What Is an Implementation Manager?

BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images

Project management is one of the most rewarding yet challenging career paths. Those who work in this field are directly responsible for the success or failure of an organization. The implementation manager's role, for example, is to provide technical support to the project team, manage project risks and ensure that new resources are implemented successfully. Whether you want to switch careers or expand your team, it's important to understand what this position entails.

TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)

If you choose this career path, you will be responsible for implementing new software and hardware, operational processes and business solutions. As an implementation manager, you'll work with other departments and carry out the tasks described in the project plan.

Implementation Manager vs. Project Manager

Most projects fail because they lack clear goals. Poor communication, employee resistance and budget constraints play a role too. Project managers make sure that each project is executed effectively and that it achieves its goals. They are responsible for project planning, resource allocation, risk analysis, research, team leadership, quality control and other key aspects.

These professionals are the backbone of any project. They define the execution schedule, lead the project team, interpret the numbers and identify potential risks. Their primary goal is to ensure that all projects are delivered on time and yield the desired results.

Implementation managers, on the other hand, carry out the activities described in the work plan. Depending on the job requirements, they may be required to implement technical systems and processes, collect data from operational teams and manage project administration. These professionals are largely responsible for facilitating the use of new technology, such as software-as-a-service packages, computer systems and hardware. Most times, they work closely with the IT team to ensure successful project implementation.

Duties and Responsibilities

In small companies, project managers are often the ones who implement new technologies, prepare project documentation and delegate tasks to the team to ensure that deadlines are met. Large organizations usually assign these responsibilities to different individuals. For example, they may employ risk managers, quality managers, implementation managers and so on.

As an implementation manager, you will coordinate project plans, prioritize tasks and support other teams in identifying and troubleshooting technical problems that may affect the project timeline or budget. Your day-to-day responsibilities will depend on the company for which you work. You may be required to develop and implement business solutions or operational processes, participate in contract negotiations and ensure successful change management within the organization.

Technical implementation managers, for example, are responsible for assisting clients and cross-functional teams with the implementation of new hardware or software, among other activities. A compliance implementation manager will ensure that all aspects of a project are fully compliant with the legislation. Depending on your skills and expertise, you can specialize in the implementation of software, finance product solutions or services in a project environment.

Skills and Qualifications

Project managers and implementation managers require a similar skill set. They must have the ability to understand and apply project methodologies and risk management processes, create reports, summarize data and lead client-facing projects. Strong communication and analytical skills are paramount.

Most employers require a bachelor's degree in computer science, management, business or other related fields. Some prefer candidates with a master's degree or industry-specific qualifications. To increase your chances of landing a high-paying job, consider taking additional courses, such as those offered by the Project Management Institute. If you’re just getting started, seek entry-level positions or look for internship opportunities in order to gain experience.

Implementation manager interview questions typically focus on the applicant’s skills and expertise. A potential employer may ask about your past projects and leadership experience as well as your ability to meet tight deadlines, deal with potential issues and delegate tasks. Depending on the industry, you may be required to answer questions related to your experience in IT, finance or management.