Take today’s 1-minute assessment:
- Do your projects start with a well-known set of defined activities, that people will do, in an integrated and coherent way, to develop and support the products and services, that your business partner is requesting? (A mouthful, but follow along. Reread it if you have to.)
- Do you have a shared vision for the deliverable across the team, including 3rd parties, as well as those folks on the other side of the country, and those on the other continent?
- Do you integrate the plans of the various contributors? It’s OK if they’re loosely coupled, as long as there is some overarching and controlling view of it all.
- Do you then manage the project using that integrated plan?
- Do you coordinate, and facilitate collaborative sessions, with the teams? Consider how well you manage dependencies, and resolve coordination issues.
- Do you exercise change management across the integrated team?
- Does communication flow easily up, down, and across the integrated teams?
Did you answer NO to any of these questions? If so, you might have opportunity to improve the way you set up and manage your projects, and involve your stakeholders.
Consider goodness when starting projects, right out of the gate, and help each project through a well-known series of start-up events, to assure consistent and thorough kickoff.
These events take the wonderful and varied mix of people on the project, through a number of well-scripted exercises, to get them to discuss and formalize initial scope, charter, and plan.
It is an opportunity to agree to the organizational processes that the people on the project will use, to get to know one another, to break bread together, to create vernacular and enjoy the camaraderie, to find early risks, to impart vision, to gain commitment, and to assure one another that we’ve each got the others back.
See You Get What You Don’t Pay For, and consider this: invest in the Project Start-Up Coach, a group of respected, senior project and program managers. This is not a junior position. These are the folks who know how to make it happen. Leverage them at the source, at the fount, of where each project in your organization begins.
Spread their smarts across it all. Provide them the talent they need to then continuously intervene in those projects, in value-added ways, not as auditors but as mentors and coaches, to further help in facilitating major milestone events for those projects now underway. Leverage your leaders to create more leaders.
The lifecycle will maybe manifest itself through some extra-sensory magic that is unique to your organization. But I doubt it. You need to apply levers to keep pushing the rock uphill until you reach a point, and then let it roll.
© Michael C. Simonelli, onthegocio.com, 2013
Don’t boil the ocean – a clichéd caution against over-ambition and a lack of focus. We imagine steam rising from waters, salty spray, a scene almost primeval. But is this good advice for organizations seeking meaningful and lasting change? Putting a kettle up might be okay for tweaking things as they are, but sometimes we need to act in a way more disruptive and reaching. Should we be willing to throw caution to the wind, just a bit, when faced with such a challenge?
A vision for organizational change imagines a rejuvenated and improved state of affairs, across a broad seascape. Otherwise it’s a vision for something less, a point initiative, a narrow improvement. IT practice is systemic, a cultural phenomenon based on hand-offs, stand-offs, and interlocking pieces. Wiggle a wrist, and the hand flexes, the elbow braces, while the shoulder, back, and neck, resonate in support. Wiggle enough parts and soon the joint’s jumping’! Likewise with organizational change. An ocean wave begets another, and so on ….
Consider the potential benefit of spreading our lessons learned across a wide span of initiatives that evolve together, each nudging the other to a success greater than the parts. Is boiling maybe synonymous with executing a well-orchestrated and calculated program for change?
Consider the standard frameworks out there like COBIT, ITIL, CMMI, and other favorites, whatever might be right for what’s at hand. These are templates to frame change, end-states of the ocean successfully boiled, manuals of how to agitate the molecules of various process and service areas, to heat things up, to get us to where we’re heading.
Be cautious of under-ambition. It is difficult to effect meaningful and sustained change in just one or two service or process areas. It’s all interrelated, and the idea that the organization can neatly isolate these practices is not always an effective one. Look to advance meaningful combinations – like Change, Release, Software Configuration, Test Data, Environments, and Quality Assurance – as a package of ability which over time evolves to higher levels of maturity.
© Michael C. Simonelli, onthegocio.com, 2013