VOICES In the Trenches
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consultant was brought in. Though all levels of the
organization were skeptical that turnaround was
even possible, a few key steps were taken to get the
program back on track:
1. The right resources for the right tasks. A
small number of consultants who were familiar
with the industry, the company and the products were brought in.
2. Back to the basics. The requirements were revisited. Functional requirements were detailed, and
technical requirements were clarified. Business
process improvements and workflow changes
were incorporated. Business users were engaged in
defining the improvements for further buy-in.
3. Clarity on governance and communication.
The roles of the team and program governance
were clearly defined. Governance meant just
enough process as needed—nothing more,
nothing less. The project team identified communication paths, and executive communication
was delegated to the stakeholders and program
manager on a biweekly schedule. Project statuses
were reduced to once a week.
4. Development and architecture were better
integrated into the project meetings. The business team, analysts, quality control experts and
technologists discussed the weekly development
deliverables together so there were no surprises
by the time the second prototype was presented.
Usability became a key component of success.
After three months of rigor, the program
started to show clear transformation and progress. While these are a few steps that worked
in this case, there is no universal recipe to turn
around troubled programs. The challenge is to
find the right approach that will work with the
organization’s DNA—the way it does business,
its culture and its values. PM
How to handle the challenges of moving
to a large organization.
By Amr Sadek, PMP
WHETHER YOU’RE A NEW PROJECT MANAGER
or an experienced one, moving from a small organization to a large one is challenging. It’s not just
that the company is bigger. It can also mean more
layers of management, more dependencies and
more complex processes.
Below are four of the hurdles you might face,
along with suggested solutions.
A DIVERSE MULTITUDE OF STAKEHOLDERS
In big organizations, you will usually need to work
with stakeholders other than your direct team members. These stakeholders—such as R&D, marketing, sales, operations and support—may not all be
housed in the same location, and they often don’t
share the same priorities.
You should use the stakeholder register and build
a dedicated communication plan with different communication tools and techniques for different stakeholders. Two-way communication is a must—this is
no place for the classic status email that sits unread
in an inbox.
The steering committee is another helpful tool
found at some larger organizations. This committee
allows you to bring management and project sponsors
together to provide status updates and more easily
receive the support needed to carry out the project.
Because of big firms’ complex organizational structure, the communication of goals from the top of the
hierarchy to the bottom is not always clear. This can
cause project team members to question the reason
and the value of what they’re doing.
As a project manager, you must ask the right
questions of management and the sponsors to
Deniz A. Johnson, PMP, is a consultant and founder
of Pera-Partners LLC, a management consulting
firm specializing in I T strategy/implementation,
business transformation, program management
and IT governance in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.