Prior to proceeding with a strategic project, project leadership needs to ensure that the project still aligns with the direction of the business entity, and fits the needs of the targeted customer segment, as it did when the project was an initiative. This brief article starts at the inception of an initiative during Enterprise Analysis to the validation of a strategic project prior to kickoff. Note in this article, I include both the private and public sectors when I use the terms such as “business entity” and “customer segments.”

ENTERPRISE ANALYSIS

Enterprise Analysis is the on-going effort by senior business analysts on ensuring that initiatives are:

  • aligned with business entity’s strategic direction and
  • matched-up to customer needs through product and services

The most important aspect of this effort is the elicitation of the business/home improvements and problem resolutions needed by the customer segments. The result of this outreach is called a customer value analysis report. In the vernacular, it is the voice of the customer.

Knowing the voice of the customer, the senior business analysts model1 the current business entity along with multiple possible visions. The analysts test the various visions and choose a single vision to pursue. The analysts then conduct a gap analysis on what changes are needed to the current model’s Value Proposition2. The Value Proposition is that component of the vision that shows how the business entity attracts customers through its product and services (i.e., matching-up with customer needs).

How are these Value Proposition changes implemented into the business entity? Unfortunately, changing a business entity is like making an elephant dance; it takes more than talk and talk is cheap (i.e., you can’t just say “make it so” like Captain Jean-Luc Picard in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”). In reality, it takes an initiative promoting the changes in-line with the strategic direction of the business entity along with a Value Proposition that matches up with the customer needs. The analysts present the initiative to an Executive Board. Upon the approval of the Executive Board, the Board transforms the initiative into an approved project. Over time, a Portfolio Manager funds the project and assigns project leadership.

BUSINESSES EVOLVE TO SURVIVE

However, customer needs are constantly moving. If business entities wish to continue to be in business, they need to continue to attract their customers. Note the phrase, over time, used above can mean days, weeks, even months; gosh, dare I say years. Business entities and customers are pushed by internal reorganizations and external market forces (e.g., laws, competition, etc.). For example, a new CEO may change the direction of the company, similarly an election could induct new public officials who have made different promises to constituents. As a result, the project is now misaligned with the new strategic direction and/or the Value Proposition is now mismatched with the customer needs.Prior to proceeding with the project, the project leadership needs to validate the business alignment and the fit with the customer needs as when it was an initiative. If there is a match, the project leadership pursues the project. Otherwise, the project leadership needs to review the project with the executive board. The executive board either revises the project for business alignment and customer fit or terminates the project.

VENTURES AND NEW PRODUCTS/SERVICES

What if we are starting a new business (i.e., no current Value Proposition)? So far we have talked about capturing customer needs and matching them with a proposed Value Proposition. But if we are a venture or introducing a new product/service, the process flow is in the opposite direction. That is, we start with an entrepreneur designed Value Proposition with the hope of selling it to a customer. Regardless of the flow direction, project leadership still needs to validate the business alignment and the Value Proposition fit prior to the project kickoff.

CONCLUSION

Starting a new project is an exciting time, but before proceeding with the project, project leadership needs to pause the train at the station and ensure:

  • the project still aligns with the strategic direction of the business entity and
  • the proposed Value Proposition is still a match with the customer needs

Actually, the project leadership needs to periodically check the project alignment and its Value Proposition during project execution. If project leadership decides to skip this validation, worse case, management may strip them of their project charter and slowly parade them around a maze of cubicles followed by a hooded SME whispering “shame” while playing an annoying ring tone.

Reference: M.Monteleone 



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  • GE Financial Insurance (now Genworth Financial) engaged Casseo to assist in the delivery of a complex cross-functional project. The project entailed managing the IT Infrastructure and providing IT Support to assists a dedicated debtor recovery team that was set up specifically for the project. Based in Birmingham, Casseo leveraged excellent project management and technical skills to quickly win the confidence of the local team. Over a period of time, Casseo worked hand-in-hand with this team to deliver an outstanding result where significant more debts were recovered than had been thought possible.  I have no hesitation in recommending Casseo. Programme Manager, Genworth Financial

  •   "Casseo was engaged to provide Project Management services to ‘Prudential Europe Management Services Ltd’ and each project managed by Casseo during this period was delivered in a very professional and effective manner. Casseo also provided key project management services in the selection; negotiation and subsequent contract awarding of a strategic €160m Business Process Outsourcing agreement, which was in line with the Prudential business strategy. I would highly recommend Casseo to any organisation seeking experienced, practical and structured delivery of IT/Business change projects." Managing Director, Prudential Europe Management Services Ltd

  • " I engaged Casseo as I felt other vendors and recruiters just didn’t get our requirements and I haven’t been disappointed. We have established a solid partnership that I value greatly."

    Director of Change, International Financial Data Services (IFDS)

  •   "Casseo was engaged on a critical programme aimed at further enhancing Dell’s renowned Supply Chain model for outbound logistics in EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa). The Casseo team immediately hit the ground running and added immense value in augmenting the internal Dell IT team seeking to expedite this critical project.  They brought a strategic and realistic view of the possibilities for the project, as well as a professional focus on delivery of a quality product to agreed timescales.  Casseo managed a wide range of internal relationships, as well as cementing the external commitments needed from Dell’s partners to make the project a reality.  Throughout the project life cycle, Casseo always brought a practical perspective to the table when wrestling with a complex project, and executed creative and innovative solutions to ensure success. A very worthwhile partnership which I would eagerly recommend to those in search of external expertise and commitment in meeting their project commitments."

  • "When DB Schenker announced the $2BN acquisition of BAX Global, the integration of these two large organisations commenced in over 100 Countries across the globe. In Ireland, Schenker/Bax engaged the services of Casseo Ltd to project manage critical elements of this integration.  The brief included; IT Application integration, Network integration; IT Infrastructure upgrade and IT organisation design & recruitment.  Casseo Ltd played a vital role in each element of their brief, quickly familiarising themselves with the organisation locally and globally, building up positive and constructive working relationships with key staff. Over a nine month period through the mix of extensive experience, hard work, determination and the use of professional project management tools, Casseo Ltd made a huge contribution to the successful integration of Schenker/Bax in Ireland.   Throughout the project, Casseo Ltd provided regular progress reports to the project team and provided direct and clear advice on all occasions. Our decision to engage Casseo Ltd was recognised as a huge success, locally in Ireland and at our global HQ in Germany." Managing Director – Schenker Ireland Ltd, www.schenker.com

  • Casseo Ltd were selected by Pioneer Investments Management Ltd to play a very significant part in establishing the PMO in the organisation (processes, systems, data) and in gaining broad acceptance for the role of the PMO amongst the IT community. The Casseo Consultant made a major contribution to adapting and tailoring processes, at short notice, to accommodate the diverse elements involved in a very large and complex change programme and also came with a strong project management background, which, combined with a good knowledge of the asset management business, allowed him to be effective from the start. The Casseo Consultant has performed to a very high standard in a fast-moving, multinational environment and has interacted well with PM, IT and business groups.  I would have no hesitation in recommending Casseo Ltd to other suppliers who are seeking a quality Project Management partner. Programme Manager, Pioneer Investments Management Ltd

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  •   "Casseo partnered with Perot Systems to provide Programme and Project Management expertise across a number of projects in the UK Public sector and in the international education sector. These are complex Business Transformation and IT Change Programmes, aimed at improving efficiency and business outcomes and reducing costs through the implementation of new technology. Once engaged, Casseo’s consultants hit the ground running, developing and implementing the plans, governance models and reporting disciplines thereby bringing significant improvements in the clarity and transparency of the progress being made in a short timeframe. The focus, work ethic and pragmatism of Casseo’s Consultants meant that as an executive sponsor you had confidence and clarity that the projects would be delivered and that our customers objectives and outcomes would be realised. The results and deliverables achieved speak for themselves across all engagements. I would strongly recommend Casseo to other organisations faced with requirements to deliver new projects or indeed faced with having to intervene or rescue in flight IT or Business Change programmes.” Director of Professional Services, Perot Systems

  • Casseo Ltd provided experienced IT contract personnel to Kindle Banking Systems. During this period Casseo personnel quickly assumed key roles in the development of the Bankmaster product portfolio, a leading open systems integrated banking solution that was deployed in over 200 banks worldwide. Casseo developed a partnership with Kindle Banking Systems that saw its personnel provide business critical services during a time of huge upheaval in the banking software market. Casseo services were also key in underpinning operations during the creation of Kindle’s Bangalore Software Services Centre. Technical competence, pragmatic project focus and flexible people are the hallmark of Casseo’s service delivery. I would strongly recommend Casseo and its team of IT professionals. Corporate Partnership Services Director, Kindle Banking Systems

  • TTM engaged Casseo at Board level to work with us particularly, but not exclusively, on Funding, Delivery Management and Sales Growth. The Casseo Interim Manager worked with us through two acquisition approaches, a funding round with Ulster Bank Ireland / Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS Commercial) UK and numerous Vendor Selection processes. Subsequently, we have appointed the Casseo Interim Managers as Non – Executive Chairman of TTM Ireland / TTM UK and as a direct result, our revenue has grown considerably allied by a massive reduction in our costs through various measures including Business Process Outsourcing and more structured Delivery Management. TTM’s Managing Director, our Senior Management team and our Project Managers have grown in confidence since their arrival at TTM. The Casseo Interim Manager’s rounded experience and qualifications has allowed him to truly work with the management team across all operational areas – financial management, sales channel development, project management, marketing support, technology vendor selection and in particular operational business management. We now have a much more structured outlook to the future and in our attempt to add more value to the bottom line the Casseo Interim Managers input will ultimately have an impact on the value of TTM as we move towards trade sale. Managing Director...[Read more]

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