Plan Implementation

During the Plan Implementation phase, planning templates and frameworks should be integrated with other institutional- and partner-planning processes, where possible. Small-scale implementations or pilots are also encouraged.

New process steps are identified by interviewing personnel who are included in the solutions or by asking students who are engaged in the solutions to record how they are involved in or affected by them.

Plans created in this phase are starting points for implementation, including a statement of the targeted outcomes, goals, roles, and responsibilities; an overview of steps needed to create a pilot or small-scale implementation; an estimated timeline, cost, and needed resources; and any potential mechanisms for integration within organizational planning processes.

Recommended activities

A. Create a general description of the solutions by answering the following questions: 

  • What are the desired outcomes of the proposed solutions?
  • What has to change to accomplish these solutions?
  • What is the order or sequence for the desired solutions?
  • Who needs to be involved?
  • When should changes be made?
  • What support (e.g., resources, authority, or coordination) is needed?
  • Who should lead this work?

B. Determine whether existing institutional- and partner-planning processes can be used. Is there an existing planning process that would naturally include the proposed solutions? Involve institutional researchers and other administrative personnel to help identify potential supports, templates, and frameworks.

Many organizations already have planning templates that can be incorporated based on the type of process improvement and evaluation (i.e., institutional annual plans, improvement plans, or program reviews). Integration with existing planning processes lends support to implementation and helps to garner recognition and buy-in for this work. It may also create an opportunity to coordinate or increase resources, improve project management, and enhance sustainability.

C. If no planning process or template exists, use the Pathways to Results Implementation Plan, which starts the needed activity and provides the foundation for additional future planning. This process involves pursuing action items for every proposed solution, and teams should use the plan to provide the following types of information:

Roles and Responsibilities

  • The sponsor typically consists of administrative personnel who have the authority to approve changes, allocate the budget, and provide general institutional support.
  • The project leader is the person who leads the improvement process.
  • The team members are the individuals who help accomplish overall implementation.

Basic Steps

  • List steps that accomplish the proposed solutions.
  • Specify the milestones and outcomes.


  • The start date is the time when implementation begins.
  • The order of events encompass certain actions that need to occur first as others are done at the same time.
  • The pilots specify pilot implementation periods and reviews.
  • The timing approximates how long each major step will take.
  • The completion happens when all major steps and the process improvement and evaluation project are finished.

Resource Requirements

  • Determine how many team members are needed to help with the project.
  • Specify the budget and the needed materials and equipment.

Approval Authority

  • If approval is required, who does it?
  • How are approvals done?