Post-Implementation Reviews: How Are We Doing?

In today's dynamic environment, analysts tend to have multiple projects running at the same time. The end of one project typically signifies the beginning of another thereby increasing the likelihood that one key activity can be parked and forgotten: Post-Implementation Review.

Although evaluation should take place during all stages of the project, it is only when the system has been implemented and users have had a chance to use it in the live environment that one can expect them to provide a comprehensive feedback. Once the new system (process or technology) is up and running, Post-Implementation Review (also known as system evaluation) should be conducted.

Post-Implementation Review is about gaining insight from asking this key question: “How are we doing?”

One should never assume that the benefits the project team set out to achieve at the beginning were actually achieved without some investigation. An assessment of the situation after the system has been in use for a while (say 3-6 months) will help put things in perspective and deliver lessons that can be applied to other projects. This evaluation can be achieved either informally or formally with support from the Business Analyst.

Post-Implementation Review involves asking key questions about the system/project, navigating through office politics, managing expectations and getting stakeholder feedback.

It may focus on any or all of these key areas:

  1. Project Performance – Was the project delivered on time and within the required budget? Were the estimates in the business case realistic at the end of the day? If not, this phase allows you to determine the difference between the estimated and actual costs of the project and identify the cause(s) of the difference so that any lessons learnt can be incorporated into future projects.

  2. Performance of the New Information System and Processes – Is the new system performing as specified? Are there any data, network, hardware or software-related problems?

  3. Fulfilment of the Identified Business Need – Have the business needs identified at the beginning of the project been met? What other opportunities are there to deliver even greater benefits?

  4. Unintended Consequences – What impact (positive or otherwise) has the new system had on the organization since its implementation? New system implementations do have a strong impact on the working conditions of staff, morale and a host of unpredictable effects. Capturing this information will provide a comprehensive view of the effect the system has had on the organization.

Conducting Post-Implementation Reviews on your project is a critical step that provides insight into any workarounds that may have been designed by users (which could be the result of current inadequacies) and how workflows can be improved in the future. Training issues may also be identified during this exercise. Post-Implementation Reviews are particularly crucial in building a continuous improvement and knowledge management culture within the organization.

Useful Links

Post-Implementation Reviews - Mind Tools