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Is your project set up for success?


With 87% of the perceived value of programs being unrealised when organisations move from strategy to execution, many organisations are looking to ‘do things better’.

Billions of dollars are being invested in projects on a daily basis. The financial and ‘opportunity’ cost to invest in programs of work that fail to deliver on strategic outcomes is a problem that needs solving.

Many of the programs and projects start well, with defined strategic benefits and outcomes that have been agreed to by the executives and key sponsors. Many of the ‘drivers’, objectives and benefits are based on known assumptions at that time.

Over the course of the program however the following questions and concerns get raised:

  • Are the drivers for this program still relevant, considering the change occurring within our business and externally?
  • Is this program setup for success?
  • Do we have the right resources and expertise to meet the objectives set and realise the benefits documented?
  • Have we engaged the right stakeholders and are they aligned to this program of work in order for us to succeed?

Given the complexity of organisations and people within those organisations and the rate of change occurring; these questions are all valid and relevant and need to be answered on a regular basis to ensure that the perceived benefits are realised within the timeframe and budget allocated.

How can you ensure Strategic Alignment throughout the project life-cycle?

Janellis have an approach to strategic alignment that seeks to answer these questions at any time in the life-cycle of a program. Our approach builds on investments already made and creates alignment; facilitates consensus and builds confidence for all who have a stake in the program.

The Janellis Strategic Alignment Review (or Project Health Check) is a consultative discovery process with key stakeholders, and includes a review of documentation, one-on-one meetings and workshops, where relevant.

The key questions that we seek to answer through the meetings and documentation review are:

  • Strategic Alignment – Does the program still link to strategic objectives of the executive team, and is it being prioritised appropriately within an enterprise project portfolio?
  • Stakeholder engagement – Are the key stakeholders engaged in the program at the levels that they need to be. Is there a change management plan that identified all relevant stakeholders?
  • Ownership – Have the people and teams responsible for owning the outcomes been identified and are they clear on how they will maintain and sustain the solutions?
  • Benefits Realisation – Are the projected benefits still relevant and achievable? How are they being measured, how will they be embedded and who will own that accountability?
  • Resources – Does the project have the right people sponsoring, leading and working on the program? Are their roles and deliverables clear and do they have the capability to ensure success?
  • Risk Management – Are the real risks of success being identified? Beyond a risk plan and issues log, are risks being communicated, managed and mitigated for the program?
  • Governance – Is the governance framework following best practice in terms of management structure, documentation, quality assurance, procurement and requirements gathering?

What will a Strategic Alignment Review provide you?

A Strategic Alignment Review will highlight significant issues that require immediate attention, uncover areas of excellence to be applied more broadly and provide assurance on the areas that do not require further work.

Anyone sponsoring, managing or delivering a project or program of strategic initiatives would benefit in undertaking a review such as this to provide assurance on the likelihood of success, alignment to objectives and meeting executive expectations.

A review will raise awareness of the issues and provide confidence to those working on the project as well as stakeholders including the board, regulators and critical suppliers or clients, where relevant.

How have other businesses used this approach to create Strategic Alignment?

Many of our clients are spending a significant amount of money on project-based activities. Statistics for projects being delivered on time, on budget and delivering the expected benefits indicate that there are still many challenges in this area.

Consultants working in team in the office

Janellis project specialists and executive coaches

Right now, those responsible for the outcomes and benefits realisation of projects are facing increasing pressure to provide assurance to a range of key stakeholders. By initiating the Janellis Strategic Alignment Review, our clients have generated a level of transparency and clarity that has allowed them to address the issues, highlight the wins and set the project on course for success.

Why Janellis?

  • We have been working in this field for the past 17 years with some of the most complex organisations in Australia and are experts in this niche area of strategic alignment.
  • Our unique tools have been widely used and can help accelerate the strategic benefits of any program.
  • Our consultants are highly skilled and experienced in all stages of a project life-cycle and can review, lead or support critical initiatives.

For more information on our Strategic Alignment capability, Project Health Checks and our Subject Matter Expertise in this area please follow the links below, call us to request a meeting – info@janellis.com.au

 


Stakeholder Accelerator Workshops

In a recent article we addressed the 4 Simple steps to engage key stakeholders.

Effective stakeholder engagement is at the heart of executing strategy well and one of the most effective ways to engage a diverse group of stakeholders quickly is through Accelerator Workshops.

These workshops are designed as targeted, interactive and engaging activities that will rapidly align a diverse group or multi-level stakeholders.  They can be used to facilitate alignment, creativity and decision making and; to generate key outputs.

Sessions can be held with smaller semi-aligned teams or larger groups that include stakeholders from across or outside of the organisation.  Accelerator Workshops are very effective at the start of a major project or as a tool to engage stakeholders at any stage of a key initiative or strategy.

Levels of engagement are fluid and maintaining appropriate levels of engagement requires creativity and effort.

Our four step process includes: analysis; design; facilitation and the development of visual tools to capture and embed the shared thinking that takes place during steps one to three. The analysis and design stages are used to carefully craft activities for specific engagement outcomes and can be run in a variety of different ways.

Analysis

During the analysis stage the main focus is on the stakeholder’s current levels of engagement, awareness and alignment. Tools at this stage of the process will delve into the current behaviours, issues or concerns and in establishing the desired outcomes.   Questions we ask during this phase are:

  1. Who are the key stakeholders and how engaged are they?
  2. What are they currently saying, thinking, feeling or doing?
  3. What do we want them to be feeling, thinking, saying or doing?
  4. What strategies have already been used to engage them?

This stage highlights the tension areas, acceleration opportunities and creative gaps.  The more traditional considerations are also documented such as the drivers for this initiative, challenges, outcomes, what needs to be agreed upon and what needs to be validated or created.

Design

At the design stage there are a range of potential approaches that can be taken, recognising that interactive and challenging activities that connect emotionally are the most powerful ways to engage.

The design phase usually includes the development of multi-media and other visually appealing tools. We use a combination of technology and the more tactile ways to engage using traditional approaches.

Facilitation

Our facilitators are experienced at creating a trusted environment within which the teams can find ways to connect and to establish shared areas of interest, expertise or concerns.

Effective facilitation pivots off a high-trust and safe environment and our facilitators are able to maintain rapport with a range of stakeholders, whilst managing the pace of the activity and achieving the outcomes set.

Strong participation and effective listening fosters critical thinking, removes blockages and stimulates creative thinking, to create solutions and to consider possible futures.

Visual tools

The use of visual tools during the facilitated session is one of the critical success factors in achieving alignment and engagement.

Having highly skilled individuals come together in this format creates unique opportunities to develop new ideas through shared thinking. Providing the visual tools to the teams after the facilitated event is essential to maintaining alignment and clarity on issues, objectives and outcomes.

Effective stakeholder engagement is an on-going challenge and opportunity for all organisations and doing it well ensures teams perform well.  

New ways to do this quickly and effectively can help organisations accelerate their strategic objectives.

If you would like more information on our Acceleration Workshops please email Harrison Orr at Harrison.orr@janellis.com.au