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Wave Success Center by McKinsey

Implementation Levels

Each initiative in your program must go through an Implementation Level process (also often referred to as Stage Gates). Wave has been designed to fit your program's governance and implementation process to ensure that initiatives have been properly planned, implemented, and that their impact numbers are validated.

Wave also requires initiatives to go through approvals at particular implementation levels. Most commonly, initiatives must be approved by a senior leader or workstream lead in order to move forward to the L3 - Implementation level. Your program may include additional approvals between various stages, all intended to validate the information that has been entered into the initiative.

Note: The implementation levels process in your program may vary slightly or use different naming conventions

Example Implementation Level Process


L0: Idea

L1: Identified

L2: Validated

L3: Implement

L4: Realize

L5: Signed Off

In this level you have: Initial idea Sized initiative Business case Approved plan Completed implementation Realized value and signed off by Finance
What must happen to enter this stage: Idea generated

Owner assigned

Value estimated

Validation complete

Plan developed

Plan feasibility confirmed

Finance confirm size/timing of savings

All planned actions have been taken Financial impacts have appeared in bottom line results
Key activities in this stage:

Rough sizing 

Rough L3/L4 milestone dates

Assign owner

Refine value

Build the business case

Develop high level action plan

Develop concrete action plan

Identify risks & resources

Complete all steps laid out in the action plan Savings are accruing Cost savings seen in cash flows at level of new run rate
Who typically approves entry? Initiative Owner Workstream Lead Sponsor Sponsor, Finance Initiative Owner Finance
Example Initiative An opportunity exists to save on filter spend We spend $10m on filters and we think we can get 10% We have checked pricing across sites and believe a 15% improvement is possible We confirmed applicable baseline and estimate opportunity value of $1.4m. We are now implementing the initiative We have firm price commitments from suppliers and have changed ops practice to begin buying We are only buying the lower cost items and/or following the new process
Note: It is possible that some initiatives will not make it to implementation. For these cases, users can update the "Weekly Status" field to "Cancelled" in order to indicate that the initiative is no longer active.


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