Planning the implementation is largely a matter of basic project management. The team needs to plan the budget and time line of the implementation, determine roles and responsibilities, and assign and track tasks. Tools for planning include Gantt charts, planning grids and flowcharts. A deployment flowchart can be created for the implementation process itself, as well as for the new process that will be followed as a result of the improvements being implemented.
A data collection plan should be created similar to the one used during Measure, and the same data should be collected. After the data is collected the team will compare the before and after data to determine if the key metrics show improvement.
It is often beneficial to use Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) before implementing improvements to identify and address potential problems that may arise using the improved process. With this tool, the team lists risks and potential issues, and estimates the likelihood and severity of each one. Then the most critical are identified and the team establishes a plan for minimizing each risk.
One aspect of implementing improvements that is often overlooked is the impact of change on the people that are involved in and affected by the process. Basic change management procedures should be followed to smooth the way: communication, seeking input, and ensuring the necessary level of commitment from key players.
During the implementation itself, the team should be monitoring the process and act to address any issues that arise. In addition, the data should be reviewed periodically to ensure that appropriate data collection procedures are being followed.