Implementation Month: The Matrix

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As you now know, Rural Resurrection has declared January as National Implementation Month. So let the festivities begin! But where do you start?

National Implementation Month Logo

Take that comprehensive plan down of the shelf and blow the dust off of it. Once you’re done sneezing, flip through to the implementation chapter. Any viable comprehensive plan will have a chapter dedicated to goals and actions. Here’s your starting point, but it should only be a starting point. There may be an array of other plans that the community has adopted. There may even be some additional initiatives that aren’t specifically listed in any plan, or issues that have arisen since the last comprehensive plan update that need to be addressed.

That’s where the implementation matrix comes in. No you don’t have to change your name to “Neo” and dress up in all black to create one. The implementation matrix is a simple spreadsheet that lists out the goals and actions of various plans. It then provides who is responsible for implementing the task, the time frame to implement, and can also include funding costs/sources, and other basic information that may be important for successful implementation.

Many communities that regularly go through this exercise call this their “Strategic Plan”. The initial draft may be relatively time-consuming, but once the base document has been created, it is relatively easy to update and use again the following year.

Some interesting examples of an implementation matrix include:

  • Denver – This one lists the goals, the strategies, the department(s) responsible for implementation, non-governmental entities that can be partners, and which specific plans the actions are tied to.
  • Manheim Township – This one hits some interesting points. It specifically calls out the page in the related comprehensive plan document, the funding source, the responsible party, and the “monitoring body”. I guess you know who’s looking over your shoulder on this one.
  • Town of Laurel Park – This one is straight forward, to the point, and simple. It is a good starting point for communities to start with.

These are just three examples of implementation matrix that are out there. A simple Google search will provide you with more.

The matrix can evolve over the years as well. This is your community’s guide to implementation. It is a fluid document that SHOULD be changed regularly to make it more useful to those who work on implementing the goals and actions of the community.

If it helps to put on the dark sunglasses and the black trench coat like Neo, more power to ya. As long as you get started with the creating the implementation matrix that fits your community. Start the ball rolling…..

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