Delivering successful change programs is a significant challenge. Undertaking a Readiness Assessment speeds the launch of new IP services, reduces risks and aligns corporate objectives with your program.
The Challenge of Change…a true story
So your company is planning an all IP network. The CTO is delivering technology roadmaps, the COO is assessing the service portals, and network designers have been architecting for eight months. The program is well underway and people are now starting to plan the migration.
So, you start to scope out the effort required to deliver migration and calculate that it requires hundreds of resources to manage a switchover. You approach engineering to secure the resources, and are informed HR is managing a release program, remunerating engineers to leave the company. The same engineers that you need to deliver your program!
This is a real story, it happened to me as a Program Director. I often wonder how executives can launch complex investment programs that impact every aspect of the business, IT, Operations and Network, and then fail to align the vision with the wider company operations. And then I remember;
- The sponsors are only human, they can only identify the corporate projects that are visible
- Nobody informed the organizations executives that their own objectives were not compatible with your own
- Nobody ever asked the question: Is our company ready for large scale change?
Addressing the Barriers to Assessment
Assessing the capability of the corporation to manage large scale change is not often addressed. It’s perceived as an academic exercise, one that poses uncomfortable questions of the companies own abilities and management, and one that can become time consuming when resources are most in demand.
However, if undertaken properly, with a specific objective and a hard timeline, such an exercise can save enormous costs in launching in managing Transformation Programs.
The Purpose of a Business Readiness Assessment
A Business Readiness Assessment provides a structured approach to determine the current state of the business to enter a large change program, and identifies the key activities that are;
- Pre-Initiatives - Require undertaking to prepare for the program launch
- Complimentary Initiatives – That are advisable to undertake during the program to enable a successful delivery
- Impacting Initiatives - That should be avoided during the program
- Post-Initiatives – That require undertaking post transformation
Scoping Readiness Assessments
Readiness Assessments should be scoped against the range of the business that will be engaged in, and impacted by the Transformation program. That includes all organizations that manage or deliver the program, all organizations that are providing resources (or arranging resources through supplier management) and all organizations that are running parallel programs that are dependent.
The scope should assess two attributes of the organization;
- The ability to execute the program using current resources, processes, skills and systems
- The impact of parallel programs that are currently running or planned
Managing Readiness Assessment…Comprehensively
Readiness Assessments are undertaken through two data gathering and analysis methods:
First, the inventory of existing and planned corporate initiatives are identified and assessed. This is achieved through interviews across the stakeholder organizations, unless a central portfolio management team exists within the company. For each program, the objectives, timeline and program impacts are assessed.
Second, the ability of each organization to deliver against their program requirements is determined. Capability is measured in terms of available resources, skills, experience, reusable processes and specific tooling. This is captured through a structured interview approach, using a method of weighted scoring. This allows metric analysis of strengths and weaknesses against each area of the program, by delivery organization and capability area of discipline.The diagram below defines the usual capability areas that need to be assessed:
Post analysis, the Readiness Assessment is used to define a readiness action plan that prepares the organization for the Transformation Program. This includes;
- Launching (or accelerating) parallel sub-programs to support Transformation
- Freezing or re-scoping existing programs that intercept and are not aligned
- Identifying accountable owners to plan post-Transformation programs
- Building out the capability in areas of weakness
A Lesson Learned
Whilst a Readiness Assessment is not necessary prior to launching large change programs, it is certainly useful. In my experience, the small investment required to run this short exercise has paid dividends across multi-year programs. It aligns program sponsors and cross division stakeholders to the IP Transformation program, which itself accelerates the launch process. In short, this approach is certainly, worth considering prior to investing in a large program, to avoid costly oversights later.
A Readiness Assessment is normally performed as part of Program Setup. These ideas are explored further in our white paper “Better business case management for IP Transformation.”
Watch for our next blog, The business case for IP Transformation: Realizing the benefits
For more information on creating an effective business case for IP Transformation, please see our earlier blogs on TMCnet, “The Business Case for IP Transformation: Creating the Case and The Business Case for IP Transformation: Managing the Service Roadmap.