Pace is everything. Your customers expect new ideas or products to appear immediately, your Exec Board wanted the benefits to land yesterday and you’re under huge pressure to just get on and deliver. So, work with pace, but if you don’t focus first on creating the right foundations, then your efforts will fall apart around you:
The key to success is to invest up-front to set-up strongly, save money in the long-term and increase the likelihood of benefit realisation.
Ensure clarity of direction with strong sponsorship
If not already done, then make sure the Exec Team collectively stand behind where and how this change sits in the overall company strategy and what its relative priority is with other initiatives. You need to make sure that when the going gets tough, they will all pull in the same direction to help you out. It is important to have one, active, Exec-level sponsor, and even more important to work with that person to ensure they understand how to fulfil their critical sponsorship duties.
Establish business ownership, clear accountabilities and robust governance
This is about obtaining a truly sustainable transformation, unlocking the business up-front so all areas really understand and want the change to happen. They will flex with you and will pull the change into day-today operation. So, articulate the vision and outcomes in a way that everyone will understand. Organisation and governance structures can feel a bit old school these days, so make them light-touch and dynamic, but lose them at your peril. You need to ensure that decisions can be made rapidly, by the right people and driven by one version of delivery truth. At the same time appreciating the many dependencies that need to be managed across the organisation.
Map out the value delivery and gain up-front commitment to funding
Your teams may be following the same or different delivery methods across the Waterfall, Agile and Hybrid spectrum, and that’s all fine. The consistency you do need though is to be able to summarise up into one view – so you need to focus on collaboration, agreed deliverables, cross-team dependencies and regular communication. The benefits need to be owned and agreed by the relevant business area; and baked into operational business plans. You don’t want to be regularly constrained by funding approvals, so get the overall budget requirements indicatively agreed and a very slick drawdown process in place.
Build the right level of capability and communicate hard
Investing early to build the right team and culture will pay you back many times over by giving you the chance to step-up and fulfil the right leadership role, with the right level of confidence that you are in control. This is the case with both internal and external resources. Your organisation may not be used to change of this scale, so understand and then fill the capability gap.
It is important to think clearly about the requirements you have on any third party, and make sure you include softer capabilities, such as the ability to work alongside your organisation, in the selection process. At the start of any initiative, it is also critical to control the ramp-up of resources, getting the right balance of traction and momentum without burning cost with no output. Once your team is in place, then over-stress the communications – you can never do too much to build up the right relationships and team dynamics. And then drive delivery as hard as you can, assured in the knowledge that all your efforts will be now building on solid foundations, with the maximum possible chance of meeting those high customer and Senior Exec expectations.
To discuss further, please contact David Knappett
Mobile: 07973 152494 | email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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