Mobilising Your Transformation programme – The Importance of People

Securing the right people during the mobilisation phase of a Transformation Programme is crucial to setting up for a successful outcome. 


Whether undertaking a major business change programme, a digital transformation, or other fundamental shift in the organisation, effective change management will be crucial for people throughout the lifetime of the transformation. 


Getting approval to move into delivery is a key milestone that all should recognise and celebrate, but it also signals a set of new people challenges as you mobilise the transformation programme. 



The Need for Strong Sponsorship & Experienced Leadership 


As you mobilise the delivery, the Sponsor will play a key role in being an ambassador for the change both within the Leadership and in the wider organisation. Transformation will make people feel nervous about what it means for them and will have many questions; clear and strong messaging from the Sponsor will act to reassure the organisation. 


The Sponsor will have championed the approval to execute the change. During mobilisation, is it a positive challenge to ask if the current Sponsor is the right person to fulfil that role in delivery or is there a better placed leader to make the change stick? It is also worth considering if co-sponsorship will help the organisation to fully get behind the change. For example, having business and technology leaders standing shoulder-to-shoulder can be very powerful. 


The pressure will be on during the mobilisation to move at pace. To achieve this and gain momentum in the crucial early stages, a strong, experienced Programme Manager is also a must. This person will develop and execute the mobilisation plan with one eye on the ‘here and now’ activities and one eye on the overall delivery. Pulling together a Leadership Team to execute the Programme, blending skills and experience across multiple disciplines, and getting them pointing in the same direction, is key to get right. Project One has extensive experience in leading and delivering complex change and can help.  


Mobilisation Quick Tips – confirm the right Sponsor is in place and you have a seasoned Programme Director to lead the mobilisation for delivery success.



Securing a Different Set of Skills  


The Team that built the business case and convinced the organisation to commit to the change have done an outstanding job. Given the knowledge they have built during this phase, many can play a role during the delivery. 


However, different skills must also be added during mobilisation. Working on a significant business change will require people who are able to step outside the BAU and have a mindset to both embrace and drive the change that is planned. 


Not everybody will want or feel comfortable to join a transformation programme. From a different way of working, the concern about working to tight deadlines, to even something as simple as moving to a new desk, can all be of concern. 


A level of experience of how to deliver a complex transformation programme is needed to overcome these challenges, especially if the organisation has not run a such large-scale change in recent times. 


Mobilisation Quick Tips – check you have the right skills in the transformation programme to deliver the change. If not, ensure these skills are sourced either internally or externally during mobilisation. 



Extracting the Right People 


Transformation relies on thoroughly understanding the ‘as is’ before the ‘to be’ can be designed. It is seldom the case that all the crucial information on business processes, organisation structures, system architectures, integrations etc. is all documented to the level that it can be picked up and fed into the transformation machine. 


During the mobilisation, it is important that the information that will be required as inputs is understood. Once that is available, an assessment of what is available and how up to date it is can be undertaken. Making decisions on requirements and the direction of travel for the solution based on incomplete or stale information can lead to poor decision making or the need for extensive rework later during delivery. 


Organisations are not generally scaled to deliver transformations. These large programmes are only run periodically so there are not people sitting and waiting to join the transformation programme Team. People have day jobs in running the business and keeping the organisation moving forwards. However, these are the very people who understand the workings of the organisation and will be crucial to the success of the transformation. 


There will naturally be a reluctance to release these people to the transformation programme. Many will be the ‘go to’ people that others rely on due to their knowledge and experience, running the business day to day without them can seem a frightening thought. However, these are the exact profiles that need to be seconded into the team when mobilising.  


The question that will be asked is ‘can I afford to manage our ongoing business without these people?’, the answer is for the success of the transformation to the organisation is simply ‘can I afford not to’. 


Mobilisation Tips – The Programme should be a priority for the organisation so securing and seconding the best possible people into the Team is essential.  



Build a Strong Programme Brand 


Establishing a strong internal brand for the transformation programme serves many purposes and is a key consideration during the mobilisation phase. 


Firstly, it gives everyone on the programme a sense of identity and belonging to something. This is important when you have people taken from across different parts of the organisation and external partners all coming together. Instilling a sense of pride and collaboration will pay dividends when the inevitable challenges arise. 


The change being undertaken will likely be delivered over an extended period and people outside the programme will wonder what is going on. Regular updates will keep people engaged and as the change gets near to the launch, it is likely more will become involved and having been taken on the journey, there will be less of the ‘fear of the unknown’. 


A formal launch event attended by key stakeholders and the Programme Team will set the Programme on the right path. It allows people to metaphorically all ‘hold hands’ and jump into the change together and get to know each other. 


Mobilisation Tips – people want to get behind something they can identify with; a strong internal brand will help those both inside and outside of the Programme.  



Do you need change expertise? 


People will be one of the, if not the, critical success factors for your transformation programme. During the mobilisation of your Programme, it is vital that you have the right people secured to deliver your transformation. Many of those needed will come from within the organisation but having strong, experienced, and independent expertise in crucial Programme Leadership roles can be the difference between a successful delivery and a failed Programme.  


At Project One, we have extensive experience at leading major changes across organisations through our seasoned consultants who have all done this multiple times. If you are embarking or mobilising such a Programme, please reach out and we’ll be only too happy to offer our support. 

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