Planning Phase – How and When to Engage Project Stakeholders

PlanningComing out of the redesign phase, our consultants go to work producing a proprietary set of tools that inform the overall program structure, key projects, risks and opportunities. These tools are designed to capture the critical information needed to drive projects without derailing teams in cumbersome details and repetitive documentation.

Details include a right-sized view into key people, process and technology enablers, gaps in current-state process, impacts, risks, and the right level process design documentation. With this information, project teams know exactly where to start.
Here’s a glimpse into what your teams can start doing once you’ve implemented the tips outlined in the first two blogs. During the redesign phase critical inputs should have already been captured. At this point, it’s a matter of building a cohesive view into what it will take to achieve the future state. At a high level, a single final document – per process – should include each new step, key features, their definitions, impacts, enablers required and roles involved. At NEOS, consultants are usually able to achieve this in a single viewable map. Many leaders recognize the importance of simplifying project management requirements, but stopping at this level of detail is sometimes difficult to accept. Those who do, position themselves to facilitate easier discussion between teams and make much faster decisions when it comes to estimating and planning. Information is consumable and critical variables are clear. This format also integrates exceptionally well with agile project frameworks and traditional waterfall frameworks. Your teams are free to capture and document any other fundamental data that is needed as part of normal governance proceedings. Take caution in dissolving the true benefit of performing in a more agile way by over-documenting.

As teams begin reviewing these documents and roadmap planning begins, a long list of potential opportunities captured during the redesign working session are rationalized into projects. Naturally, at this point the usual suspects of project pain start to emerge early; leaders from across functions start negotiating trade-offs of opportunities, discussing impacts to other in-flight work, and debating funding and return on investment. This is where the BVL (Business Value Linkage Dashboard) – covered earlier in this blog series – serves as a helpful tool for both project teams and leaders alike. The power is in the clearly articulated objectives and measures of success defined before the redesign workshops even started. The BVL, which was designed through collaboration of those very same leaders, becomes the decisive tool to help in keeping the focus on the business objectives and is used to determine which projects fall within the previously defined scope and which projects will be recommended as BAU or future wish-list items. If you do not have these integral components in place, look at blog 1 or blog 2 for an in-depth discussion of how to strengthen your position and confidence as you or your teams begin to transform critical processes.

In all, the roadmap planning takes just two to three weeks after the workshops have been completed. Our clients are armed with a set of recommendations and detailed project profiles that capture scope and measurable outcomes along with a clearly defined roadmap. In addition, our sponsors are given an implementation change management action plan along with key risks and tools to help them kickoff the program quickly. At NEOS, we make process and business capability transformation agile, practical, and achievable through our proprietary FutureWeek methodology, and we invite you to visit our site to learn more.