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SMM Pilot Programs: A Proven Process for Success

Once a client decides to move forward with a strategic meeting management pilot program, identifying tasks and initiating implementation are the next steps to success. Numerous tasks need to be undertaken pre-, during, and post-launch in order to ensure a successful program debut. It is critical to get the pilot launch correct because if it is not well planned and people have a negative experience, it is very hard to get a second chance to win them back.

Below are some of the proven processes I have seen be effective in SMM implementations over the years. Although I have only shown a few examples per item, in reality these lists can have 20 to 50 activities for each sub-category.

A. Identify key milestones:
Pre-launch implementation
• Implementation
• Post-launch implementation
• Implementation close-out

B. Call out the pilot program's specific objectives as sub-categories for the milestones, for example:

  Pre-launch implementation
1. Deploy corporate meeting card (CMC)
  1a. Assess CMC options based on current T&E and P-card relationships
  1b. Determine best card
  1c. Negotiate CMC agreement
  1d. Develop process flows and audit processes
2. Develop sourcing and contracting strategy
3. Develop group air process
4. Create pilot workflow processes

C. Align tasks with milestones, for example:

Pre-launch implementation Implementation Post-launch implementation Implementation close-out
Develop cross functional team Finalize workflows Activate communication plan Implementation debrief
ID pilot scope Validate tech tool Monthly status calls Institute process improvements
ID stakeholders Develop FAQs Client surveys and feedback Next stepsMove into next phase of implementation
Deploy corporate meeting card Conduct training Institute process improvements Supplier annual business reviews
Determine policy Launch pilot Conduct additional training Move into next phase of implementation

 D. Identify resources and set realistic timelines:

Internal Resource % Time External Resource % Time Start Date End Date
Nigel, Mary 30% Betsy, Tim 70% 9/1/2018 10/1/2018
Nigel, Thomas 10% Betsy, Carol 90% 9/15/2018 10/31/2018

If you have implementation work on the horizon, I hope you find these ideas helpful!

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