Leading organizational transformation

Group of project managers stodd and sat round desk in offrice with laptops and project documents working on their transformation project

What leadership techniques and understanding of behaviour should project boards and project managers use for organizational transformation?

  1. Set the strategic vision
    Taking the example of AXELOS’ work on updating PRINCE2® in 2017, our vision was focused on the seven principles in PRINCE2 while giving the principle of tailoring more prominence alongside a greater emphasis on the PRINCE2 themes.
     
    In addition, we created a visual identity for the PRINCE2 update project team. This was displayed on badges worn by the team which galvanized everyone involved. Ultimately, the team had a joint vision that prepared the ground for the overall transformation.

     
  2. Having respect
    The leadership and delivery teams have to respect each other. This is the cornerstone from which trust develops. Trusting delivery teams to get on with delivering a project is a very powerful behaviour to demonstrate.

     
  3. Transparency
    This can involve the use of checklists for the project board and project manager on what needs to be delivered.

     
  4. Innovation
    To be successful, thinking creatively is very important.

     
  5. Adopting agile ways of working
    The iterative delivery of products – by using reviews to build a product before getting the views of the wider user community – means getting customer involvement at an early stage to ensure what you’re doing in the project is right.

     
  6. Change management
    Robust change management is needed from the outset of a transformation initiative to ensure the change is successful.

     
  7. Communication
    It’s essential to communicate with users on when to expect what. That means using rich communication via the communications routes favoured by everyone. This becomes even more important when sharing bad news: If there’s an issue, communicate and follow up with a potential solution. About one third of projects fail because of poor communication.

     
  8. Breaking down silos
    Once silos have been broken down it leads to more transparency and open working between different teams and the whole organization benefits from that.

     
  9. Governance board and team management
    Team management experience is vital for major transformation projects or programmes. This includes having the ability to make decisions in order to achieve deadlines, but without micro-managing teams.

     
  10. Experiment effectively
    For example, we used this approach during the PRINCE2 update activity to build a large number of graphics for the printed guidance before the text review had been completed. If you know what the scope is and understand the different other work streams, it gives you control to get the job done.

     
  11. Dealing with uncertainty/ambiguity
    You can never predict everything that will happen in a transformation and unexpected things can happen. Change managers need to be comfortable when leading teams in the midst of ambiguity.

Conclusion

Leading organizational transformation is a very demanding role, but the top 11 factors listed above can help you. It is important to note that due to the complexities involved with transformational change that you cannot know everything that is involved and as a leader you need to be happy in that sort of environment.

Read more AXELOS blog posts from Allan Thomson

7 tips to becoming a better project manager

The challenges facing Project Managers

The imperative of closing the agile “adoption gap”

What project metrics are most effective when measuring true project progress?

Implementing a risk strategy within your organization

What are the Traits of the Perfect Project Manager?

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