Voices on Project Management

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Voices on Project Management offers insights, tips, advice and personal stories from project managers in different regions and industries. The goal is to get you thinking, and spark a discussion. So, if you read something that you agree with--or even disagree with--leave a comment.

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Cameron McGaughy
Marian Haus
Lynda Bourne
Lung-Hung Chou
Bernadine Douglas
Kevin Korterud
Conrado Morlan
Peter Tarhanidis
Mario Trentim
Jen Skrabak
David Wakeman
Joanna Newman
Vivek Prakash
Christian Bisson
Linda Agyapong
Cyndee Miller
Jess Tayel
Shobhna Raghupathy
Rex Holmlin
Roberto Toledo
Ramiro Rodrigues
Taralyn Frasqueri-Molina
Wanda Curlee

Recent Posts

In the Rearview Mirror: The Year in Project Management

A Guide to Perfect Planning

The Secrets to Business Transformation Success

Specialist or Generalist: The Great Career Conundrum

Project Management Is For Everyone

Viewing Posts by Jess Tayel

The Secrets to Business Transformation Success

The Secrets to Business Transformation Success

In the world of business transformation, there is usually a lot of enthusiasm surrounding the start of the transformation among the team.

But it quickly gets crazy and stressful thanks to tenders for third parties, recruitment, preparation for executives’ meetings, changes, wish lists, vague strategies and aggressive key performance indicator promises already made to the board.

Typically, the transformation team has a list of to-dos and we go running around building the empire around achieving them—and off goes the train.

Some of the pitfalls that transformation teams fall into are:

Assume success: Business transformation is usually about a list of changes we make to the business—whether with systems, people, processes, strategy, or all of these. We build the portfolio, write the briefs for our third parties, start the projects and setup the meetings and steering committees.

We plan our work with success in mind. But what if that doesn’t happen?

When we don’t account for failure it means we don’t really have the recovery mechanism in place both at the human and team level and at the tactical level.

That leads us to the second pitfall.

Inability to stop and reflect: In transformation, there is a lot at stake. That means a lot can go wrong quickly—and the trust that the transformation team once had can be put to the test.  

Because there are a lot of moving parts—and what you knew at a point in time may not be as valid or as accurate as it is at a later point—time to reflect and adjust course is essential.

At the end of the day, these teams work for their customers and when the customer needs change, so should the direction and the approach that the team takes.

Can’t or won’t say “no”: In successful and strong transformation teams, the ability to say “no” is crucial. That does not mean rejecting business requests, but rather working to prioritize and justify why things can or can’t be done.

Not understanding the capacity available can put the transformation team at risk. Senior managers and executives often look for a sounding board and an independent review of what might be possible. Don’t be shy to speak your mind and seek to understand and learn.  

Transformation is about saying “no” as much as it is about saying, “Yes, we can.” It’s important to keep the organization honest to its true ability to implement change and work together with your customers to create something that works.

And finally, during a transformation it’s important to stay humble and always seek to learn. Don’t let your ego stand between you and a successful business transformation. But that’s another topic for another day.

Stay tuned!

Posted by Jess Tayel on: December 10, 2017 10:39 PM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Business Transformation With the End in Mind

When market environments or conditions shift, organizations must often make fundamental changes to how they operate in order to cope

Business transformations—which are initiated in reaction to current or foreseen pain points, such as cost reductions, capability builds or digital transformation—create a new capability or a new reality in a sustainable, consistent and collaborative way

The process should be like film making

In filmmaking, everything starts with an initial story or a vision of what the film will be about, the message it is going to send, the general purpose and so forth. I have no doubt that great film directors can actually see the film in their head before anything is spent or made.

Leaders of business transformation programs must also understand their purpose and visualize success at all levels—including the end game—before making a single change.

At the same time, leaders should have a thorough understanding of the people involved and the business processes being changed. Before executing on tactical projects, a successful transformation should first seek a clearly defined purpose and attain a solid understanding of people and processes. After all, people and processes are the binding fabric of all transformation efforts.

The People

You must understand how the change you are bringing will affect how people behave, communicate, think and do business. To me, people are the single most important aspect of ensuring a successful and sustainable transformation.

So, start by understanding:

  • The landscape: Who is involved?
  • The motives and agenda of all affected.
  • How will those affected view success?
  • Answer the “What is in it for me?” question.
  • The baseline of skills and career aspirations for those involved. If you don’t, you could set those affected up to fail when you implement a change that is not supported by their aspirations or skillset.

That should serve as a good basis to build quality engagement and communications. The goal is to create a collaborative and transparent platform to ensure that all requirements are captured.

The Process

People and process go hand in hand. You cannot understand one without the other.

A successful business transformation seeks to understand the current processes, variations, inconsistencies, pain points and interdependencies before venturing into changing systems, organizational structure or implementing a new way of doing business.

A business process to a transformation is like a compass to a ship. It ensures the business transformation team is:

  • Moving in the right direction.
  • Focused on true issues or opportunities.
  • Understanding the complexity of changing the way business is done and the interfaces and dependencies this might entail on other parts of the business.
  • Rallying the troops around processes rather than around people.
  • Using meaningful metrics to measure success.

Has your organization undergone a transformation recently? How did you ensure you were moving in the right direction?

Posted by Jess Tayel on: May 24, 2017 11:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (7)
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