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Leap into radical change

What's at the heart of a transformation?

I believe: Transformation is more than "normal" change. It is not linear, but more dynamic, deeper, broader, more radical, in leaps and bounds. It is transformation, not an evolution. Transformation management is therefore not comparable with classic change management, which is more aimed at a more generic and more unspecific change.

In an actively managed transformation, the main goal is to synchronize the project process and change instruments down to the last detail.

We align the technical solution, also known as the build of the solution, as well as test campaigns and hypercare support to the accompanying learning and adaptation fields. The hypercare support describes an additional and intensive support of applications or systems post go-live.  

Tasks in the controlled transformation at a glance:

  • Synchronization of project process and change instruments down to the last detail
  • Integration of the business and the orientation towards the technical solution (build of the solution)
  • In focus: test campaign, a central milestone before go-live
  • Hypercare support: processes and technology are running live for the first time requiring intensive support at the beginning

3 things

we must pay special attention to in a well managed transformation:

  1.  Commitment and readiness of the organization as well as management buy-in must be ensured from the start: One of my most important tasks as a consultant is to demand the commitment of the most important stakeholders in the company again and again throughout the entire duration of the project and to support them in making their presence felt in active communication with the employees again and again. If this is not happening, not only the success of the project is at risk, but also the ROI: employees who support and accept the transformation find their new role and new tasks much faster after go-live.
  2. The business relevance of the transformation is the most important indicator of success: What does the new solution offer us? What does the new process and the changed approach mean for our business, for customer loyalty and customer satisfaction? The performance indicators of a transformation must be business-oriented and in some cases completely redefined in order to measure success. Here, too, I have seen time and again in recent years that those companies are successful that not only clearly define the business relationship, but also communicate it consistently and explain it to their employees. Only those who understand are also in agreement with the change.
  3. The people as the main actors of the transformation must be taken along - and under no circumstances should they be left behind! 

If the transformation weakens in only one of these three dimensions, a small thing can quickly turn into an insurmountable obstacle - instead of celebrating success, escalations must be managed.

My project - your project

"Oh man, a lot of things happened to me today that I didn't understand.  Why didn't anyone inform me? Why was this decision made in such a peculiar way?  I would have handled it differently..."

Sentences that are part of everyday life in large projects and which gradually make the motivation fade. Things that you really don't need on top of the pressure for reaching milestones, of technical problems, vacation periods or unexpected sick leave.

What's wrong?

Such statements are indicators that something is not right: the entire set-up might be wrong, individual employees or entire teams may have been left behind and "lost" or employees are overwhelmed by the situation and more. How do you get out of such a dilemma?

Participation is a possible magic word - those affected can be made participants: We can let them participate in the project approach and also in the progress of the project. We can and should involve them - not only in the "what?", but especially also in the "why?

Improve without the wagging forefinger

In the course of numerous projects, we have developed various formats to make precisely this participation an integral part of the daily project life.

Our structured walkthroughs (SWT) are a good example of participation:

Structured Walkthroughs

In Structured Walkthroughs (SWTs), project members present the progress of their solution to their colleagues.

The following questions are repeatedly addressed:

  • Why is the chosen solution chosen?
  • Why is a process change (e.g. automation) made?
  • What are the benefits of the new process, of the new solution?

In change labs, project members are involved in the identification of change requirements and in the redesign of future working methods: At the beginning of a transformation, most companies have a strong departmental or functional thinking. Employees do not understand the impact their work has on the overall business and company wide process integration. One of our most important tasks as consultants is therefore to ensure that the understanding of integrated business processes grows among employees. Those who have understood the consequences and effects of their (right or wrong) actions on the company process will be more committed and consciously ensure that tasks are completed in such a way that colleagues do not suffer later. After the successful completion of a transformation, the entire company will work more efficiently because the individual employee has understood how important his or her contribution is.

Pro-active management of the transformation

Employees and organisation are at the core of every measure: in communication, in ensuring business participation during the transformation and during the training in preparation for going live.

In the end, there can and must always be just one project: mine. And by that I mean: Our joint project, yours and mine!

Speaking of empowerment: We will deal with this topic in one of the next issues. How do I create the path to making the new process a routine process? How do I transform to the learning organization? How do I find a good balance between sustainable qualification and justifiable expenses for project and later operation? And how does learning actually work?

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