The Unsung Hero of a Mega Transformation

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Project Management to the Rescue



by Cyndee Miller

 

The “T” word is getting thrown around a lot. So I might have been skeptical walking into Anthony Gayter’s symposium keynote on a “real-world transformation.”

Once he started laying out the details, it was clear this was the real deal.

It all started when HP went on an acquisition extravaganza, gobbling up 60 companies from 2002 to 2015. All that wheeling and dealing made HP one of the biggest conglomerates in the world.

“Then reality hit,” said Anthony Gayter, vice president, enterprise services, global transformation service, DXC Technology, a division of HP. “We were behind the times.”

In 2015, HP made the strategic decision to split the company in two —and then eight months into the split, they decided to cut the company into several more parts. “We had three splits and two mergers going on top of normal day-to-day work.”

The transformation was not just complex, it was happening on an epic scale: The team had 4,300 project milestones — and only 10 months to complete the initiative. “We were putting everything on the line,” said Mr. Gayter.

Where did the organization turn to for support to seamlessly separate the entities? “Project management is the unsung hero.”

Throughout it all, the meetings and endless milestone mapping, the project management team led the charge. And execs took notice, maybe not in overt proclamations, but in one very powerful way.

“Any companies that are merging, one reason is to cut costs,” Mr. Gayter said. “Project management has been kept whole.

While more than 40 percent of vice presidents have exited — no project managers have been fired. Instead, the organization hired more and continues to invest in project management training, certifications and development. “It was a recognition of their skillset and capability,” Mr. Gayter said.

But after playing such a powerful part in the transformation, the pressure is on. “It’s a double-edge sword. The expectation is that perfection is the standard now.”

Is project management an “unsung hero” at your company? Or does it get the credit it deserves?

Posted by Cyndee Miller on: November 09, 2017 02:37 PM | Permalink

Comments (8)

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Great to see no PM's were fired, seems rather remarkable.

I was laid off from HP back in 2010. Is that different than being fired? I had taken on an assignment that put me in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Project managers are still "unsung heros". I still see developers, testers and BAs being recognized but not so much project managers.

Agree with Stephane. Project managers are still "unsung heros" They are still under represented for the great work they do !

Project Managers are still "unsung heros" as they are only recognized while they are implementing the changes desired ..

Unfortunately this is all simply untrue. You can't fire a PM (at least in UK) if you are restructuring because you don't have legal grounds for it, you have to make them redundant - which they have been doing continually for at least 5 years and has been increasing hugely during the recent bungled changes. Headcount reduction has been the main effort, so I believe it to be factually incorrect to say the number of PMs has not reduced.

I thought it might be too good to be true.

Thanks for sharing!

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