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Pathway Through PMO Maturity

Pathway towards improving PMO Maturity

Pathway towards improving PMO Maturity 1050 700 StrategicFront

In our recent post we discussed the 5 levels of assessing PMO maturity in your organization including: awareness, repeatable, defined, managed, optimized.

The maturity level is just a yardstick of where a PMO stands today – what you do with that information defines the continuous growth journey of a PMO.

The success of a PMO involves gaining a strong insight on the key capabilities and practices that contribute to the maturity level. Each of the key capabilities and practices, when applied at its best, helps run the overall PMO in a consistent, measured and optimized way. It helps the PMO ‘run like a business’, understand its clients and their goals/needs, and meet those needs. The capabilities and practices lays down a foundation to support a PMO towards improving the PMO maturity level.

So, what are those key capabilities and practices that a PMO must focus on?

Key capabilities and practices of a PMO to ensure optimal business performance:

  • Organizational Governance: assess how well the organization controls the initiation and alignment of its investments with the corporate strategy.
  • Management Control: assess how well the organization maintains control of the initiatives currently “in flight”.
  • Benefits Management: assess how well the organization defines, tracks and ensures achievement of performance improvement from the investment.
  • Risk Management: assess how well the organization focuses on and mitigates the impact of threats and the leveraging of opportunities.
  • Stakeholder Management: assess how well the organization controls the initiation and alignment of its investments with the corporate strategy.
  • Finance Management: assess how well the organization controls the initiation and alignment of its investments with the corporate strategy.
  • Resource Management: assess how well the organization controls the initiation and alignment of its investments with the corporate strategy.

StrategicFront follows a standard approach to ensure proper planning and execution of the PMO Maturity Assessment initiatives:

  • Scoping & Planning including PMO stakeholder identification and detailed planning of the Maturity Assessment initiative.
  • Kick-Off including preparation and conducting kick-off with all identified stakeholders.
  • Self-Assessment & Interviews including detailed self-assessment and interviews.
  • Reporting including producing a PMO Maturity Level reports, with insights on each of the capabilities and practices.
  • Goal Setting and Roadmap for Improvement including identifying future maturity goals and developing a roadmap towards the improvement journey.

How can we help?

StrategicFront offers a unique approach by integrating Project, Process, and Change Management to deliver on client’s business goals. Our team of highly skilled and experienced practitioners have led successful projects across all areas including: banking, technology, retail, and professional services.

Need help to evaluate your organizations PM maturity needs – we’d be happy to speak with you. Email us at info@strategicfront.com or call 416-915-4141. We look forward to hearing from you.

Effective Change Management Approach

Plan, Execute, and Sustain – a 3-Step Approach to Effective Change Management

Plan, Execute, and Sustain – a 3-Step Approach to Effective Change Management 1350 900 StrategicFront

In a recent article, we shared the 5 Factors to Successful Change Management Adoption. And while adoption is definitely a critical factor of change implementation, there are several prior important steps that one needs to consider to successfully implement any change initiative.

3 Stages of the Change Management Process

Effective change management is a combination of planning, executing, and sustaining the change initiative. Each stage has significant value in the change process and we examine each stage from a perspective of leading with the head, hand, and heart.

Plan Change with Your Head

The planning stage for Change Management starts concurrently with Project Planning. During this stage we are laying out the foundation for a successful change initiative by evaluating the readiness, resources, scope and plan. During the Plan Change stage, we want to ensure we’re covering the following:

  • Change Readiness Assessment
  • Change Scope Identification
  • Develop a Presentation of Detailed Plan

Planning change with your head means thinking through the impact of your decision and creating a roadmap from start to finish. Its about seeing the BIG picture and having a vision of the end goal and the impact it will create on your initiative.

Execute Change with Your Hand

The execution stage is where the rubber meets the road – each of the Change Components defined below is addressed during the Execute Change stage:

  • User Involvement: Ensuring user and people involvement in defining the change
  • Leadership Commitment: Obtaining effective sponsorship and leadership engagement
  • Training: Delivering appropriate training programs
  • Coaching: Developing change champions and providing hands on support to users
  • Organizational Performance: Defining organizational functions and performance standards
  • Communications: Developing and delivering appropriate communications messages
  • Metrics and Measurements: Defining and tracking metrics for benefits realization

Executing with the ‘hand’ means having a defined plan of action that will result in less missed deadlines and avoiding getting side tracked by other activities.

Sustain Change with Your Heart

Finally, change efforts needs to be sustained throughout the long-term existence of the organization – that means making change stick! Ongoing reinforcement of the change and evolution of the Desired Future Stage is managed in this final Control Change stage.

Sustaining change with the heart means having a people first approach and focusing on the human aspect of change. By mobilizing people to be on your side and seeing the impact of change as a positive benefit for them, the change initiative becomes easier to implement and has lasting adoption.

Finding a Balance

Change doesn’t happen overnight and it takes time to learn team dynamics and company culture. Most people within an organization rarely see change coming and often hear about it through un-ideal mediums such as email for the first time.

Therefore, ensuring you have a solid plan that combines planning, execution and sustainment, will help you successfully navigate your change initiative.

How can we help?

StrategicFront offers a unique approach by integrating Project, Process, and Change Management to deliver on client’s business goals. Our team of highly skilled and experienced practitioners have led successful projects across all areas including: banking, technology, retail, and professional services.

Do you have a special initiative that may need support? We’d be happy to speak with you! Email us at info@strategicfront.com to get in touch.

Successfully Integrate AI

4 Tips on Successfully Integrating AI in your Workplace – the Human Approach!

4 Tips on Successfully Integrating AI in your Workplace – the Human Approach! 1050 700 StrategicFront

“47% of all employment opportunities will be occupied by machines within the next two decades. Yet 80% of all Americans believe that they will be able to maintain their livelihood after the prophesized robotic boom.” – Oxford University

Throughout history, human kind has gone through technological advances, and with each advance workers’ feared that machines would take over, making their labour obsolete. Yet time has proven this is not the case. Instead modern technology has enabled workers to achieve greater efficiencies while working side by side with technology.

Working SMARTER NOT HARDER!

AI has taken the business world by storm permeating each sector from customer service, accounting and law – for example, chatbots are imitating human like customer service interactions, AI machine learning applications are analyzing law contracts in a fraction of the time, and accounting software is eliminating the mundane tasks of number crunching by learning algorithms.

The benefits of AI in the modern workplace are clear. The question then becomes – how do we properly integrate AI in the workplace? How do we ensure the current human workers embrace the new technology and maintain performance and morale?

Integrating AI in the Workplace – The Human Approach

The key to successfully integrating AI in any workplace is to apply a human approach. AI should be seen as a tool that employees leverage to streamline activities and save time.

Map processes according to task specialization: Understand and assign tasks based on individual specialties i.e. AI is better at processing large data quickly or doing repetitive tasks accurately, while humans are better at analytical problem solving and relationship building.

Create strong governance: Develop and implement a set of governance policies including roles and responsibilities to ensure AI is working within pre-defined organizational parameters.

Adopt a human approach: Understand that AI is a tool for the human worker. Its purpose is to improve the human workers effectiveness and efficiency.

Train employees to work alongside AI efficiently: Provide training and support to help employees understand the new technology and how it can enhance their work.

Ultimately its about setting the appropriate governance, roles and responsibilities and following a human approach that will ensure successful integration of AI within your company.

StrategicFront has lead several successful AI integration projects at leading banks and professional services firms – we have the experience and unique approach of combining project, process and change management principles to ensure successful delivery of AI initiatives.

Want to learn more about how we can help your AI endeavours – connect with us! We look forward to hearing from you.

Assessing PMO Maturity

5 Levels for Assessing PMO Maturity in Your Organization

5 Levels for Assessing PMO Maturity in Your Organization 1056 694 StrategicFront

Typically, in larger organizations the evolution of project management lags behind development of other capabilities such as finance, operations, HR, etc. Only when the need for project management becomes critical do companies pay attention to improving their project management capabilities.

This lack of foresight frequently creates an environment where PM capabilities are not in place to support the need of the project management community and other business stakeholders.

Eventually, we need to take a proactive look at the infrastructure necessary to progress in project management capability. Often, this happens when executive management takes proactive action to make change, but the question is “what sort of action and what’s the desired outcome”?

The “PM Maturity and PMO Methodology”

StrategicFront follows a proven approach towards PMO Maturity Assessment and considers critical success factors such as:

  • Looks at the “whole system” of a PMO organization and provides a yardstick to measure across multiple LOB PMOs and role up to Enterprise PMO.
  • Designed to be independent. Agnostic to any particular body of knowledge or project delivery approach.
  • Provides a roadmap to improve PMO maturity based on organizational strategies and goals, and works with you to make the improvements.

The PMO Maturity Assessment

Our PMO Maturity Assessment follows a 5-level maturity model for assessment of PMO Maturity.

LEVEL 1 – Awareness/Ad hoc: Does the organization recognize programs and projects, and run an informal list of investments in programs and projects? (There may be no formal tracking and documenting process).

LEVEL 2 – Repeatable: Does the organization ensure that each program and /or project in its various portfolios is run with it s own processes and procedures to a minimum specified standard? (There may be limited consistency or coordination between portfolios).

LEVEL 3 – Defined: Does the organization have its own centrally controlled portfolio processes and can individual initiatives flex within these?

LEVEL 4 – Managed: Does the organization obtain and retain specific management metrics on its whole portfolio of programs and projects as a means of predicting future performance. Does the organization asses its capacity to manage programs and projects, and prioritize them accordingly?

LEVEL 5 – Optimized: Does the organization run continual process improvement with proactive problem and technology management for portfolio in order to improve its ability to predict performance over time and optimize processes?

Ask yourself the above questions as you’re conducting a maturity assessment for your organization to ensure you have the desired outcome. The overall PMO Maturity is broken down into Perspectives based on organizational practices that are more meaningful to a PMO.

How can we help?

StrategicFront offers a unique approach by integrating Project, Process, and Change Management to deliver on client’s business goals. Our team of highly skilled and experienced practitioners have led successful projects across all areas including: banking, technology, retail, and professional services.

Need help to evaluate your organizations PM maturity needs – we’d be happy to speak with you. Email us at info@strategicfront.com or call 416-915-4141. We look forward to hearing from you.

Agile Process Management Blog

Case for Agile Process Management

Case for Agile Process Management 1000 667 StrategicFront

When designing processes, we are accustomed to the Six Sigma methodology and its stated DMAIC model – that is primarily composed of the following major stages: Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, Control.

The DMAIC approach is equivalent to the Waterfall model of Systems Development, where they have phases that comprise of: Requirements, Design, Develop, Test and Deploy.

The Systems Development methodologies have long transitioned from the Waterfall approach to a more versatile Agile approach. Time-to-market a product launch is shorter in the Agile approach, and one can use live feedback mechanisms to continuously improve product capabilities as the market uses the products through its progressive elaboration.

A similar Agile in process improvement initiatives is long due. We can no longer use the DMAIC approach to define full end-to-end processes and expect to implement that to precision through a prolonged period of time – business just does not run that way.

Embracing the Agile Process Management requires a culture of continuous improvement – where an organization would detect a problem, identify a few root causes, fix those, test how things run and improve on additional business needs in increments. If we were to define the full scope of a process initiative and implement that in its entirety, then the elongated time needed to do this may miss the opportunity to address the business issue on time.

The following are key steps one can consider to implement an Agile Process Management:

  1. Identify organizational strategy and goals
  2. Define the problem
  3. Conduct current state assessment
  4. Identify and prioritize root cause
  5. Define Future State to Eliminate SOME of the root causes
  6. Implement Future State for the highest prioritized root causes
  7. Track the Problem / Identify additional root causes – Go Back to Step 1

To learn more about how you can leverage the benefits of Agile Process Management in your organizations, contact: info@strategicfront.com.

Successful Change Management Adoption

5 Factors to Successful Change Management Adoption

5 Factors to Successful Change Management Adoption 1100 733 StrategicFront

People have a natural tendency to revert to what they are familiar and comfortable with – hence Adoption is critical to success of any change management initiative. Yet, because adoption steps come later in the change process, they are often neglected.

As a business innovates and enables new ways of working, employees often need support and education to adopt new methods. Consider the following principles when implementing your next change initiative.

5 Factors to Successful Change Adoption

1. Shared Vision: When starting any change effort, it’s the change leader’s job to deliver the vision of the future state, and inspire others to move towards it. People are more committed to work towards the change when there is a clear vision or a ‘a unified reason for change’.

2. Accountability starts at the TOP!: Leadership accountability is a critical factor when it comes to gaining buy-in for the change. Participation, communication, resource commitment, sharing the vision early and often—each one of these actions demonstrates leadership’s commitment to the change.

3. Stakeholder Involvement: Change Leaders must not only understand who the stakeholders are, but also the level of support each has for the change effort and the degree to which each can affect it (positively or negatively). Understanding, supporting and establishing two-way communication with stakeholders is critical to successful adoption of change.

4. Enabling Behaviour: Individuals respond differently to change, so change leaders need to provide support, training and coaching to keep the change effort moving forward without alienating stakeholders. Successful change leaders must recognize and reinforce desirable behavior by celebrating small wins, providing ongoing feedback on the progress of the change, and remembering that each individual moves along the change curve differently.

5. Measure Metrics: Metrics are critical to measuring adoption success. Whether your metrics track process, personnel or financial performance, change requires leaders to examine and realign the current measurement systems to support the change effort in each area. Too often, contradictory metrics exist, driving old behaviors and eroding support for the change.

3 Key Factors to Project Success

3 Key Factors to Project Success 1272 947 StrategicFront

According to a 2018 PMI Pulse of the Profession project management survey, which involved nearly 4500 project management practitioners, 446 senior executives and 800 project management office (PMO) directors from across the globe, there are three key factors that any organization should take into account to ensure project success.

1. Executive Sponsor Involvement

Actively engaged executive sponsors help organisations to bridge the communications gap between influencers and implementers. This results in a significant increase in collaboration and support, boosting project success rates and reducing risk.

To improve executive stakeholder involvement:

  • Create a culture that supports the relationship between project managers and executive sponsors;
  • Develop a roadmap, which includes skills and actions, for the executive sponsor; and
  • Provide training to prepare executive sponsors for various steps during project

2. Scope control

Scope creep (the uncontrolled expansion of product or project scope without adjustments to time, cost and resources) not only results in wasted money, but also decreases satisfaction and delays project benefits.

Among the factors leading to scope creep are a lack of clarity; changes to the organization’s priorities and project objectives, and flawed requirement gathering along with project complexity.

Risk of project creep can be reduced by:

  • Creating awareness of the business benefits;
  • Establishing a credible feedback loop with the customer; and
  • Taking iterative approaches that allow for shifts in delivery midstream.

3. Clear Communications

Projects often ‘fail’ because we simply fail to clearly articulate the vision and the project’s success criteria. This vision must be successfully communicated to each stakeholder and team member. The whole team should be able to visualise the end result, in order to work towards a common goal.

Regular reporting of the project’s progress and status is crucial to the success of the project. Communicating this to all stakeholders in a clear and precise manner is paramount, so that all understand the key messages. Diagrams, charts, graphs and tables should be maximized here. The well known saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” is no less true than when communicating project progress or status.

Effective and efficient project management communication is delivered by first considering the needs of the audience you are intending to communicate with, put yourself in their shoes and anticipate what they need to understand, and then provide that understanding only. Strong presentation skills are essential for communicating project progress and status. The audience needs to be engaged during these presentations to check that the key messages have been received and understood.

To improve communication on projects:

  • Be fully engaged, listen and understand concerns of all stakeholders throughout the project.
  • Regular, ongoing and transparent communication is key to ensure everyone agrees and works towards project goals.
  • Using the appropriate communication channels and tools to deliver messages will ensure audience receives and retains the information.