When working in a project, it is not just the result that counts, the road to the result has big influence on the success of the business objectives. Project- and change management are key players in defining this road.
The project approach highly affects the process, final result and business goals.
Project goal versus project resultEach organization sets it's objectives. In order to achieve these objectives, sometimes preconditions are required. To fulfill such preconditions, projects are appointed. Projects hardly ever serve business goals directly, but function as enablers or preconditions for the business. Projects deliver results. The project outcome – result - enables the business objectives.
In order to achieve that goal, it is important that the objectives are understood and can be placed in the context. In order to achieve an objective like for instance “handle more calls per day”, appropriate tooling is required to realize this. Implementation of the tooling will not automatically guarantee that the goals will be met. The tooling should support the road to the goal ('handle more calls') perfectly though by serving users with applicable information and functionality to perform and record the conversation properly and effectively. This is your project goal.
The challenge we face in IT projects is to keep our eye on the horizon while implementing. Keeping implementation goals in line with business objectives not only increases the chance of success, it also makes life easier as clear goals contribute to effective collaboration and motivation.
Keeping your eye on the horizon requires for project members to look at the business and it's processes from a distance from time to time. As if looking at it from a helicopter. This is not always easy, especially if you have been part of these processes for years. Every project member will look at the business and the processes from his/her own perspective. As implementation partner it is our responsibility to get a clear understanding of all these perspectives and form a shared view on the whole in order to make the right decisions. This is how you can make the difference.
Project MethodologyTo run a successful project, you need the right people, requirements, software, servers, time, coffee, etc. But you also need a project approach or methodology. The project methodology of Acorel is based on existing standards such as SAP Activate, enriched with actual real-life experiences. The methodology has emerged in recent years, after doing various projects. The methodology supports the implementation of both Cloud and on-premise solutions.
The method places the customer and its processes right in the middle. Not only by the proper representation from the customer, but also by understanding the customer and the processes in order to really work with business objectives in mind.
The project methodology is structured in layers and phases (rows and columns).
LayersThe first layer is the customer oriented layer. This layer assures the project is in line with the business objectives and that the right people are involved and activated to make this a success. The intended project outcome must fit in the organization's goals. Ownership is the key word here.
The middle layer is the solution layer. The appropriate solution is to be defined. Implementation in short cycles with quick results and all stakeholders included allow for a highly motivated ad creative implementation team. On a prioritized basis the function blocks will be delivered.
The bottom layer is the integration layer. The master data as connection between the organization and processes. The integration between the various systems and the transfer of the project organization to the existing organization.
Project PhasesDuring each phase of the project, the organization targets should be secured. The further advanced in the project, the more details appear to become important. Stay balanced. Schedule moments to validate what adds value and what does not.
PreparePreparing a project is always a quest of finding the right rhythm, gathering people and finding information. In the beginning, the goals are 'crystal clear', but still miles away. This is the moment to address the goals and set them as the teams target on the horizon. You will be able to use this later.
Now jump-start your project by retrieving and verifying process details and setting a clear roadmap for the following phases.
ExploreBased on the initially described scope workshops are held. During these interactive sessions we will work towards defining the most appropriate solution. Preferably, this is done as graphically as possible (demo-demo-demo). Possibilities and impossibilities are addressed.
Beware not to discuss every single detail and exception. Stick to the most important requirements and keep the phase short. We want to get to the realization phase quickly, as experience tells us that creativity flourishes especially in the realization phase.
Again, the important things first.
RealizeThe scoping document, the requirements and the product backlog are managed by the business (process) owner. The customer decides what's important. In a green field deployment, a baseline is required to start at a cyclic approach. The duration of sprint 0 will depend on the project and the situation. In some occasions, sprint 0 can already be started in the Explore phase.
With a dedicated team working on the solution, the actual implementation can sometimes be done quickly, followed by a test and sign-off. The team composition and the co-operation are a major factor in order for the implementation to be successful, but also to let the results contribute to the goals (keep your eye on the horizon and remind your team). The change and impact on the existing organization must be made transparent. Once functionality is delivered, focus on adoption by the end-users and explain how this moves towards achieving the business goals.
DeployWhen the solution is built and accepted, the preparations of commissioning are started. The productive systems and integrations are to be prepared. The change in the existing organization comes closer. Because not everyone will respond the same, frequent and transparent communication is key. Everything in line of the previous activities and always related to the business goals. Involvement and attention of management is an accelerator during the project. When the project is live their commitment is key for success.
It doesn’t stop here…. Actually for the organization it starts when the project result is there, so we finish every implementation with a proper hand over and if applicable offsite support.
ConclusionThe combination of a solid and proven project approach together with close cooperation with the customer guarantee good results. The solid project approach covers all prerequisites and mitigates risks. Acorel defined the ASA project methodology to combine project methodology, templates, accelerators and quality gates.
The focus is on the journey from business goal to delivery of the enabler(s). The goal is not just the technical solution. Of course the solution is important, but it is still an enabler. During the project, Acorel uses his experience to advise step by step, making sure all aspects are covered.
The project team should be empowered to deliver. And of course people with the right attitude can make the difference. To execute the project a positive flow brings energy. This will be picked up by others. The project will sell itself. The result of the project will boost the objectives by the positive energy.
Are you interested to learn more about our project approach? Please send me a message or visit our website to see our solution portfolio.