- Accelerate development: Instead of long term projects, try shorter iterative projects. According to the Corporate Executive Board, more than 45% of projects today are labeled as ‘information projects,’ such as collaboration or customer facing websites. These can be delivered quickly by deploying functionality as it becomes available.
- Identify the roadblocks to speed and challenge them: Several repeatable items can get in the way of speeding up a project and can be addressed proactively:
- Unclear ROI — The business case for social computing typically breaks down because of the unclear nature of how and where social computing will deliver value and how the results will be recognized and measured. This is reminiscent of the history of determining an ROI for email. At that time, email was deployed with limited or no ROI.
- Availability of Opportunity — The reality is that business units can often identify and exploit social media opportunities before IT. IT needs to sharpen it’s focus, become more aware of how the business partner views each opportunity and gather those requirements so that they are part of the solution.
- Magnified Risk — Social media diminishes corporate perimeters and controls for information exchange, so organizations must “get over it" and determine a risk profile for social media (more on that later).
- Consumer Technology Options — Business users may select technologies to connect and collaborate, which may not be corporate-controlled. The organization needs to determine its policies on technologies outside of its control.
- Rapid Change — Velocity and complexity of social technologies outpace IT's roadmapping capabilities. To remain relevant in the social media conversation, IT organizations often rely on technology-centric "supply push" strategies, when instead they need to quickly understand and respond to "demand pull" from their end users.
- Understand technology fit with end-user workflows and behavior. You need to map these out and create a view of the future. For example, IT teams are now adding visualization software to the agile process of development so that developers and business customers have a clearer picture of what will be delivered.
- Drive use by communicating tangible end-user benefits that can be directly connected to clear business metrics and outcomes (e.g. time saved).
- Apply a risk framework that can evolve and improve as social media changes – set up 2-3 risk factors that will frame the focus on risk.
- Collaborate – as silly as this sounds, spend the time to collaborate with your business customer on a solution that will deliver results! Leverage proof of concept and pilots, as well as asking the business customer to come back with examples of functionality that may already be available and used by public social media groups today.
What’s the worst program management you’ve ever experienced? Chances are, we can all tell a few tales. Who hasn’t witnessed some pretty interesting program management teams or, unfortunately, some horrible events? If you have experienced any of the following scenarios, you might be in the running for experiencing the worst program management ever:
- The program management approach is failing miserably, not able to drive a program or meet a target;
- Everyone on the program management team is looking out for their own interests, not the goals of the program; and/or
- One or several of the program management team members are not carrying their weight, causing the rest of team to rise up in disgust, give lackluster support to the program or display a host of bad behaviors (take your choice).
You have an option to either participate in any of the above, continue to drive down the program, or recognize that help is needed and be part of the team that positively turns around the approach. Successful program management is tough. The really great program management teams and methods I’ve been a part of all displayed some common characteristics:
- A strong executive sponsor or set of sponsors. These folks are not just names on a chart; they take a proactive interest in making the program successful.
- A strong team. The team is not just technically strong, but is actually a team that helps each other and continues to move the ball forward. Egos are left at the door and everyone pitches in.
- The team starts to have fun. It’s really hard at the onset of a serious program to even think of having fun! As soon as the team starts to enjoy the program, the team will shift. This may mean that initially the program has to hit a few tough roadblocks, which they can resolve and learn from in order to grow and start to have fun … but it is possible.
- The team gets rid of deadwood. This doesn’t always mean resources. It may mean that the program plan is not realistic. It may mean that the team is measuring too many metrics and there are only a handful of metrics that really make sense. The team can quickly determine what is valuable and what is just overhead.
- The team purposefully establishes a charter for success. Good teams realize that success is not just critical to maintaining the momentum of the program, but that communication and change management around success needs to be defined, mapped out and systematically used to keep the program moving forward. It’s not just about meeting your delivery roadmap, it’s about creating the positive buzz that this program is successful and is a good model for the future.
Program management certifications, plans and models are everywhere. A team should be able to get project management expertise into the group and set up a model that is best-in-class. But aside from the setup of the program management model and the delivery plan, consider some of the items above and see if they apply. Ask yourself, the key leads, and maybe some key team members for their view on the topics above. You may find out that you get some great feedback, and that through this feedback, you are building a stronger program management approach!