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breakfast & learn

Breakfast & Learn for Project Management Leaders

Breakfast & Learn for Project Management Leaders 1650 1100 StrategicFront

In large 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. 

But a proactive approach is the best way to be prepared for growth and business changes. What is the best way to achieve acceleration and progress in your project management?

On June 25th, StrategicFront in partnership with Sciforma will host a networking Breakfast & Learn event, during which we will discuss the following topics:

  • A maturity model for assessing your PMO maturity, and how to ask the right questions to achieve the desired outcome
  • Looking at your “whole system” of a PMO organization and measure across multiple line-of-business PMOs and roll up to Enterprise PMO
  • Carving a pathway towards a continuous growth journey in PMO maturity
  • How technology plays a role as you mature your PMO

Join us June 25 for Breakfast & Learn presentations and networking event!

Date: Tuesday, June 25
Time: 8 AM to 11 AM
Location:
Downtown Toronto
WeWork Toronto
240 Richmond Street W
Toronto, ON M5V 2C5


Meet the Speakers

Farzad Khan, MBA, P.Eng., PMP
Management Consultant 
StrategicFront / Consulting

Rachel Atkins, PMP, BSc
Strategic Management Consultant 
StrategicFront / Consulting

Elise Mascret
Canada Sales Manager
Sciforma

StrategicFront & Sciforma will also present how a project and portfolio management tool can help you centralize your data and gain visibility needed to mature your PMO:

  • Manage a portfolio of projects and choose the “right” projects to launch, depending on your strategic issues, your risks, your cost constraints or deadlines.
  • Respect schedules in terms of deadlines or budgets, make specific commitments on projects, manage resources and optimize project plan.
  • Consolidate the workload of your resources and master the progress of your projects.
  • Monitor your projects and project data in real time.

Are you looking for project management help? Let’s talk!

Integrating Project, Process & Change Management to Maximize Business Value

Integrating Project, Process & Change Management to Maximize Business Value 2880 1622 StrategicFront

Last week StrategicFront’s Farzad Khan attended ProjectWorld*BusinessAnalystWorld Conference in Toronto to deliver a presentation on integrating Project, Process and Change Management to maximize business value. You can view the full presentation on our Youtube Channel or check out the highlights and the slides below!

Why Projects Fail

Statistics indicate organizations’ concern of project failure:

  • 97.5% of companies fail to complete all their projects successfully
  • 37% of the projects failed to achieve business objectives
  • 17% of IT projects go so badly, they threaten the existence of the company

Projects fail because organizations take a silo approach to three key interconnected ingredients that optimize business value: Project, Process & Change.

Common reasons for adopting an isolated approach:

  • Task Merging – considering process and change management as sub tasks of a project
  • Missing the Big Picture – failing to realize the importance of processes and the magnitude of its impact
  • Failure Within Success – too focused on project delivery, ignoring objectives of the organization
  • Ignoring Behavioural Aspects – failing to recognize the two different sides of a project: technical and human Side

Value of Project, Process & Change

Integrating project, process and change management results in success of your initiative. Successful project leaders follow an integrated approach for executing projects.

Maximizing business value through a strong integrated foundation of:

  • Project Management:
    • Maturity Assessment
    • Agile Project Management
    • Program & Project Delivery
  • Process Management:
    • Maturity Assessment
    • Business Process Design
    • Process Digitization & Automation
    • Robotic Process Automation
  • Change Management:
    • Change Assessment
    • Change Planning
    • Change Delivery

Results of an integrated project management approach:

  • Organization Objectives Met
  • Improved Human Experience
  • Project Execution Risk Minimized
  • Financial Targets Achieved
  • Delivery within assigned Timeline

Are you looking for project management help? Let’s talk!

pmo

Understanding PMO Maturity in Your Organization

Understanding PMO Maturity in Your Organization 1200 627 StrategicFront

Last week StrategicFront partnered with Sciforma to host a 1-hour webinar, in which we talked about a proven approach for assessing and maturing PMO in your organization.

Here are some highlights of the webinar, as well as the slides and the full recording.

What is a PMO?

A Project Management Office (PMO) is an essential component that enables the successful delivery of key initiatives for a department, unit or organization, and hence, enables its overall future success. An effective PMO should manage expectations, drive the right behaviours and, ensure the right level of communication and accountability.

A PMO is…

  • a centralized structure that eases and expedites the delivery of projects through good project management discipline and the application of appropriate governance
  • an entity that holds a holistic view of all projects and understands the business imperatives behind each initiative
  • an information channel to make key functional units, and all stakeholders aware of their roles and responsibilities
  • responsible for creating and communicating the overall project dashboard

A PMO is NOT…

  • intended to be an added level of unnecessary bureaucracy or overhead
  • doing the work but rather facilitating the execution in an integrated and consistent fashion
  • a roadblock to business growth
  • a manager of day-to-day business activities

A Viable PMO Should Provide Value

  • Contribute to business growth – inject project management discipline from strategy formulation through benefits realization
  • Reduce business risk – flexible, end-to-end project management process that balances rigor with overhead, with simple-to-use tools to plan, manage, track and report all project activities
  • Keep management informed – provide regular updates to the leadership / executive team and contribute to ongoing executive reporting as it pertains to the status of execution
  • Deliver successful projects – provide project management best practice discipline to guide and drive project delivery and realise desired benefits
  • Serve as PM expert – set the standard, provide the tools / templates, be the resident advocate and model for good Project Management practice while mentoring, guiding and training

5 Steps to Improve PMO Maturity

  1. Know the PMO functions/departments being assessed and plan the assessment project
  2. Get the people aligned and conduct a Kickoff to get everyone on the same page
  3. Conduct the assessment and know where your PMO Maturity Level is today
  4. Determine the desired level of PMO maturity based on organizational strategic goals
  5. Develop a Roadmap to achieve the desired PMO maturity level

Want to Learn More? Watch the Full Webinar


Are you looking for project management help? Let’s talk!

PMO maturity

Webinar: 5 Levels for Assessing PMO Maturity in Your Organization

Webinar: 5 Levels for Assessing PMO Maturity in Your Organization 2000 1466 StrategicFront

Assessing PMO Maturity in Your Organization

In large 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.

But a proactive approach is the best way to be prepared for growth and business changes. What is the best way to achieve acceleration and progress in your project management?

Date: Wednesday, May 8
Time: 10 AM – 11 AM Pacific
Duration: 1 Hour
Location: Online Webinar

In this 1-hour webinar, discover a proven approach for maturing your PMO in these areas:

  • A 5 level maturity model for assessing your PMO maturity, and how to ask the right questions to achieve the desired outcome.
  • Look at your “whole system” of a PMO organization and measure across multiple line-of-business PMOs and roll up to Enterprise PMO
  • Carving a pathway towards a continuous growth journey in PMO maturity
  • How technology plays a role as you mature your PMO

Join this webinar to discover more and ask your questions!


Meet the Speakers

Farzad Khan, MBA, P.Eng., PMP
Management Consultant
StrategicFront | Consulting

Farzad has more than 18 years of practice in management consulting and professional training.

Farzad develops and delivers training at leading academic institutions and works with top-tier consulting firms and corporate clients, primarily in banking, retail and professional services.


Rachel Atkins, PMP, BSc
Strategic Management Consultant
StrategicFront | Consulting

Rachel is a strategy and project consultant with over 20 years of experience in project and risk management. She has delivered pragmatic solutions to drive business transformations in top-tier consulting firms.

Rachel has been a key business influencer and trusted advisor to senior executives due to her seasoned business acumen and client commitment.

business process management

First Steps in Business Process Management

First Steps in Business Process Management 1388 924 StrategicFront

Many organizations are in the early stages of defining their business process management strategy. One of the goals is a push to digitizing business processes. In a study on digital transformation it was found that 89% of organizations have plans to adopt digital-first business, yet only 44% have fully adopted that approach. There are several challenges in getting ready for this business process management change. There are many new technologies and strategies that are available to organizations including software, robotic process automations, and AI. When picking the right technologies to help with the digitizing your business processes management, here are a few things to consider:

Knowing your correct current state

Understanding where your current state is not a trivial manner. There are many stakeholders that are involved in your business processes. Therefore, it is important to understand the pain points and opportunities for improvement. There could be many opportunities like customer sign-up/onboarding process. You may see the symptoms of the pain in abandonment on forms or slow uptakes in usage.

Simplifying your future state

One of the first things to look at is whether the future state supports the future goals and processes. An agile business process management strategy. Agile process management requires a culture of continuous improvement.

Is it customer and/or employee centric?

Organizations need to be careful about considering their two main stakeholder groups. It is easy to not fully understand the impact of the future state by focusing on one group over another. A classic example could be to make a process more complicated for a customer, because it makes it easier for the organization and their employees.

Do you need help?

Do you have the capabilities internally to work on an improved business process management strategy? If you have those resources, do you have the time to work on it that meets your businesses timelines? If you said no to either of these questions, you should explore process management consulting. There can be significant benefits to business process management improvements, but there can also be significant negatives to an organization if not done correctly.

If you need some help with your business process management efforts, we may be able to help. Contact us to see how we can help your organization.

The 3 P’s to Project Delivery Success

The 3 P’s to Project Delivery Success 1000 667 StrategicFront

If a project delivery team had a magic recipe to ensure a successful project, what would the ingredients look like?

Based on almost a decade of project delivery experience at StrategicFront, we asked our Project Management Consultants this exact question. Here’s what we believe is needed to make a project delivery team successful.

People

There can be a number of stakeholders on any given project. However, the more the project delivery team and recipient business team of any project is aligned, the higher the chances of meeting project goals.

We believe that focusing on both the project delivery team and client business team is integral to overall project success. Engaging, organizing, and focusing on project delivery goals with these individuals will result in the desired project outcome.

Further, the cost of having the wrong people in a project is extremely high. We need to ensure that we have the right people, and that they are engaged the right way to meet the project outcome.

Planning

Every project has a goal. However, there can be a number of different ways to reach that goal. We believe that the best way is the most optimal, meaning the least expensive but most efficient.

Planning is all about understanding the business and delivery environment, but also creating the most optimal path to get to the desired goal.

Planning also includes organizing the people, as mentioned above as well as dependencies, so that everyone knows exactly who’s doing what, when.

Performance

Performance is all about the metrics. It’s important to know upfront what the performance goals of the business are, and what this project can possibly impact and achieve.

For example, say you’re working on a project around social media – knowing that your client’s follower count is integral to the business will impact how you approach this project. Will it meet the performance requirements, such as growing followers by 10%?

It’s important to consider the performance of the business, and to ensure each activity of the project is going to move the needle on an important performance goal.

Often project teams can be too focused on the project activities and details, and will lose sight on why they’re doing those activities. Consider the task of building a door-stop. If you focus too much on building the door-stop, it may become too small that it actually isn’t capable of doing its job of holding the door open. Focusing on the overall goal of the entire project will prevent this.

Are you struggling with managing your business projects? Let us know some of your goals for 2019 and we can discuss getting you there!

Niche Project Management Consulting Firm

Benefits of Working with a Niche Project Management Consulting Firm

Benefits of Working with a Niche Project Management Consulting Firm 1200 800 StrategicFront

Let’s face it – if you’re a mid sized organization and have strategic projects that you need to deliver, it’s integral to select the right project delivery partner for your business. While you have the deep knowledge of your company and your customers, going with the right project delivery partner can instantaneously add to your Project Management capability, and deliver your projects successfully. 

There are three potential options when selecting a project delivery partner. (1) Hire an individual project manager (contract or employee). (2) Hire a top-tier consulting firm. Or (3) hire a niche Project Management consulting firm.

Though all options have diverging benefits, here is an argument on why option #3 – hiring a niche Project Management consulting firm – can be of benefit to your organization and its bottom line.

read more
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.

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.

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.