Senior Managers and Executives agree on Transformation success factors

Insights | 21 April 2016

Organisations are undertaking more and more large scale change.

Our recent PMO Survey report found that senior managers and executives from a broad range of business environments are mutually aligned on what contributes to transformation success. Our survey participants consisted of senior Programme Managers, Transformation Managers, PMO Managers and Executives, resulting in the following consensus across the board:

Clarity is key. Conventional programme management best practice is an excellent base vehicle for executing major change, accomplishing pre-defined objectives, and helping the organisation achieve its goals, however, if changes and goals are not clearly defined, accessible, and fostered by stakeholders, a transformation’s success will perish. Equally as important is conscious alignment with the overall business strategy; an unquestionable must-have for sustainability and success. Stakeholders involved in transformation need to be on the same page, maintaining a relentless focus on business value and outcomes throughout.

Change-culture drives successful outcomes. Those surveyed also emphasised their first-hand experience in the value of harmonious relationships across stakeholders. Emotional maturity and the ability to support and advocate each other through change is seen to be equally as critical as technical capability. Strong, functioning relationships and a culture receptive to change, along with defined executive sponsor engagement increases credibility and buy-in as a project progresses; these factors should be aligned and upheld from the get-go.

Don’t go in blind and under-resourced. While buy-in and engagement are crucial, underpinning the transformational strategy with strong programme management and PMO support is also a must-have. Our PMO survey found only 21% of organisations that run transformation Programmes within the PMO are aligned to a Programme Management best practice (MSP® or PMI® Programme Management Standard). Change initiatives must be run by experienced people in order to understand and cater for complexity, design authority, strategy management, communication astuteness, governance and risk management. In short, a lack of experience and attempting to learn on the job is a sure road to failure.

Understand the PMOs role. Although it’s the obvious choice for running transformations, simply handing it over to an existing PMO with the mandate to ‘just get on with it’ can create challenges. Our surveyed participants at the executive level had a general consensus that the PMO is responsible for supporting and developing the roadmap for strategic initiatives. While PMOs are in fact core to transformation execution, some transformations benefit from also establishing a Transformation Management Office (TMO) for its duration. Often, a successful PMO will create the structure for understanding of roles and responsibilities, working closely with the TMO in implementing and maintaining momentum and outcomes.

The role of the TMO. Based upon the nature of the Transformation, maturity of the organisation and PMO, a decision can be made regarding the need for/composition of a TMO. Key functions typically include strategy management to steer and set direction, mature PMO practices, design authority, operating model, procurement, transition management and underpinning value management to track and measure the outcome.

Need to manage business change with minimal disruption? PM-Partners can advise on the appropriate set up, structure, roles and governance to ensure transformation success.

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