As we juggle the scope of our digital transformation, we must stay aligned with our strategic objectives and measurable goals.
Previous articles in this series explained how digital transformation leverages technology to create a differentiated customer experience. We also discussed how to establish the return on investment and ensure that those measures dictate the scope of your transformation.
Two things happen during any major transformation initiative. One is scope creep and the second is lost focus.
Scope creep occurs throughout a project when people extend the business requirements beyond original intent or over-design a solution. Scope creep costs time and money, and can derail a project.
Since this is a C-Suite Guide, I won’t get into the details of scope creep. Suffice it to say that the executive sponsor must approve the initial time, scope, and budget for the project and then approve changes to any of those three. In doing so, the sponsor must ensure that the initiative stays true to the strategic objectives and goals.
Focus, Focus, Focus
Here’s the other thing that happens in transformation initiatives (and this is the real risk). Twice above I mentioned strategic objectives and goals. We tend to share those with leaders in the company and sometimes across the project team.
I strongly recommend sharing the objectives and goals with every member of the project team and making sure that each individual understands his or her role in achieving those goals.
As we execute the project, the team gets more engaged and deeper into the weeds. We encounter obstacles. We work around them. We miss deadlines and then try to make the time up. And the scope creeps. These are all inevitable and good project management anticipates them and works through them.
But as we work through these obstacles, the team members are probably not reciting the objectives and goals. It’s easy for an entire project to lose sight of why we’re there in the first place.
Executive sponsors and project managers need to step back occasionally, revisit the goals, and remind the team. Maybe we’re designing features for a new customer interface. We should be auditing our design against the ROI analysis to ensure we’ll meet our goals. The same should occur periodically throughout the project.
So, the key to scope management is to be flexible, as needed, but never lose sight of the ROI goals. Go back and check periodically. Audit the requirements and design. If you’re working in an Agile environment, allow time in your sprints to verify that the work product will bring us to the stated goals.
A year or so ago I quoted a Harvard Business Review article that said that, on average, companies deliver only 63% of the financial results that their strategy promised. If your digital transformation only delivers 63% of the expected results, will your business be at serious risk?
Managing scope creep is a natural part of any project. But keeping that scope aligned with strategic objectives and measurable goals is often forgotten. There must be a relentless focus on the goals and a periodic audit to be sure we’re on track.
Waiting until the end of a digital transformation and then discovering that we didn’t meet our goals can spell disaster.
In the next few weeks, we will cover the following, critical aspects of digital transformation:
- Marketing and PR
- Staff Challenges and Surprises
- The New World After Digital Transformation
If you’re embarking on a digital transformation, planning to do so, or just don’t want to wait 12 weeks for all of these articles, just email Emily at Emily@WolffStrategy.com and she’ll be happy to schedule a call with me to discuss any or all of these topics.
Larry Wolff is the founder & CEO of Wolff Strategy Partners, a boutique consulting firm specializing in Enterprise Strategy Management and Digital Transformation. Larry has served as CEO, COO, CIO, CTO, chief digital officer, and management consultant for public, private, international, and emerging growth companies. His specialties include corporate and IT strategic planning, technology led business transformation, business and IT turnarounds, merger integration and large-scale project rescues. His methodologies span industries and scale to companies of all sizes.
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