Delivering low-pain change that sticks

Our client, an innovative financial services provider, had a reputation for action and delivery. Unfortunately, the drive for action often led to the wrong things being delivered and to corners being cut. This created functionality that staff didn’t need, and reliability issues that caused problems in downstream service and support.

The focus on big projects also meant that smaller changes with high positive business impact were never implemented, making the downstream service and support issues progressively worse. This was a fundamental problem with the way the business handled change management. The business also perceived that it was being impeded by IT.

Our challenge

We had to get the business to define its key drivers, so that its business projects could be prioritised objectively. This prioritisation could then be used to drive project assessment and delivery.

What we did

First, we aligned the stakeholders. Through critical interviews, we identified the business pains and expectations of key line staff and executives.

We tested the possible. We identified the critical pain points within the business and socialised the findings to get feedback and avoid surprising anyone with our recommendations.

Before setting out the options, we established where the energy was to take action and how far the organisation was prepared to go to implement our findings.

We simplified the process. Based on feedback, we removed many (best practice) recommendations on what could be done as being too much for the organisation to assimilate.

We added energy and communicated. Our process helped to give staff a voice but also prevented random feedback by focusing on the organisational and business pain. To avoid de-commitment we reminded people of what they had agreed to.

We created a new organisational model. We were responsible for the organisational design and new role definitions for new programme management and consulting staff. Critical people offering greater experience and capability were hired in or transferred from elsewhere in the business.

The outcome

The new process moved IT from the defensive to a stronger position within the business and strengthened the organisation’s ability to innovate and manage its business programme. It identified critical gaps in business planning around business driver setting and staff objectives.

The process established that the business was a bottleneck for IT delivery rather than the other way around: it lacked capacity to build new product propositions quickly enough.

A side benefit of our approach was that we were able to remove “underground” ways to get pet projects done.

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