How to Implement a New System in Your Department: 5 Phases
Implementing any new software in your department will be an adjustment. It is something you must prepare for in a couple different ways. So, what is the best way to roll it out? How can you avoid common mistakes? How can you get everyone's buy-in?
Many departments find success in staging the roll-out in phases. Your phases may look a little different for each type of software and provider but here we will focus on an effective way to roll out a new scheduling system for your personnel.
You did it! You finally found the perfect solution for your department. You know it will save time and money. BUT is everyone already on-board with the change? Do they understand why it is happening? Are you prepared for the pushback?
For a new software to succeed in any organization there needs to be support internally. But on top of that, you need to find a company that will have reliable customer service so that if you have any questions, you will get answers. If you can't get your questions answered, you won’t be able to use the system properly. Which will end up wasting more time than you’re trying to save. But with reliable support, and a clear plan for roll-out specific to your department, you're guaranteed to have a smooth transition.
So, what if you've never implemented something like this before? Well, that's what we are here for.
5 roll-out phases for a successful implementation include:
This is the absolute first step once you decide what scheduling provider you are going with is to make your department aware of the decision.
Hold a quick stand up meeting or send out an email explaining:
- What system you purchased
- Why you chose this particular one
- How it will benefit the department as a whole
- When it is planned to roll out: Approximate date range
- Any questions, please contact _________
This will introduce the product and begin the conversation. Bringing it up before rolling it out will allow time for individuals to research the product if they'd like, clear up any concerns, and prepare for what is to come.
Create a broken down, roll-out timeline with your administration.
- 1st week - input data into the system
- 2nd week - attend training, initial roll out to administrators, ensure everything is correct in the system
- 3rd week - provide training for all employees and give them their logins to the system
- 4th week - compile any questions you have about the new software
- 5th week - incorporate more advanced feature like overtime
- 6th week - incorporate another advanced feature like payroll
- and so on...
This is important so that you stay on track. Obviously, things may come up and delay the exact timing. But having a timeline will set the bar. If you get started setting up a system and then leave it sit for a few weeks or months, it will be dated by the time you get back in. This may result in a complete reset or other unnecessary extra work.
If the provider offers free setup, provide them with the information they need to complete your setup.
- Employee roster
- Payroll dates and codes
- Assignments for level of access
- List of your divisions/departments
- Time off banks
- Minimum staffing levels
- Examples of previous schedules and rotations
Attend training, if provided, to become familiar with the system and how to work it. Additionally, you can watch help videos and read through knowledge base articles to get a really good understanding of the system before rolling it out.
You'll want to test out the different tools a little bit, make sure all is in the right place.
It will be hard to really test out the features without live data so it is important to roll-out the system as soon as you can. If something is wrong you can always adjust as you go. If the software company you chose has a knowledgeable and available support team they will be able to resolve any issues you run into.
Roll out to the entire department.
This part is a little nerve racking at first but once you do it you will be one step closer to saving a ton of time. And making officers happy. Of course when you first roll it out officially you can expect questions and maybe some continued push back. But give it a week or two and you will be all set!
Depending on your timeline established in Phase 2 there may be a couple more "phases" for your roll-out. For example, in 2 weeks after using the system we will begin using the Payroll feature.
You've taken a big step to make your department more efficient with modern technology. Not all software is created equal so be sure to thoroughly evaluate different vendors to find the right fit for your department.
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PlanIt Police is an online scheduling system for police departments. PlanIt is developed by Ragnasoft, Inc which has specialized in public safety scheduling solutions for over 10 years.
Lancaster, PA 17604