How to speed up your transformation delivery: tips from an expert
Lee Almond, a transformation delivery lead at CGI, shares her insights on how to overcome common challenges and achieve faster results in your change programmes.
Why you need a clear vision and a strong team
Whether you are leading or supporting a transformation programme, you probably have a goal to deliver it as quickly and efficiently as possible, to maximise the benefits for your customers, organisation and staff. But how do you ensure that your programme stays on track and avoids unnecessary delays or risks? In this article, I will share some of the lessons I have learned from my experience as a transformation delivery lead and assurance reviewer for complex change programmes.
One of the key factors that can make or break a programme is having a clear, compelling vision that guides the business case, the scope and the alignment of all the workstreams. A vision statement is not just a nice-to-have, it is a must-have for any successful programme. It provides a constant reference point for the programme team and the supply chain, to help them focus on the desired outcomes and the value they are creating. It also helps to motivate and inspire the team, especially when they face challenges or difficulties. Without a clear vision, a programme can easily fall into the trap of scope creep, where the original objectives are lost or diluted, and the delivery becomes slower, more expensive and less effective. It can also lead to reduced stakeholder and customer confidence, which can jeopardise the funding and the viability of the programme.
A clear vision statement should also be accompanied by a programme charter, which defines the values and behaviours expected of everyone involved in the programme, including the delivery team, the suppliers and the key stakeholders. A programme charter helps to create a positive and collaborative culture, where everyone is working towards the same goal and adhering to the same standards. It also helps to address any issues or conflicts that may arise, by providing a framework to challenge and resolve them, at pace, before they affect the delivery. A programme charter should be reviewed and updated regularly, to ensure that it reflects the current reality and the feedback from the team and the stakeholders.
How to tackle common delivery issues in-flight
Having a clear vision and a strong team is not enough to guarantee a smooth and fast delivery. Many other factors can slow down or derail a programme, especially in complex and dynamic environments. The key is to identify and address these issues as soon as possible, using the expertise and tools available within your team or from external sources. Here are some of the top areas that I have encountered in my delivery programmes and assurance reviews, and some suggestions on how to deal with them:
- Funding and financial management: this is particularly critical in the public sector, where budgets are often tight and subject to changes. You need to have a regular and rigorous review of your programme finances, comparing your forecast with your actuals, and reporting any variances or issues as soon as they arise. You also need to have a clear understanding of the funding sources and mechanisms for your programme, and the processes and requirements to secure them. If you encounter any funding gaps or risks, you need to escalate them within your organisation and explore the options to mitigate them, otherwise they can have a severe impact on your programme delivery and your future phases.
- Resources: having the right people with the right skills and experience is essential for any programme delivery. You need to have a robust resource management process, where you identify your resource needs, source them from the best available options, and monitor their performance and availability. You also need to have a contingency plan, in case you lose or lack some of the key resources for your programme. This may involve recruiting, using professional services, or borrowing resources from other programmes. You also need to ensure that your resources are motivated, engaged and supported, by providing them with clear roles and responsibilities, regular feedback and recognition, and opportunities for learning and development.
- Service integration and delivery approaches: when you are working with multiple suppliers and delivery teams, you need to have a clear and consistent way of integrating and coordinating their work, to ensure that they are aligned and delivering as expected. This may involve having dedicated resources for service integration, defining common working practices and standards, and using agile methodologies and tools to manage the delivery. You also need to have a clear and transparent way of reporting on the progress, the quality and the risks of the delivery, using key performance indicators and dashboards, and ensuring that any issues or blockers are resolved quickly and effectively.
- Planning: having a realistic and up-to-date plan is crucial for any programme delivery, especially in agile environments, where the plan needs to be constantly reviewed and adjusted. You need to have excellent planning skills in your programme team, who can create and maintain a plan that covers the short-term and the long-term objectives, the dependencies and the interdependencies, the milestones and the deliverables, and the risks and the assumptions. You also need to communicate your plan clearly and regularly to your senior stakeholders and your customers, to keep them informed and satisfied with your progress.
- Inter-dependency management: managing the dependencies and the interdependencies between your programme and other programmes or projects is vital for your delivery success, especially in complex change programmes. You need to have a defined methodology and tools to identify, track and report on your dependencies, and to agree on the roles and responsibilities of the owners and the deliverers. You also need to have a regular and effective governance process, where you review and update your dependencies, and escalate and resolve any issues or conflicts that may arise.
- Collaboration methodologies and tools: having a good collaboration culture and infrastructure is key for any programme team and any suppliers that are part of the delivery. You need to have a clear and agreed way of working together, sharing information and knowledge, and making decisions. You also need to have the right tools and platforms to support your collaboration, such as cloud-based document management systems, video conferencing tools, instant messaging tools, and online whiteboards. These tools and platforms should be accessible, secure and reliable, and should enable your team to work effectively and efficiently, regardless of their location or time zone.
- Data: data is often a critical element of any transformation programme, whether it involves transforming the data handling, storage, quality, or governance of a key operation or function. You need to have a clear and comprehensive understanding of your data requirements, challenges and opportunities, and to scope and plan your data workstream accordingly. You also need to have the skills and expertise in your programme team to lead and deliver your data workstream and to ensure that it meets the standards and expectations of your stakeholders and your customers. You also need to have a robust data governance process, where you define and enforce the roles, responsibilities, policies and procedures for managing your data throughout its lifecycle.
This is not an exhaustive list, but I hope it gives you some flavour of the common delivery issues that I have seen and some ideas on how to overcome them. If you would like to follow up on any of this, or if you need any support or advice on your transformation delivery, please feel free to contact me at Lee.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned for more insights on data governance
Data governance is an area that I am passionate about and that I think is key for the success of any transformation programme, especially when it involves implementing artificial intelligence or machine learning tools. In my next post, I will share some of the best practices and lessons learned on data governance, and how to make it work for your programme and your organisation. Stay tuned! https://www.cgi.com/uk/en-gb/central-government