Monday, April 13, 2015

Delivering Maximum Benefit From A Business Improvement Project Portfolio

The pain of change has to be worth it, so maximizing benefits for the whole organization across a portfolio of projects, hopefully process rich in nature, is a must. Market pressures and the need to respond to rapid change have fundamentally changed the rules of business. To compete in this environment, a large energy company invested in programs to improve performance while managing the bottom line. 

Managing Change Efforts:

Despite the significant amount of investment and effort, realizing value from these change programs is still a challenge for most organizations. Traditional project management in most companies is still focused on managing work breakdown structures to ensure on-time and under-budget delivery. Delivering programs on-time and under-budget is critical but if the business fails to adopt the proposed changes or realize the intended value, is the project truly a success? For a project to be truly successful, the change must be adopted and embraced by the organization and business benefits must be realized quickly. This puts new emphasis on change management and value realization.

The Company's Challenge:

This energy company traditionally executed initiatives with a heavy focus on time and budget tracking by leveraging an industry-leading PPM platform. In parallel, the change management team managed organizational change through a series of spreadsheets and presentations. Being able to continually assess the ‘health’ of the overall program and quickly surface potential issues was critical to success. However, the existing tools and process failed to deliver on two fronts. Once the initiatives were complete, tracking the returned value became difficult. In addition, spreadsheets provided only a single snapshot of the portfolio and it was thus difficult to identify trends (track KPIs) and proactively address issues.

With significant business and technology initiatives underway, a more robust change management program was needed to ensure the initiatives would return the promised benefit. The challenge is not merely to complete tasks in a project plan, but to ensure the organization executes effectively with a focus on returning value.

The Solution Required a New Approach:

The solution needed to be easy to use and quick to deliver value. The organization turned to a cloud-based business execution application. Utilizing this new technology in a collaborative fashion, the organization was able implement a new, more robust change management program in a matter of weeks. This new collaboration technology enabled the organization to capture a set of health measures for each initiative that are represented in scorecards, dashboards and heatmaps to quickly identify trends or at-risk initiatives. Where potential risks are identified, integrated action plans are developed and monitored to mitigate the risk. After projects are completed, this technology maintains key health measures and KPIs to ensure the initiatives continue to deliver the desired impact to the business. See an example executive dashboard with a summary heat map below:

Significant Results:

The organization was able to quickly identify value from this new approach and supporting technology within a matter of weeks. New initiative scorecards are now created and rolled up into heatmaps providing a more accurate and objective view of the true ‘health’ of the portfolio.
Not only is the health of the program more accurate, it is also timelier. Quarterly program reviews has been replaced with monthly action-planning meetings to identify risks earlier in an initiative’s lifecycle, saving time and money. Within these meetings, joint action plans are developed and managed for each risk and updates are delivered throughout the month automatically to the relevant stakeholders. 

Net; Net: 

Getting the most out of your change programs and incremental transformation efforts is the larger goal for many organizations today. The new approach, supported by new technology, allowed the energy company to maximize the results over a large portfolio of change projects. 

This is a highly summarized and anonymous case study provided by Shibumi 

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