“Begin with the end in mind” is of the most common sayings that we use at Veritas. This applies for almost every situation and certainly to projects. When we begin working with organizations, one of our first steps is to ensure that we have a firm understanding of the business value that the project is intended to reach. Our clients don’t buy and upgrade CTRM systems because they like technology and want the latest software version, they do it because it enables their organization to reach specific business goals.
If delivery of business value is the goal of a technology project, then the most important ingredient is organizational buy-in into new ways of working.
Organizational buy-in can be elusive but it is absolutely mandatory for long term success. In other words, while the technology that is deployed at Go-Live is critical, if it is not used then and optimized for the organization, then it will be hard to achieve that ROI. This is why it is important to focus on the bigger challenge of getting the organization to use the system in a consistent way and training the organization to continually look for opportunities to optimize the system thereafter. The Optimization stage is the last and final stage of the Veritas Value Curve.
Here are 5 tactics in the Optimization stage to help get to true business value:
1. Share a Clear Message from the Top
Leaders in the organization must provide a clear vision around the new direction and communicate how usage of the system supports overall company goals. Without the support from the top, it is easy for users to deprioritize new processes and utilizing the new system. Some companies have offered incentives for the quick adoption rate, and some have implemented a marketing campaign around using the new system. It is key to have sustained promotion of the system and not just drop the ball after go-live to ensure long term success.
2. Create a Champion Group
Create user champion groups who will support the roll-out initiative and provide support to user as they get used to the new technology well after the stabilization phase. The champion group members should be comprised of members across the organization. The goal of the champion group is to help sustain the change and ensure that the project does not fall by the way side. For example, if the system provides a new way of scheduling then the champion group can help push through the initial growing pains and help resist the urge to simply revert back to the old way of working.
3. Track and Communicate Progress
Keeping track of progress and generating reports to see how well system is working is important after Go-Live and should become a part of the new normal. The metrics include how well users are using the system and are business goals being met. Tracking and generating reports should be a focus so that there is no drift back to the old ways. Sharing the progress of the project is also important and a good way to stay in contact with users.
4. Ensure the Organization and Technology Move at the Same Pace
It is important to keep the business process and technology moving at the same rate. It will take a while for the organization to absorb the changes that were introduced during Go-Live and stabilization. Initially the changes will be introduced into PROD at a fairly rapid rate (e.g. daily) but eventually this should return to a pace that is more sustainable (e.g. monthly). A more measured pace will allow for adequate planning and testing of changes prior to them being roll-out.
Another thing to keep in mind is that most CTRM projects require multiple phases to meet all of their objectives. Phase 2 should be carefully planned so that it can be introduced when the organization has successfully incorporated the changes from Phase 1. We deliver projects in an agile fashion so it is important to have business and technical agility.
5. Celebrate Success
Typically, a project is something people need to do in addition to their day jobs so getting to Go-Live is a big deal and a huge win for the organization. After a while though, fatigue is inevitable, so allowing time for recovery is key. The team should celebrate every milestone and key contributors should be recognized. Consider that different people want to celebrate and get recognized in different ways. For example: there are team members who want public recognition while other may prefer a day off to recharge. It's important to take into account different personalities to ensure that the person will feel valued. Creating a culture that celebrates wins help keep fatigue and frustration at bay.
There are many tasks that need to be done after Go-Live to ensure that business value is realized. When done correctly, systems project can unleash organization productivity in a way that few other projects could. The trick to being successful is not just talk about Go-Live, but to instead think about the project holistically inclusive of the people and process. The key is to look beyond Go-Live and make sure the team is prepared for the challenges after.
This blog is part of the CTRM Project Management Done Right series. Check out the other blogs in the series.
- CTRM Project Management Done Right overview
- Measure Twice, Cut Once: Planning for a Successful Project
- Expectation Management: The Difference Between Project Success and Failure
- Unknown Unknowns: How to Manage Risk Against the Unexpected
- Embedded Change Management: How to be a Change Manager without Telling Anyone
- Stabilization: 4 Tips to Increase User Adoption for CTRM Projects
- Optimizing Post Go-Live: 5 Tips to Ensure Delivery of Business Value from a CTRM Project
At Veritas Total Solutions, we are experts in CTRM Systems and believe our strong project and change management skills make us uniquely positioned to help clients through the optimization stage and ultimately reach business value. If you are interested in learning more about our specific capabilities, contact us to learn more or subscribe to our blog to stay connected!