenue

This is where you'll discuss your cost structure and various revenue streams. Your pricing strategy must be solid enough to turn a profit while staying competitive in the industry. For this reason, you might outline:

  • The specific pricing breakdowns per product or service
  • Why your pricing is higher or lower than your competition's
  • (If higher) Why customers would be willing to pay more
  • (If lower) How you're able to offer your products or services at a lower cost
  • When you expect to break even, what margins do you expect, etc?

8. Financials

This section is particularly informative for investors and leadership teams to determine funding strategies, investment opportunities, etc. According to Forbes , you'll want to include three main things:

  • Profit/Loss Statement - This answers the question of whether your business is currently profitable.
  • Cash Flow Statement - This details exactly how much cash is incoming and outgoing to provide insight into how much cash a business has on hand.
  • Balance Sheet - This outlines assets, liabilities, and equity, which gives insight into how much a business is worth.

While some business plans might include more or less information, these are the key details you'll want to include.

Keep in mind that each of these sections will be formatted differently. Some may be in paragraph format, while others will be in charts.

Sample Business Plan Templates

Now that you know what's included and how to format a business plan, let's review some templates.

1. HubSpot's One-Page Business Plan

Download a free, editable one-page business plan template..

The business plan linked above was created here at HubSpot and is perfect for businesses of any size — no matter how many strategies we still have to develop.

Fields such as Company Description, Required Funding, and Implementation Timeline gives this one-page business plan a framework for how to build your brand and what tasks to keep track of as you grow. Then, as the business matures, you can expand on your original business plan with a new iteration of the above document.

Why We Like It

This one-page business plan is a fantastic choice for the new business owner who doesn’t have the time or resources to draft a full-blown business plan. It includes all the essential sections in an accessible, bullet-point-friendly format. That way, you can get the broad strokes down before honing in on the details.

2. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

Sample business plan: hubspot free editable pdf

One of the major business expenses is marketing. How you handle your marketing reflects your company’s revenue. We included this business plan to show you how you can ensure your marketing team is aligned with your overall business plan to get results. The plan also shows you how to track even the smallest metrics of your campaigns, like ROI and payback periods instead of just focusing on big metrics like gross and revenue.

Fintech startup, LiveFlow, allows users to sync real-time data from its accounting services, payment platforms, and banks into custom reports. This eliminates the task of pulling reports together manually, saving teams time and helping automate workflows.

When it came to including marketing strategy into its business plan, LiveFlow created a separate marketing profit and loss statement (P&L) to track how well the company was doing with its marketing initiatives. This is a great approach, allowing businesses to focus on where their marketing dollars are making the most impact.

“Using this framework over a traditional marketing plan will help you set a profitable marketing strategy taking things like CAC, LTV, Payback period, and P&L into consideration,” explains LiveFlow co-founder, Lasse Kalkar .

Having this information handy will enable you to build out your business plan’s marketing section with confidence. LiveFlow has shared the template here . You can test it for yourself.

2. Lula Body

Business plan example: Lula body

This fictional business plan for an art supply store includes everything one might need in a business plan: an executive summary, a company summary, a list of services, a market analysis summary, and more. Due to its comprehensiveness, it’s an excellent example to follow if you’re opening a brick-and-mortar store and need to get external funding to start your business .

One of its most notable sections is its market analysis summary, which includes an overview of the population growth in the business’ target geographical area, as well as a breakdown of the types of potential customers they expect to welcome at the store. This sort of granular insight is essential for understanding and communicating your business’s growth potential. Plus, it lays a strong foundation for creating relevant and useful buyer personas .

It’s essential to keep this information up-to-date as your market and target buyer changes. For that reason, you should carry out market research as often as possible to ensure that you’re targeting the correct audience and sharing accurate information with your investors.

6. Curriculum Companion Suites (CSS)

business plan examples: curriculum companion suites

If you’re looking for a SaaS business plan example, look no further than this business plan for a fictional educational software company called Curriculum Companion Suites. Like the business plan for the NALB Creative Center, it includes plenty of information for prospective investors and other key stakeholders in the business.

One of the most notable features of this business plan is the executive summary, which includes an overview of the product, market, and mission. The first two are essential for software companies because the product offering is so often at the forefront of the company’s strategy. Without that information being immediately available to investors and executives, then you risk writing an unfocused business plan.

It’s also essential to front-load your company’s mission if it explains your “Why?” In other words, why do you do what you do, and why should stakeholders care? This is an important section to include if you feel that your mission will drive interest in the business and its offerings.

7. Culina Sample Business Plan

sample business plan: Culina

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From Strategy to Execution: How to Create a Sustainable, Repeatable Implementation Plan

Smartsheet Contributor Kate Eby

December 14, 2017

In this article, you’ll learn the fundamental elements of a strategic implementation process, and how you can create a comprehensive implementation plan. We’ve also included free, downloadable implementation plan templates to get you started. 

Included on this page, you’ll find the components of an implementation plan , how to write an implementation plan , and tools for successful implementation planning .

What Is an Implementation Strategy?

An implementation strategy is based on a strategic plan , which defines the strategy used to accomplish certain goals or make decisions. Organizations can make strategic plans to guide organizational direction, a particular department’s efforts, or any project or initiative.

Implementation strategy is the process of defining how to bring the strategic plan to life. To execute the objectives outlined in the strategic plan, you must define how you will implement each aspect, from funding and personnel to organization and deliverables. Therefore, without an implementation strategy, it can be difficult to identify how you will achieve each of your stated goals and objectives. 

Ray McKenzie

Ray McKenzie is the Founder and Managing Director of Red Beach Advisors . He breaks down the differences between strategy, implementation, and execution: “Implementation planning is the act of developing a tactical plan to complete a strategic initiative. Strategy is the overarching plan to move the organization, department, or project forward. Implementation is the act of putting the strategy into place utilizing resources within an organization or department. Execution is completing the tasks as part of the implementation plan to complete the strategic initiative through resources of the organized team.”

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What Is the Strategic Implementation Process?

The strategic implementation process refers to the concrete steps that you take to turn your strategic plan into action. The implementation tactics you use and steps you take will depend on the specific undertaking, organization, and goals.

A strategic implementation plan (SIP) is the document that you use to define your implementation strategy. Typically, it outlines the resources, assumptions, short- and long-term outcomes, roles and responsibilities, and budget. (Later on, we’ll show you how to create one.) An SIP is often integrated with an execution plan , but the two are distinct. 

The SIP outlines the activities and decisions necessary to turn the strategic goals into reality, and the execution plan is a schedule of concrete actions and activities to achieve goals and drive success. You can consider your strategy “implemented” once you determine that you have the requisite resources to meet your strategic needs, but you haven’t “executed” until you’ve actually taken action and achieved objectives. You can read more about the differences between strategy, implementation, and execution in this article by the Harvard Business Review . 

The strategic implementation process is often compared to the following activities:

Jen Hancock

Jennifer Hancock is the author of several books and Founder of Humanist Learning Systems , an organization that provides online personal and professional development training in humanistic business management, along with science-based harassment training. She describes the difference between organizational and implementation planning: “Organizational planning is the structure of the organization: What work needs to be done? How does it relate to the other work that needs to be done? Who is responsible for getting it done? How are the parts of the organization going to work together to accomplish shared objectives? Implementation planning has to do with specific projects and processes. For instance, an organization may have an HR department — that is, organizational planning. Implementation is when the HR department rolls out a new set of benefits or a new health care plan.”

Organizational Change Management

‌ Download Organizational Change Management Plan

Change Management Process Template

Download Change Management Process Template

Why Implementation Is Important

Implementation planning largely determines project success because without it, your strategic goals remain unactionable. Therefore, implementation is the necessary step that transforms your strategic plans into action to achieve your goals. 

There are many examples where implementation planning heightens project success. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that companies with an implementation and execution plan saw 70 percent greater returns. 

McKenzie says that implementation planning is critical to project success. “This is the stage which allows the planned strategy to be executed,” he says. “The primary benefits to implementation and implementation planning are the abilities to outline the tasks needed to complete the project, identify the personnel and resources needed, and document the timeline for project completion to ensure you’re meeting the strategic goals.”

Hancock agrees. “If you don’t implement your plan — you don’t get anything done,” she says. “So, implementation is crucial. [Even] if you have the best plan in the world, it’s totally irrelevant if you don’t put the plan into action,” she adds.

Fiona Adler

Fiona Adler writes about entrepreneurship at DoTheThings.com and is the Founder of Actioned.com , a productivity tool for individuals and teams. With an MBA, multiple business successes, and a family living in a foreign country, she enjoys pushing the envelope to get the most out of life and loves helping others do the same. Adler explains that implementation is often more crucial than the strategy itself. She says, “In my opinion, implementation is far more important than strategic planning. After all, it doesn't matter if you have the best plan in the world. All that really matters is what you end up doing!”

The practice of implementation planning is also important in some of today’s organizational shifts. Most notably, implementation plays a part in the current shift from reactionary to strategic companies — in other words, organizations that plan for change and adaptation rather than react to it. Additionally, implementation supports the movement toward employee-oriented organizations, which it does by valuing communication, encouraging mutually-supported goals, and emphasizing accountability. Implementation planning is necessarily a human (and team) endeavor and making it a part of your daily processes helps ensure collaboration, trust, and transparency among project team members all the way up to C-suite management. 

What Is the Implementation Plan of a Project?

Implementation plans are commonly used for discrete projects, technology deployment within a company, and inventory planning. You can also create an implementation plan for personal use if it will help you organize and take actionable steps toward your goal(s).

A project implementation plan is the plan that you create to successfully move your project plan into action. This document identifies your goals and objectives (both short and long-term), lists the project tasks, defines roles and responsibilities, outlines the budget and necessary resources, and lists any assumptions. A project implementation plan sometimes includes a rough schedule, but teams usually set the hard timeline in the execution plan. 

In the following sections, we’ll delve deeper into each component of an implementation plan and show you how to write your own. 

Components of an Implementation Plan

The following are the key components of and questions that drive a successful implementation plan:

In the following section, we’ll break down each element of a successful implementation plan to show you how to write one yourself. 

How to Write an Implementation Plan

Implementation plans are split into sections. Each section should be detailed, combining the information from your strategic plan and incorporating the necessary research and data to make your objectives actionable. Here’s how to write each component in an implementation plan:

To make it easy, you can also use a template to write your implementation plan. This will ensure that you don’t overlook any steps or sections and also provide a professional layout that you can use to deliver to management, clients, or other stakeholders. Download the template for free, and edit the fields to fit the needs of your specific project  — for example, for enterprise resource planning (ERP) . 

business plan and implementation example

‌ Download Project Implementation Plan Template - Word

Software deployment is another common category of initiative that merits an implementation plan. Use the following template to create a software and systems implementation plan. 

business plan and implementation example

‌ Download Software Systems Implementation Plan Template - Word

Implementation Planning Best Practices

Although you should include all the detailed aspects listed above in your implementation plan, simply having all these components will not ensure success. Instead, you should focus on the process of implementation and foster the following behaviors within your team:

Difficulties in Implementation Planning

While implementation planning is critical to successful execution, there are several hurdles:

Although the above hurdles can be time-consuming and tedious, they are investments that will help you create a culture of trust. Because implementation is an ongoing team effort, you can’t afford to lack buy-in and commitment from any member of your team or direct stakeholders. So, communicate often and honestly, and prioritize teamwork when implementing your strategic plan. 

Still, even though inclusion and teamwork are key to a successful strategy, McKenzie reiterates that implementation planning won’t work if too many people are involved. “Implementation planning often gets derailed due to the input from various people that are not involved in the project,” he says. “There needs to be a clear line between the implementation team who is responsible for the execution and final project completion and the customers, internal or external, who are the recipients of the project. The customers can outline their requirements, but the implementation, tasks, and deliverables should be guided by the implementation team,” he concludes.

Adler explains that another common mistake is taking on too much at once. “It takes a lot of work to get something significantly new implemented,” she notes. “For this reason, the fewer initiatives the business takes on simultaneously, the greater the chances of success. Each initiative will take its team members away from their 'normal' work to some degree, and the business needs to be able to support this. If there are six things the business wants to implement, it is better to take on one or two at a time than to try to tackle all six at once,” she points out.

Tools for Successful Implementation Planning

While the implementation plan itself is a relatively low-tech document, software tools can help you track and manage your progress. From Gantt charts to advancements in information and communication technology, you’ll find popular implementation planning tools and their benefits below.

A Gantt chart is a graphical bar chart that you can use as a project timeline, and many software programs exist that allow you to create these online charts. As you move from implementation to execution, a Gantt chart can help you track individual task progress, see relationships among tasks, and identify critical or at-risk tasks. 

Basic Gantt Chart Template

Download Basic Gantt with Dependencies Template 

Excel | Smartsheet

You can use a PERT (program evaluation and review technique) chart to forecast project duration by creating a timeline for individual tasks and identifying dependent tasks. PERT requires you to forecast three separate timetables — the shortest possible, the most likely, and the longest possible — which forces you to stay flexible in your planning, so you can adapt your schedule as factors inevitably change over the course of a project. 

When you have successfully implemented your plan, you’re ready to move to project execution. Execution planning and monitoring is outside the scope of this article, but below you’ll find more helpful templates to move your project toward successful completion. 

action plan template

Download General Action Plan Template

business plan and implementation example

Download Project Timeline Template

Project Charter Template

Download Project Charter Template 

Excel | Word | Smartsheet

Advancements in information and communication technology (ICT) have led to the development of cloud-based software that allows for anytime, anywhere access and multiple users. This technological capability is especially helpful for group work, in which multiple team members need to access a certain file simultaneously while also avoiding version control issues. For example, organizations commonly use cloud-based software to create a project management system or performance management system.

Using software to manage your implementation plan can provide the following benefits:

When deciding which tool to use, consider the following:

Ultimately, software tools are a fantastic way not only to elevate the accuracy of tracking project metrics and progress, but also to save time, build flexibility, and stimulate communication among your team. 

Improve Implementation Efforts with Smartsheet

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The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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What Is an Implementation Plan & How Do I Create One? (Example Included)

ProjectManager

Build an implementation plan in minutes with ProjectManager. Plan projects, manage resources and track progress with powerful features that your whole team can use.

A project management plan is critical for the success of any project. Similarly, an implementation plan, also called a strategic plan or strategic implementation plan, outlines requisite steps for the execution of a strategy, tactic or change within an organization, or project.

Without an implementation plan, your organization could be rolling out big changes with nothing but an online reference guide and a stressed-out developer trying to make everything happen. In addition to a great implementation plan, you should also use project management software to help you through the implementation process.

So what is an implementation plan, how do you make one, and how do you execute it successfully? Let’s take a look.

What Is an Implementation Plan?

An implementation plan is a project management tool that facilitates the execution of a strategic plan for a company or a project by breaking down the implementation process into smaller steps while defining the timeline, the teams and the resources that will be needed.

Related: Free Implementation Plan Template

Strategic planning is done on an organizational level, dictating the direction of the company strategy and allocating resources to make that strategy come to life. Thus, the implementation plan traces the edges of that, mapping out how to best implement a strategic plan from the outset, and how to effectively manage it as it gets put into place.

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

Components of an Implementation Plan

There’s not really a 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.

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. Research and Discovery

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

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. Assign Responsibility

Each activity in your implementation plan must include a primary 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.

To learn more about how project planning software can help you map out every step of your project implementation plan, including the designation of tasks, watch the short video below. With the help of software, it’s easy to craft a detailed plan that everyone can reference, so everyone gets their work done on time.

Project management training video (kkuo0lgcxf)

4. Determine Activities

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

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 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.

A screenshot of a gantt chart in ProjectManager

Benefits of an Implementation Plan

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. But 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 have 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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How To Implement Your Business Plan Objectives

Breaking down your business goals into actionable steps is key for success.

business plan and implementation example

What Is a Business Plan Objective?

Be specific and define clear objectives, break down objectives into tasks.

Be Mindful of Risks and Create Contingencies

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A business plan is an important tool to help business owners map their path to success. In addition, business plans may be used when applying for loans or seeking outside investment. But a business plan isn’t worth it if you leave it gathering dust. To make a business plan effective, you have to implement your business plan objectives.

Whether you’re a new business owner or a veteran returning for a refresher, here’s a closer look at common strategies to implement on your business plan objectives.

Key Takeaways

A business plan objective is a specific goal you hope to reach with your business. This may be a number of customers, revenue, or profit goal, among others. There are no right or wrong business objectives, in theory, but it’s important to take the time to pick the best goals for your unique business if you’re going through the work to create business plan objectives.

The SMART framework is a popular way to frame goals, and it can be helpful for creating objectives, too. To qualify, an objective must meet these criteria:

SMART goals are just one method of choosing business plan objectives. You can work to create any objectives you’d like that make the most sense for what you’re trying to achieve.

Even if you don’t follow the SMART goals framework, it’s still wise to be specific and clear when choosing your goals and objectives. Vague and loosely defined goals often set business owners up for failure. Specific and clear business objectives give you and your team, if you have one, a common mission to work toward.

Breaking each objective into smaller tasks can prevent teams from getting overwhelmed and even help you get a clearer picture of what you need to do to prevail. Smaller goals also help you see faster and more frequent successes, which is a good way to stay motivated. An added benefit is an opportunity to foresee any needed resources or roadblocks, such as a need for an outside consultant or a government-issued permit.

Assign Responsibilities and Allocate Resources

Entrepreneurs with “superhero syndrome” think they can do everything themselves and often get burned out in pursuing business goals. Rather than do it all yourself, even if you have the capability, it’s often wise to delegate to others . Employees, freelancers, contractors, and business partners are part of the team. When you can count on others and best utilize their time and skills, you take a wise step to reach your objectives.

Create Milestones and Monitor Progress

Just as it’s a good idea to set smaller goals along the way, it’s also wise to create key milestone moments and monitor progress. You may learn along the way that a certain process can be improved. When a process works well, try to capture and double down on that success. When you stumble or discover inefficiencies, you could have an opportunity.

Monitoring progress helps you know what’s working and what isn’t, so you can adjust goals or methods if necessary.

Not all things go according to plan. If you miss the mark, you could join one of the millions of failed business owners. Stay mindful of risks and if it may be time to pull the plug rather than sink in more money.

Also, you may find successes outside of what you expected. Even the biggest companies pivot to a related product or service when their first idea fizzles. Remember that there’s a lot you can’t control in the business world, so not all business failures should be considered personal failures. Instead, look at them as learning opportunities to draw on in the future.

The Bottom Line

A business plan without clear objectives is at risk of being ineffective. Identify what your objectives are, break them down into small steps, delegate responsibilities, and be comfortable with pivoting when needed and dealing with risk. Taking the proper steps to create realistic objectives isn’t a guarantee that you’ll meet your goals, but it provides the framework to set you up for success.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What goes in the objectives section of a business plan.

There is no set template you must follow for a business plan. Business plans can range from a one-page summary to a lengthy, detailed document. If a business plan includes an objectives section, it should include clear and specific goals that help define success for the business.

What is the difference between a goal and an objective in a business plan?

The terms “goal'' and “objective” can be used interchangeably in a business plan. Some businesses may consider objectives as smaller tasks that help reach goals. Regardless of the terminology, goals and objectives are both good for your business’s long-term success.

Want to read more content like this? Sign up for The Balance’s newsletter for daily insights, analysis, and financial tips, all delivered straight to your inbox every morning!

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “ Setting Goals and Developing Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound Objectives ,” Pages 1-2.

Chris Drucker. “ Virtual Freedom Companion Workbook ,” Page 3.

Chamber of Commerce. “ 10 Hugely Successful Companies That Reinvented Their Business .”

Small Business Administration. “ Write Your Business Plan .”

business plan and implementation example

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COMMENTS

  1. What is an implementation plan? 6 steps to create one

    An implementation plan—also known as a strategic plan—outlines the steps your team should take when accomplishing a shared goal or objective. This plan combines strategy, process, and action and will include all parts of the project from scope to budget and beyond. In this guide, we’ll discuss what an implementation plan is and how to create one.

  2. 18 Best Sample Business Plans & Examples to Help You Write ...

    This free template from LiveFlow aims to make it easy for businesses to create a financial plan and track their progress on a monthly basis. The P&L Budget versus Actual format allows users to track their revenue, cost of sales, operating expenses, operating profit margin, net profit, and more.

  3. How to Create an Implementation Plan | Smartsheet

    There are many examples where implementation planning heightens project success. In fact, the Harvard Business Review reported that companies with an implementation and execution plan saw 70 percent greater returns. McKenzie says that implementation planning is critical to project success.

  4. What is an Implementation Plan & How Do I Create One ...

    Implementation Plan Example Implementation plans are used by companies across industries on a daily basis. Here’s a simple 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

  5. What Is Business Implementation? Definition and Tips

    Here is an example of a business implementation plan and how it differs from the actual strategy of a business plan objective: Business plan objective: To reduce employee turnover by 25% within the next two years Strategies to achieve objective: By improving the hiring and onboarding process, employee feedback channels and benefits or perks

  6. How To Implement Your Business Plan Objectives

    A business plan objective is a specific goal for your business. Making achievable and specific tasks is helpful for successful implementations. Track your results and stay prepared to update your business plan if necessary. What Is a Business Plan Objective? A business plan objective is a specific goal you hope to reach with your business.