The real key success factors in transformation projects

How do you go about your transformation project? What are the key success factors and associated key metrics? Does it have to be done quickly to succeed? How can the multi-project be managed? How should middle management be involved? Here we give you a summary of the answers to discussions with our members during the Inside Success Lab, the first laboratory of ideas dedicated to business transformation.

General comments on transformation

  • The primary criterion for measuring success is adoption
  • The fundamental difference between major transformation projects (that require meaning) and of other topics (that can be handled more easily)
  • Transformation must occur to allow the sustainability of the company. Transforming to resist becomes a business in itself
  • There are different scales of disruption. In France, we intellectualize a lot while elsewhere there is often application without discussion

What are the key success factors in transformation projects?

  • Sponsoring
    A massive disruption must be led by top management rather than top management letting it happen, although this depends on the type of sector. In any case, a favorable climate is necessary in order to take the initiative leading to the transformation
  • The speed of execution of the transformation project
  • Communication
  • The key role of middle managers and ambassadors
  • The importance of giving meaning individually and collectively
  • The collaborative dimension
  • The framing of the project upstream
  • End-user involvement and the pedagogy to support them
  • The creation of dedicated physical space to show the importance of the work under construction
  • The courage and tenacity of the project leaders
  • Exemplary management that can lead teams to fully engage
  • The setting up of a monthly steering committee in the presence of the General Management
  • The budget
  • The definition of tangible objectives
  • “German” style planning with “Italian” agility:
    Strict on the methodology but agile in action. And agree to enter the unknown from the start
  • Show the effects of the transformation through simple success indicators (identify and monitor the specific key success indicators of the transformation project)
  • Real life scenario to allow everyone to form their own opinion
  • Une planification « à l’allemande » avec une agilité « à l’italienne » : strict sur la méthodologie mais agile dans l’action. Il faut aussi accepter d’aller vers l’inconnu dès le départ.
  • Montrer les effets de la transformation via des indicateurs de succès simples. Il est indispensable d’identifier et de suivre les indicateurs clés de succès spécifiques au projet de transformation.

Is it necessary to move quickly for the transformation to succeed?

  • Time is of the essence.
    The rapid execution of a transformation project is key because the announcement of a constantly delayed project brings the risk of it being “nipped in the bud”.
  • But “speed of execution” does not necessarily imply “ease”.
    It is necessary to take the time to build the base, do the hard spade-work at first and then be able to deliver quickly, to find the “tipping point” from where the project will accelerate. In particular by creating virality with the “natural” ambassadors of the project: 5 to 10% will create the buy-in and get the rest of the staff on board.
  • The nature of the transformation project also comes into play.
    The implementation of the tools must be fast but cultural change is slower, it implies relying on what is positive in the existing culture of the company. Nevertheless, the implementation of new tools is at the heart of the three-part process/tools/organization: While the introduction of new tools is easy today, that of new processes is complex as it requires a long but crucial alignment. A tool should not be grafted onto an organization but be at the center, as a support.

What are the best practices for managing the multi-project?

  • Having a transverse vision of processes, user experience and organization is necessary for the multi-project to succeed
  • Create mixed teams composed of a cross-functional person, a business person and the end user in order to have a coherent customer vision
  • Formalize a global plan (e.g. virtual plan presented to the managers who will be able to comment / contribute / note, a three-year project plan …)
  • Continuous communication
  • Implementing a single platform to manage all projects is key

How should middle management be involved? 

  • Create small projects led by middle managers, with caring sponsorship
  • Identify a champion in each team whose mission is to help the transformation, without abandoning the manager, who must be valued
  • Use a platform to automatically transmit the information to the team and have the manager carry out global and individual follow-up of all team members
  • Create local relays close to the ground
  • Stimulate the parallel ambassador network

We hope that this summary will be useful in the accomplishment of your transformation projects. Do not hesitate to contact us for more details.