There are considerable forces at work challenging the ‘business as usual’ of established business and how they deliver projects. As paradigms shift and people change how they work, how can an organisation become ‘match fit’ for the new project delivery game?

Disruption is everywhere. Digitisation, moving IT into the cloud, service centricity and the continuous, ever-evolving customer experience, there are enormous forces at work challenging the status quo of long-established businesses.

But it’s not just the business models. It’s also how people work within the business. More often than not, many organisations facing disruption were built on paradigms that are no longer valid and now find themselves under siege.

Consider how Uber has disrupted the taxi industry, how buying online is rapidly becoming the norm rather than buying in-store, or how Deliveroo is challenging the traditional home delivery experience.

As changes to economies, technology and customer behaviour takes hold businesses must adapt, the challenge is refocusing the business from what it has traditionally been successful into what needs to change to mitigate risk to its sustainability. No one wants to fall by the wayside like the Kodaks of this world have in the past.

Project Management is Shifting Too

It’s implicit in the drive to become match fit that a changing business environment will seek to deliver different projects better. After all projects are the lifeblood of driving change. But what does it mean for the workforce that will be delivering the projects?

We are seeing successful organisations looking to change how they manage the state of almost permanent transition by adopting an operating model that allows for rapid delivery of ideas alongside the agility to change course quickly. The adoption of Agile delivery and the convergence of design-centric thinking, lean processes, streamlining, and new project delivery approaches are just some of the critical levers for sustainability.

A Perfect Storm?

For the purist Project Managers among us, the current project environment is something of the perfect storm. The known world is rapidly receding in many organisations as we watch the disappearing taillights of the thousand line Gantt charts, detailed requirements specification, design, build, test, implement waterfall phased approach to project delivery.

Welcome instead to on-board teaming, collaboration, fail fast, and prototype-test-iterate.

Our observation is that as this metamorphosis occurs, limited recognition has been paid to the change impacts, or they have been understated, for the individuals and teams involved.

The Change is Real

The change impacts of disruption to people in organisations are real and they are widespread. Take a cursory glance across a traditional organisation and you can see direct changes to the way we work including:

  • Management – BAU is no longer enough, being able to articulate a story and lead the organisation through a walk in the fog where ambiguity and uncertainty dominate is now a requirement
  • Finance – Different business cases, benefits realisation models, procurement practices etc
  • PMO – different project governance, new project delivery methodologies
  • HR – staff management, remote working, staff reporting, staff location, career development, BAU v Project
  • Sales and Marketing – Both teams are more front and centre with project delivery via customer centricity, design thinking, and B2C connection

Managed Chaos is Easier Said Than Done

So the question is this: How does an organisation create an environment that effectively manages what appears to be chaos – and may well feel like it – to the people inside the business?

From our point of view, managing chaos requires context: Transformation is all about building the new operating platform, getting into shape and staying match fit to be able to play the game.

Business needs to understand its drivers as well as what its customers want and when they want it; that means understanding the customer well and having the ability to take on board insights about its products and services quickly. Building an appropriate operating platform amidst change is essential to support rapid – or even just quicker – adoption.

Playing the new game is about understanding how projects are assessed and delivered in direct line of sight so that the contribution they make to building the platform is linked to the delivery of the product or service in the context of customer insights.

It’s a Cultural Shift

Change brings with it resistance, but in a constantly changing business environment, a cultural shift must be led from the top and it needs to happen so that projects are managed according to their contribution to the new business outcomes.

It’s critical that customer centricity drives the change to the operating platform and that people in the business understand it: It is, after all, part of an ongoing business dialogue about why the business is changing and it’s important to convey how and why projects are being delivered as they are so that the impact to the traditional project delivery roles is clear.

If the goal is to have people who can assume responsibility for project delivery and be effective inside the chaos, make sure that the change is in fact led from the top by communicating often and effectively about how they need to be match fit for a new game.

Is your project team match fit? Contact us here or call 02 9098 6300 for more information about our transformation capability. We believe that quality thought leadership is worth investing in. Please share our content with your colleagues via any of the links below.

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About Quay

Quay Consulting
Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...