Cecilia Edwards
Cecilia Edwards

In previous blogs, we’ve looked at transformation journey teams and how you can keep digital transformation on track. But how is the transformation journey model different from older solutions?

Traditional change models initiate changes to fixed end states. Project Management Offices (PMOs) are trained to execute pre-set, linear changes as quickly and cheaply as possible. Then, change stops.

This approach no longer achieves results. Companies are finding themselves on complex, multi-year transformations that have outpaced such waterfall strategies as they are too slow, rigid, and ineffective.

Transformation journey management retools a business to operate in an agile state of change – a continuous readiness to shift direction. The agility to change with volatile business environments means a business is rarely caught out of position, streamlining transformative efforts and preventing costly reverses.

In this blog, we examine fundamental principles behind the transformation journey model and how they gear a business to move to a state of change.


Command and Control: The C-Suite and Strategic Responsibilities

The absence of predefined end-states does not remove the necessity of thorough forward planning. Without the rigid, pre-set structures of waterfall change management, a thorough top-line strategy of common business objectives is critical. Executive leadership is responsible for this “strategic intent” and its quantified business outcomes.

The following considerations are common features of successful transformation strategies:

Financial baselines, projections, and performance metrics

List of stakeholders and buy-in requirements

Funding model recommendations for transformation

Measures to focus departmental efforts on outcomes

Contingencies for anticipated obstacles and sprints

Addressing these concerns enables the creation of a detailed roadmap to guide project implementation at the departmental level. PMOs and managers have a reference to mark progress, and obstacles can be identified and resolved quickly.

Central leadership is imperative to preventing value loss, direct stakeholders, and issue adjustments to external developments. Without this strategic foundation, all subsequent transformation efforts are in danger of working in silos and collapsing.


Lines of Communication: Harnessing Departments to Focus Transformation

Transformation to desired outcomes affects the entirety of a company’s business model, from front-facing operations to backend supply chains. Commonly affected areas include:

The value proposition

Pricing models

Supply chain needs

Back-office support

Business processes

When the scope of change is so extensive, maintaining focus becomes vital. Unlike traditional change models, transformation journey management is executed simultaneously across all areas. Departments must collect data, capture learnings, and execute adjustments quickly. Any misalignment can drag efforts and cause a pileup that may derail transformation.

Stakeholders often buckle under the strain. There is a natural tendency to relieve stress by retaining more of the current approach than should be – regressive actions known as “status quo bias”.

It is essential for departments to identify and shut down regressive actions before they hinder transformation. Clear channels of communication along the chain of command accelerate reaction time, helping correct dispersals swiftly and keeping the focus on achieving outcomes.


People and Culture: How Collaboration Accelerates Transformation

In the past, change management was the exclusive purview of senior leadership, departmental heads, and PMOs hired to oversee change operations. Project scope was siloed to relevant departments, and the number of stakeholders involved was limited.

The move away from fixed end-states has rendered this approach obsolete. On a transformation journey, change management becomes the function of every stakeholder in the business. Everyone, from front-facing staff to third-party vendors, is aware of central business objectives and how they affect routine tasks.

When strategic direction and success metrics become common knowledge, it makes it easier for everyone to buy in and contribute equally. Alignment enables agility: coordination is easier when stakeholders know their role in the greater picture.

Open collaboration reduces confusion, minimizes resistance, incentivizes innovation, and enhances engagement efficiency. Widespread participation from all stakeholders further helps maintain direction and allows key efforts to fire on all cylinders.


Impartial Advisory: Why Outsiders are the Linchpin to Success

The sheer scale of changes digital transformation requires is nearly impossible for any business to execute alone. Besides the complexity of transformation itself, companies must continue running regular operations as usual – a balancing act most cannot handle without additional, external support.

The solution is a small team of third-party consultants embedded within the business for the duration of transformation. The “transformation journey team” liaises directly with senior leadership, and is present at every stage of the transformation effort:

Formulating the strategic intent and business objectives

Overseeing executions of the implementation roadmap

Providing non-core competency expertise

Monitoring external developments

Capturing learnings and leading adjustments

A transformation journey team brings impartiality to the transformation – a quality businesses cannot provide themselves. Its neutrality presents an effective check on faulty strategies, unrealistic objectives, complex roadmaps, PMO diversions, and status quo bias.

The principles of transformation journey management are designed to establish the cohesion necessary for sustainable strategic agility. The benefits of such shakeups can persist long after transformation is complete.

How principles manifest in any transformation journey will change based on the situation. Businesses vary, and the model in action can look very different from the concept. What’s important is to focus on the business outcomes you need at every stage of transformation.

Want to see these principles in action for your digital transformation? Our consultants can help.


Cecilia Edwards

Cecilia Edwards is experienced in driving business value through the use of next-generation IT, business processes, and alternative delivery models. With her 20+ year strategy background shaped initially by nearly 7 years at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Cecilia works with her clients to develop business-centric IT strategies and drive IT-enabled business transformations. Captain Edwards started her career in the United States Air Force and was a launch manager on the Titan Satellite Launch program. When she says it’s not rocket science, she knows.

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