Business ownership and involvement – Critical

In an earlier blog post, I discussed the lessons learned of certain key challenges, encountered during projects and programs. Specifically getting senior management to focus on the “project endeavour” throughout the lifecycle, including transition, not just the exciting start phase.

Often the lack of intent results in resistance to allocating business and subject matter experts and resources to the project for the duration of yhe project.

Support at the start with “the business will provide support during the project irrespective of what happening in BAU” seemingly fizzles out. This single issue can have such a detrimental impact on the success of the project.

In reality, we all know that “whatever happens in BAU” tends to take priority over the project and suddenly you find the “allocated resource” disappearing for an undefined period.

The other, is that most business managers really are unaware of the impact downstream. Or blissfully ignorant of what was coming when the project was implemented. By not been involved, or having staff representation on the project, their business area misses out on valuable contributions to the project and indispensable communications between project and business.

Lack of effective communications is a key criticism during projects. But often there is a flip side to this, business management ignoring project communication until the project starts impacting them.

During Lessons Learned workshops the typical feedback you would hear from business areas that have not been involved in the project are:

  • The business manager “did not understand how the new system was going to change how their area and staff worked”.
  • The business manager was “surprised when things worked differently”.
  • The business area was “surprised when information they usually received suddenly was no longer available”.

Plus this issue has an impact on the project team. The project team is likely not to fully understand how the business worked. Hence, certain events, processes and transactions were not supported after the project went live.

The simplest solution is to have actual business staff represented on the project, better still have them as an integral part of the project from kick-off to close down.

Having people who really understood the business is an essential element in delivering a successful project. Plus this demonstrates more business ownership and involvement.

What are your views? Have you adopted different approaches?

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