Evaluating a software implementation project

Getting to the end of a big software implementation project might feel like you’re crossing the finish line to a marathon but just like a marathon, it’s not the time to collapse on the ground in exhaustion. In reality, it’s the point at which you should take stock and figure out what works and doesn’t work in your business, what lessons can be learned for the future, and assess whether the implementation has been a success. Sticking with the marathon analogy – think of it as a warm-down!

Software evaluation strategies

While there are many ways to evaluate a project, one of our favourite methods of evaluating a software implementation project is a Post Implementation Review (PIR)

What is a post-implementation review?

A post-implementation review (PIR) is a method of evaluation that helps you look back at your project and find lessons learnt on what went well and what could be done better.

This review is not a process or session to dole out blame but is intended to promote collaboration and agreement on what went right or wrong, and what can be done to address any issues.

A good time to start thinking about the post-implementation review is shortly after the project has been delivered but after teething issues have been ironed out. 

You should also wait long enough for the changes caused by the project to truly take effect. You should therefore typically allow a few weeks, or even a few months before you begin the PIR.

And according to legal experts Shakespeare Martineau a PIR “can uncover many tips and strategies for improvement – and a PIR can be an efficient tool in evaluating the implementation of measures, projects or procedures.”

What should a post-implementation review (PIR) aim to answer?

  1. Was the project a success?
  2. Are stakeholders satisfied?
  3. Areas for future development
  4. Lessons learned so far

How to conduct a post-implementation review (PIR)?

There are many ways to gather the information you need to determine what worked and what didn’t in your project. 

Gap Analysis 

This is an analysis method that aims to highlight how actual implementation differed from the plan envisioned. You can start with your business case and see how closely you adhered to your objectives. 

Look at what was planned with what was delivered. Were there any gaps? Think about how they can be closed.

Organise a review meeting with people from different parts of your organisation

Each department will probably be using a different element of the software, so will have their own take on the project’s implementation. Emphasise the importance of openness and honesty, and ensure people understand that they will not be punished for sharing honest and truthful feedback.

Arrange one-on-one meetings

Some people may not feel comfortable in larger group environments, so why not arrange smaller intimate meetings with key leaders from each department. 

You may try to focus on those employees that fit into the early adopter or early majority groups, as they will likely be able to provide the most balanced assessments.

Send out surveys

Can you create a digital survey to get broad feedback from everyone in your organisation? Can you extend this to other stakeholders like clients?

Conduct client interviews

While you may be able to measure how successful your team has adopted software, many of your objectives will be tied to the benefits that clients experience. Can you arrange to conduct personal interviews or digital surveys for clients?

Want to read more about managing software implementation in a home care business? Check out our comprehensive project implementation page.