Ideally a business transformation should start with the creation and validation of the right strategy, followed by strong execution that’s actively driven from the top.
The transformation is led by a seasoned veteran appointed to the Executive with the mandate and authority to get the right people in the tent and address all decisions about personnel, investments and direction. However, transformations that change complete business operating models often tend to evolve and so does the scope, pace of change and complexity. Reforming and validating the strategy then becomes a parallel initiative. Consequently, transformation execution design is heavily dependent upon the uniqueness and risk profile of the change, coupled with the organisation’s maturity in execution. There’s rarely a single cookie cutter approach to transformation success.
Establishing a Transformation Management Office could help
Even within the formal structures – such as established project management offices; and possessing the skills and experience to ensure consistent execution of volumes of projects/programmes of work – the right combination of temporary skills at the right time is rarely available.
The Transformation Management Office can help a) form a cross-functional team of the organisation’s most talented and creative people, b) work with internal support functions such as the PMO to leverage fit for purpose standards and controls, c) bring in the right external talent at the right time; and d) support the Transformation Manager to get the initiative up and running with minimal business disruption.
Organisations are often deeply resistant to change, a key advantage of a TMO is that it can be set up to addresses the specific nature and needs of the transformation (whilst not getting caught up in the broader organisation).
The TMO should be designed to scale both in capability and capacity as the Transformation evolves and should be effectiveness driven, providing different skill combinations to:
- Ensure strategy management and design authority functions are in place and balanced with organisational circumstances and culture (degree to which the business model must shift)
- Regularly review the strategic objective, aligning prioritising and re-focusing transformation effort to safeguard and realise value
- Determine the highest priorities to align Programme Delivery whilst prioritising projects into a mix of long-term initiatives and a set of quick wins that would demonstrate early success
- Ensure the complex (normally disruptive) change is well thought through and managed whilst guiding senior executives to deal with the resulting political and cultural complexity
- Ensure complex master schedule dependencies inside and outside the transformation are visible, understood and sequenced
- Prioritise outcome over process by using the most efficient and effective way
While the above is certainly not a comprehensive list of what the TMO needs to do, a focus on these would certainly avoid some of the challenges that I have seen.
If you plan on undertaking a major transformation in the near future, we’d love to learn more about your plans. Our experienced consultants can help from initial strategy to the rapid design, build and operation of a Transformation Management Office.