Running a successful corporate program will call on almost every leadership principle you can imagine. From defining the problem to measuring success, leaders emerge through the process. In fact, I personally promoted a leader based on the leadership traits I witnessed during such a change project.
Satish Subramanian is a Principal at M Squared Consulting, a SolomonEdwards company. He has over 25 years of experience in technology consulting and advises companies on business transformation. His new book, Transforming Business with Program Management provides the necessary steps to ensure solid program management. I recently asked him about his work.
“Planning without action is futile, action without planning is fatal.” -C. Fitchner
Success Starts Upfront
“Success starts upfront” is all about problem definition. I have seen this numerous times in organizations. One of the most egregious examples was when it was clear the group was working on two very different problems. Neither side even realized it until months into it. Why is defining the problem so important? Would you share an example from your work?
The problem definition step is a critical one in the early stages of the business transformation journey. This step ensures the problem is well understood and agreed upon by stakeholders prior to expending significant organizational resources for a long period to solve it. It positions the transformational change program for success, facilitates the delivery of agreed strategic objectives, and realizes the transformational vision.
One example is that of a well-known biotech company that outsourced its finance, accounting, and payroll functions to an off-shore location as part of a strategic initiative to reduce cost. In hindsight, the organization realized it should have redesigned the business processes to overcome significant process gaps and then consider outsourcing. The inadequate upfront definition of the problem resulted in the goal of cost reduction not getting met in the designated time frames.
“No matter how good the team, if we’re not solving the right problem, the project fails.” –Woody Williams
What’s your definition of program management?
Program management is the alignment and integration of multiple dimensions (strategy, people, process, technology, structure, and measurement) to execute organization transformation strategies, deliver the transformed future state, and achieve the desired business outcomes.
Would you share the program management life cycle phases?
Program management life cycle is the four-phase approach to drive a business transformation program from start to finish. This life cycle enables and sustains business transformation by articulating vision, developing an integrated transformation program plan, driving the plan, removing execution barriers, delivering planned business outcomes, and realizing business benefits. The illustration highlights the four phases and the eight processes that constitute the program management life cycle.
The four phases are:
- Phase One – Set the stage
- Phase Two – Decide what to do
- Phase Three – Make it happen
- Phase Four – Make it stick