Scott Harberd shares his experience of implementing PPM software during a period of transformation and change for one of the UK’s largest airlines.
Following a period of rapid growth and promotion to the FTSE 100, the organization was outwardly successful but highly immature in terms of its systems and processes.
With numerous teams running multiple programmes across the organization, there was no central visibility. So when it came to key operational issues, up-to-date information simply wasn’t available. In fact, it took weeks to compile and decisions were often based on emotion rather than fact. A far from ideal scenario for a FTSE 100 company.
Our goal was to establish a single version of the truth: a centralized system to capture and analyze the data the company needed to drive better decision making, more effective planning, improved estimations and smarter resourcing. Our selection and carefully planned roll out of a PPM tool across the organization put it on the right path to continue its transformation journey.
So, what did we learn?
- Review the maturity model. It is essential to first work with stakeholders to establish the current maturity of the organization in terms of its PPM performance. While there may be a strong desire to take a big step forward, the reality of asking people to handle a high level of change within a short timeframe will most likely result in failure. Much better to take smaller steps, encourage uptake and control the risks.
- Be clear on the licence definition to support future expansion plans. There are a variety of licence models out there – all with different price points and resources. Think about your long-term use of the tool, rather than just what your immediate project needs to deliver. This foresight will benefit your negotiations.
- Have a change management focus to help land the changes. You may have the most wonderful system in place, but if people don’t know about it, how to use it or its benefits, your investment will fail at the first hurdle. Put together a robust change management plan, stick to it and follow it through. If you don’t, uptake will be low and employees may fall back into the old ways of working because they haven’t been taken on the journey.
- Stagger the launch to user communities and resolve data queries. Where possible manage the workflow. Identify user communities and work with each group in turn. This approach will also enable you to take learnings to each subsequent group as well as communicate positive feedback.
- Ensure test and training data reflect live data. This is about having the right people around the table to flesh out the common scenarios that might crop up and then moving them into the training environment. Although not exhaustive, devoting time at this stage will pay dividends in the long run.
- Fully understand the impact on business processes. Where you can, assess and change your business processes to accommodate the tool that you are implementing. If do the reverse, it will take more time and potentially cost more.
- Involve representatives from IT and business functions to ensure the messaging lands well. Appoint a change champion for each team involved with delivery of the new system. Acting as voice of both the team and the project, they ensure all those affected are kept well informed of what’s coming, receive adequate training and feel involved. These benefits will boost buy in and directly influence a high uptake in a short space of time.