Modern business needs to be resilient and have the ability to respond to market change quickly. As organisations become increasingly digital, both in terms of internal operations and the final products offered, customers and regulators expect more – and they expect it now.
It can be tough to balance business as usual with running large change portfolios that deliver on time and in budget. Do you have the mechanisms in place to manage your change portfolios effectively, while fully realising the intended benefits?
Project drift can be an issue
Every change portfolio consists of programmes and projects with clearly defined end goals, designed to support your wider strategy. Change can take longer than anticipated and, if not closely monitored, change initiatives can begin to drift. Businesses are not static and the longer it takes for initiatives to deliver, the less aligned they are with the organisation and its evolving strategic aims.
Agility and governance are key
The ability to adapt to business changes in-flight is paramount to the success of any project or programme. In addition to strategic changes, projects may face changes to key personnel, internal competition for skilled resource or a cut in funding. Effective governance can help to mitigate these issues and keep the project moving forward on time by having a focus on the following considerations:
- Are benefits and requirements clearly defined?
- Is there a clear line of sight from the deliverables to the requirements and benefits?
- Are beneficiaries and users engaged in the project and will user acceptance be a barrier?
- Do the plans clearly demonstrate how, when and by whom deliverables will be produced?
- Does reporting clearly reflect progress and risk management?
It’s important to take a step back now and then, to take stock and make sure the end goals are still clear and the planned route is still realistic.
How does each change initiative fit within the wider change portfolio?
In practice, any strategy is generally the sum of multiple change initiatives, but the success and development of one may be dependent on the outcome of another. You should consider the interactions between different initiatives, and make sure any interdependencies are actively managed and the associated risks mitigated. This includes looking at conflicting priorities between them and the potential competition for the same skilled resources.
The role of change assurance
It is important to put an assurance plan in place across the three lines of defence. This will give you the challenge, insight and comfort that you need to ensure the initiative is on track and that risks are being appropriately managed. Being able to demonstrate that a programme or project is moving in the right direction, with clearly outlined benefits, can help to instil confidence and promote engagement across the organisation.
Fulfilling your regulatory obligations
In the financial sector, evolving regulations are often the main driver of change programmes and projects. They are also an important consideration in terms of establishing operational resilience across your firm, as legacy systems may need upgrading, or even replacing, in order to prioritise critical services.
For further information on how we can support your change initiatives to deliver their benefits, please contact Paul Anthony.