When someone we love has health concerns, we value the importance of finding the right physician, someone we trust. Transformation projects should be approached in much the same way. Too often transformations are urgent business life-saving interventions with notoriously high failure rates. Rarely are they the result of early diagnosis, preventative, or carefully planned and successful interventions.
Major transformations are critical procedures that involve high amounts of risk to the enterprise. They aim to replace or upgrade the vital systems or processes core to a business. If not led and governed properly, these complex and large projects can quickly turn the promise of increased benefits into losses or even worse, write offs.
The following 5 elements should be considered in order to de-risk a transformation:
First, the presence of a trusted transformation expert, like that of a trusted physician, is the essential first step to ensure a successful transformation.
Second, the long term strategic vision of the transformation must be aligned with the changing business model. As well, it must be specific to the business requirements of the enterprise. A transformation is often the enabler of a turn-around or revamped business model.
Third, a transformation and its execution must be well-planned in advance with a clear and agreed upon scope, requirements, and methodology. For example, each phase, from opportunity assessment, to vendor selection, to implementation before going into production must be controlled against measurable criteria.
Fourth, transformation executives (business and IT leaders) must remain steadfast. Throughout the execution, executives utilize the governance in place to not lose sight of the long term vision and its objectives. While many issues or changes to the scope may impact project costs or delay expected benefits, the big picture is always in sight and guides decision-making.
Fifth, transformation management (your core team) must remain flexible. Not all resources are created equal. Transformation managers must be creative and resourceful. They must identify bottleneck resources and manage them closely, re-assigning tasks to other non-bottleneck resources where possible. They must be ready to change course when necessary.
Your trusted advisor and transformation expert much like a family physician or specialist can help ensure that you adopt this approach increasing your probability of success.
Alternatively, your transformation expert can become your surgeon and execute your transformation as a Program Director. The Program Director acts as a liaison between managers involved in the transformation and the executives who champion the initiative. This ensures that not only the right approach is adopted at the executive level but that the execution follows through.
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