Framework 2: Implementation Stages

An implementation stages diagram portayed as four overlapping circles, reading left to right

Implementation is not an event.  Implementation is “a specified set of activities designed to put into practice an activity or program of known dimensions.”  These activities occur over time in stages that overlap and that are revisited as necessary dimensions.

The next framework we would like to introduce is Implementation Stages.  Implementation is a process involving multiple decisions, actions, and corrections to change the structures and conditions necessary to successfully implement and sustain new programs and innovations.

Research shows implementing a well-constructed, well-defined, well-researched program can be expected to take 2 to 4 years (Bierman et al., 2002; Fixsen, Blase, Timbers, & Wolf, 2001; Panzano & Roth, 2006; Prochaska & DiClemente, 1982; Solberg, Hroscikoski, Sperl-Hillen, O’Conner, & Crabtree, 2004). There also is substantial agreement that planned change is a recursive process that happens in discernible stages. Conducting stage-appropriate implementation activities is necessary for successful new practices to be used and for organizations and systems to change in order to support new ways of work.

There are four functional Implementation Stages. Notice that each stage of implementation does not cleanly end as another begins. Often stages overlap with activities related to one stage still occurring as activities related to the next stage begin. Likewise, stages may be revisited when circumstances change.

The following section describes each of the four stages in more detail.

Implementation Stages

An implementation stages diagram with the stages "exploration", "installation", "initial implementation" and "full implementation" listed