How To Plan Your Grant Management Implementation Timeline
By Jillian Neimeister on April 4, 2020
A strategic and well thought-out implementation plan is vital to achieving grant management software success.
If rolled out incorrectly, the software may not have the impact you wish on your organization’s processes.
Below, we’ve outlined specific questions to ask and items to consider as you plan your implementation timeline.
What is an Implementation Timeline?
An implementation timeline is a working document that lists activities, responsible parties and estimated time for task execution. It may also include costs, expected obstacles and objectives.
Here’s an example of what an implementation timeline may look like:
The implementation process varies by industry and organization. Dependent on organizational size, previous processes and inherent ability to adapt, our grant management software can take as little as three months or a long as nine to implement.
Important Factors to Consider
Think through the following as you outline your ideal implementation timeline:
- Who will lead the implementation process? Who will support? Your project leader should be the person with final accountability for grant-related data, both performance and financial. It’s great if this person is also organized, tech-savvy, and willing to learn and ask questions.
- What approvals are needed at each stage in the implementation process? Map out the decision hierarchy for each stage of the process.
Pro tip: Find an executive sponsor, someone within the c-suite who will act as your internal champion and advocate.
- How will the organization integrate or transfer data from its current system? In most cases, this can be done through a series of imports using a template to map data to specific software fields.
- Who will need to be trained on the new system? Identify affected employees. Typically, this consists of the grant management office and any other personnel who handle grants, budgets and finance.
- How does the organization plan to rollout the software? Consider a pilot program to rollout new processes to select employees. Once that runs smoothly, implement organization wide.
- What is the organization’s typical grant calendar? Comb through previous calendars to identify peaks and valleys of busy times. Find a time of year that is commonly less hectic to begin making process changes.
Seek the Right Partnership
As with any technology purchase, a strong vendor partnership can improve your chances of implementation success by streamlining the process. As you evaluate potential partners, ask each:
- What is the typical or recommended implementation timeline?
- Is integration with current processes turnkey, or is development necessary?
- How flexible and customizable is the software?
- How often will the system need to be updated and maintained?
- What level of support is provided in technology rollout and training?
Once you’ve squared away any outstanding questions, it’s time to build out the timeline. Get started with our free guide: Grant Management Software Evaluation Guide. It’s jam packed with helpful information and interactive worksheets.