Are you concerned by the lack of progress being made through your strategic change projects? Momentum is everything but it does not happen by accident. It is the result of careful planning and strong relationships.
I was working on a government programme which involved the cooperation of 5 suppliers, 4 of which were not-for-profit organisations. We were looking to improve the service to schools and educational establishments through the creation of a single service point using the development of web tools. This programme was very successful in terms of its delivery, and the tools we created are still being used many years later, albeit following a rewrite.
What made this programme so successful? There were a number of factors.
Firstly, there was the governance we created. The overall initiative had a steering group associated with it and whilst there were a number of tensions, each of the CEOs from the supplier organisations played their part in ensuring that the objectives of the programme were shared. We also had a steering group for the specific programme in which more junior colleagues were involved and they shared that commitment to the rapid delivery of what we were trying to do.
Secondly, we created a reference group to drive the delivery of the tools. On this reference group, there were representatives of the 5 organisations but also from schools. It represented both the customer and the supplier side. This group were extraordinarily committed to making an improvement for schools and the students that they served.
Finally, we had the project level. There were strong relationships with the development company we used, with other suppliers and within the project organisation we created. Within the project organisation, we had a number of subject matter experts involved including business analysts and facilitators, and they are worked together to create a high degree of momentum. We used an iterative development approach in which we look to develop working tools in short order to test out whether they were offering value, to learn lessons and then to make another iteration.
These projects showed:
- The importance of strong project and programme governance. This did not involve passive governance, in which decisions were just nodded through but the active commitment of all the partners and this made a significant difference.
- The creation of momentum at project level from a whole range of individuals working together. So often on collaborative projects, considerable time can be spent reaching agreement amongst the partner organisations. In this case of course we agreed shared objectives, but we tried to put the effort in to creating momentum and deliverables which suited the partners and gave the service improvements we were looking for.
Momentum is often the key to successful delivery.
If you want to know more about how to create momentum in your strategic change projects, we recommend reading Changing Spots: a systems approach to change management. See www.changingspots.co.uk.