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PM Essence


A Transformation Project - Experience from a large IT Company

- Sanu K Samuel

In the current business context, change has become essential for survival and growth in all industries. Large scale changes aimed at delivering lasting changes in the way an organization is carrying out its business is called a Business Transformation project. PMI sees strategic change or transformation to be delivered through a set of projects and programs. 

 

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Change is painful and will be resisted by people in the organization. Hence the purpose of change should be larger than the resistance to the change, for the change to be successful. There are a few differences between a normal project and a business transformation project:Some of the projects, handled by BEL are 'System of System' types, involving not only electronic systems, but also other areas.

 

1. The project is for internal stakeholders and hence must have widespread acceptance to be successful

2. The success criteria may not be that well defined. The projects are led by a vision for the future.

3. Transition projects call for A-Teams to deliver within very short timeline overcoming all resistances.

4. Change projects must have plans to sustain the change, as no change will sustain automatically and things may revert back to old ways.

 

Given such uncertainties and resistance, how can the management be sure that the Transformation Project has a chance to succeed.

 
Simple. Roll the DICE ® !
 
So says Boston Consulting Group. DICE ® stands for,
 
a) Duration of the project (D) - Larger the score, the longer the duration
b) Integrity of the team (I) – Lower the score, the better the team
c) Commitment (C1) and Capability (C2) to change – Lower the score the better the capability and commitment to change
d) Effort required from the employees – Larger the score the larger the effort
 
If you have the numbers it is easy to determine whether the transformation would succeed using the following scoring guide:
DICE Score = D + (2 x I) + (2 x C1 ) + C2 + E
 
Lower the scores, the greater the chances of success.
 
Who would be your person to run the Transformation Project
 
Look at the chances of success of people with different leadership styles:
 
Studies show that the Strategist has greater chance of completing Transformation Projects better due to the collaborative skills.
 
A Project Experience: This is a real project experience from one of the large IT companies in India. The name has been intentionally withheld.
 
Step 1 – Establish Vision: The project was initiated under the auspices of CEO to introduce significant improvements in service delivery.
 
Step 2 – Define the Charter: The CEO set up a team of top leaders in delivery to expand the vision and come up with a Project Charter that also provided some directions for achieving the vision. The key problem identified was that most of the projects delivered by the company were being managed as semi-staff augmented engagements, with limited control over the outcomes. The team agreed on the vision of moving majority of these engagements to managed delivery over the next 3 quarters, with a set of measurable attributes to define the success.
 
Step 3 – Create Buy-in: The massive communication drive that followed clearly focused on the key issues presently faced by the teams and by the customer, the need for changing from staff-augmentation to managed delivery, the key challenges in making such a change, the resources and assistance that would be at the disposal of the projects covered under transformation, the role play expected from the project teams and the plan for achieving the change.
 
Step 4 – Enabling Transition: To be able to run the transition projects it was estimated that the project managers and extended teams will be required to spend 10-15% of their time on the transformation project. To facilitate this, resources were infused into the projects to the tune of 15% so that spare time could be created to focus on transformation. 
 
A dedicated PMO was set up to manage collection and dissemination of data related to these projects.
 
There were focused efforts in identifying and recognizing employees who took initiative to demonstrate success.
 
Step 5 – Make Course Corrections: Carefully planned feedback loops were introduced into the project to understand the challenges faced by the projects to achieve the outcomes and additional support was provided where required to help projects achieve the results.
 
Top management reviews were held every 2 months, and reviews with the local leadership were held every week.
 
Results from the transformation project,
 
Number of projects running in managed mode tripled within 3 months
 
All projects on a delivery dashboard tool for monthly vertical leader review
 
Lead-indicators as focus of review for risk reduction and delivery performance assurance, also other key aspects around managed service
 
Customer satisfaction scores went up significantly.
 
Red projects dropped significantly to almost zero.