Thursday, November 23, 2017

Spring cleaning can be a springboard for the rest of the year.

It’s that time of year again! Dust off the strategic plan, sharpen the tools, oil the machine!

Haven’t we all seen so many plans and spring cleaning initiatives for businesses and organizations fall into the same pattern? It’s like going to the garage to plan and prepare for the growing season. “This should only take a couple hours.” But it doesn’t. It always takes longer and doesn’t always produce the best results.

But not this year! Not in 2017!

Let’s make it happen every day, every week, and every month this spring and all year long. By implementing consistent and constant Project Leadership, we can.

What would the outcome be if our spring cleaning had a charter to help us manage factors like integration, risk, and quality? It could include the cost of cleaning supplies, the time demanded for each task, and the scope of what needs to be cleared out, cleaned, or repaired. What would we end up with?

A project -- complete with the framework, processes, and project management expertise necessary for success. Maybe by turning our spring cleaning into projects we could clear the way and provide our people with all the tools--and Project Leadership--needed to drive our efforts to realities. Project Leadership is not the equivalent of Project Management. Project Management focuses on four areas when managing complex projects:

  • Managing the Technical aspects of the project
  • Managing all the Resources of the project
  • Managing the Project Framework and Project Lifecycle in its entirety
  • Managing to meet the Business Requirements for Leadership and Project Sponsors

Project Leadership focuses on creating the environment to keep all these in balance, enabling Project Managers to be successful in delivering a successful project.


The Role and Skills of the Project Leader

We’re living in the Knowledge Age where ideas are the new capital and massive amounts of information are hitting us at light-speed. Distraction is almost inevitable. Project Leaders work around this by guiding conversation to keep the focus on broad situations, not individual tasks. They help specify the “What” while empowering the team to identify and manage the “How.”

  • Project Leaders write the vision by setting the “Why” and the “What” in order to establish the strategy, goals, and milestones.
  • Project Leaders support the project team as they set the “How” in order to establish the most effective path to deliver the project.
  • Project Leaders engage their teams in conversation to internalize a story, enabling them to implement and adapt to the ever-changing landscape.


Getting Started with Project Leadership

One of the founding fathers of Total Quality Management, W. Edwards Deming, brought us the System of Profound Knowledge® with the belief that profound knowledge generally comes from outside the system--that the system cannot see itself in whole. Project Leadership is often enhanced, improved, and sometimes accelerated with capable talent and resources from outside the department or organization. Outside experts can help ensure:

  • Complex projects and programs are guided to success
  • The right people are doing the right work
  • Focus and vision are clear the whole way


Start Today

Start making your plan for spring cleaning today while you’re in the mood. This will be sure to set the stage for transforming your Cleaning into Projects and establishing the vision and the framework. Start building your awesome and highly capable project teams now to start the process of writing the charter to kick off the season and transform your Projects into Realities.


In Conclusion

Schedule a Reality Celebration for one year from today and repeat!

Check out our Twitter and LinkedIn for more information. You can also contact us. We’d love to have a conversation.

Published in News


The late Peter Drucker is famously attributed with the phrase, “culture eats strategy for breakfast,” and we couldn’t agree with him more. In fact, at DPT, we have our own take… strategy eats technology for breakfast.

Just as culture formulates a solid foundation to build and ultimately implement strategic initiatives, strategic focus provides the same foundation for technology applications. In many businesses, this also equates to the difference between technology and solutions. To put it simply, technology is the “impulse purchase” made to fill a current and immediate need. In contrast, a solution is planned. It’s rooted in a strategic vision that incorporates both current and future-state business requirements.

Human nature lends to pushing the conversation to an immediate and impulsive decision. Too often, this “solution” is a band aid that resolves only a single and immediate need without much consideration for the long-term consequences. While resolving that need may be important, this approach lacks strategy and will inevitably lead to an ecosystem of unsustainable technologies and endless integrations.

In other words, a long list of headaches that could have been avoided with a well-planned strategy.

If you were constructing a home, you wouldn’t want your builder to start pouring a foundation without blueprints. There’d have to be planning involved. You’d talk about the basement, square footage, the number of stories, and layout before beginning. In this situation it may seem like common sense, but your business should be taking a similar approach to building sustainable applications and technology solutions.

When implementing applications ranging from Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions to business process management solutions, stick to a tried-and-true approach to collect business requirements. This helps to ensure you tie people, process, and technology into the business solutions you ultimately implement.

Below are just some of the key elements to a foundational approach in building sustainable technology applications to help drive your strategic business initiatives.


  • Slow down. Don’t make impulse decisions. Take the time to understand the strategic business initiatives. Interview key shareholders and stakeholders throughout the organization to increase visibility and alignment between each area of the business. Listen to the unique requirements and pain-points they have. Key stakeholders will appreciate being involved in the chartering process.

  • Review Recommendations. Once you have put a high-level framework around the solution requirements, reconvene with the key stakeholders to discuss recommendations. These recommendations should be ranked and prioritized based on critical success factors to achieving your business goals. Ensure a solution is tailored to your business and workflow by focusing the discussion around people, process, and technology applications.

  • Create a Detailed Project Plan. Once the requirements and goals are firmly documented, understood, and signed-off on, proceed with a detailed project plan. If possible, it is always wise to involve Project Management Professionals (PMP) to guide the entire process. While key team members often hold intimate knowledge in key areas, a project manager will help ensure these subject matter experts are pulling the rope in the same direction.


The process of vetting and implementing a solution may seem long and tedious compared to quickly patching up a problem, but it’s worth it. Remember: strategy eats technology for breakfast. So become proactive and avoid problems down the road by carefully considering and planning solutions that are driven by your strategic business goals and objectives. We’d be happy to help.

Check out our Twitter and LinkedIn for more information. You can also contact us. We’d love to have a conversation.

Published in News

DPT’s third year of sponsorship for THE Project included presentations from 15 teams and 11 schools. The students were polished, enthusiastic, and engaging as they addressed the problem of improving the affordability of higher education in Michigan. Keynote speaker, Lt. Governor Brian Calley, kicked off the awards presentation by talking about the importance of making college more affordable and keeping talent in Michigan, saying “Talent is the currency for economic development.” He concluded with a call for employers to hire disabled Americans (click to learn more).

DPT’s Henry Morley addresses the student teams

The Problem

Michigan ranks 45th in the Country in terms of Higher Education affordability for its residents. Michigan student loan debt is growing at an alarming rate and ranks tenth highest (as of a 2012 study). We spend a little more than half the amount on education as the national average per state. Lastly, state governmental support for higher education has been cut since the recession. Things are in rough shape and we need a plan to fix it all. As part of THE Project 2015, the student teams put a project together to resolve this situation. Read more on THE Project website.

Congrats to the Cornerstone University team – 2015 winners of THE Project! The winning team had a creative self-funding solution and was engaging, enthusiastic and professional in their presentation.

THE Project - First Place - Cornerstone University 2
The winning team from Cornerstone University pictured with Lt. Governor Brian Calley – Madison Drew, Nathan Mahoney, James Hardman, Brad Orr, Julia Martin

As a local partner to many Michigan-based organizations, DPT is proud to support this event that focuses on improving higher education in Michigan – ultimately making Michigan residents more employable and productive, creating a better economy for everyone in our community. As a part of the event, we also participated in THE Project’s annual Reverse Career Fair where businesses could interview participating students for internships and other employment opportunities. For more information, please contact

Published in News
Thursday, 06 February 2014 16:19

The Right Mix

Making a great food dish starts with quality ingredients. There’s a lot of value in having fine flour, fresh veggies, and the perfect aged cheese when it comes to taking a recipe from “so-so” to mouthwatering. You wouldn’t build a gourmet pizza from less than perfect ingredients, and the same is true for improving your business performance.


Do you have a business problem or improvement area that you need to tackle? Or maybe you have an aggressive growth plan and need a partner to help you get there? Our experienced business strategists allow us to interact with our clients at a strategic level – quickly understanding your priorities and vision, and effectively bringing the right mix of DPT’s practice areas to bear to solve your problems and move you forward.

The question isn’t which service to start with, but what’s the right mix of business service “ingredients” to get at the heart of your problem and make business change happen. At DPT, our services are closely integrated, and we work with you to engage those services where it makes the most sense to bring you exactly what you need to improve your business.


As an example, a key success factor in implementing Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solutions is defining and standardizing the underlying business processes (Business Process Management). Meanwhile, Project Leadership plays a role not only in managing scope, schedules, and budget, but also in driving success through change management, mitigating risk, and measuring business performance.  Of course, we also leverage our extensive CRM strategy and design experience on such projects.

When it comes to improving your business performance, the value isn’t just in the ingredients, but in how they are mixed together to drive success. Want to know more about how DPT can help you take your business to the next level? Contact us.


Published in News
Tuesday, 28 January 2014 05:47

What is Project Leadership?


Business leaders expect more than the traditional view of project management which has often been relegated to tracking, managing and reporting time, scope and resources. DPT Project Leadership certainly manages time, scope, and resources - but then we go beyond.

Watch a two-minute video to learn more about what Project Leadership is, and how it can help your strategic projects succeed:



Want to know more? Contact us, or discover more about Project Leadership on our website.



Published in News
Monday, 20 January 2014 13:22

Making a change in 2014?

It's a new year, and many of us are expecting exciting changes. Are you thinking of acquiring a company and integrating those new team members into your existing structure? Or are you considering an internal consolidation - merging two teams into one? If so, here's a business resolution from our Project Leadership practice that will help make your changes in 2014 successful:


Workforce planning is time well-spent to increase operational and business performance - making a comprehensive change plan will help increase your probability of success, as well as help you sustain productive change. To learn more about our Project Leadership practice and how we can help you make 2014 the best year yet, please contact us.


Published in News
Tuesday, 06 August 2013 12:52

Project Leadership Growth

As demand for Project Leadership expertise is growing, so is our team! Enter Shawn Rathbun. As an experienced project and program manager, Shawn brings a strong combination of excellent communication, technology implementations management and problem-solving skills together to maximize resources, and improve project results for companies in West Michigan.

A certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and LEAN / Six Sigma Black Belt, Shawn works from a toolbox of technical project management expertise balanced with skills for managing the human side of change to accelerate project success. She approaches her work with a professional, yet friendly and enthusiastic style to build rapport and strong teams while applying her understanding of how technology must serve the needs of the business - not the other way around.

Shawn Rathbun DPT Project Leadership

Shawn is an avid bicyclist and annually takes a bicycle-based vacation. Last summer she completed an 800-mile solo bicycle trip from Grand Rapids to Bemidji, Minnesota. This spring she led DPT's involvement in Active Commute Week in Grand Rapids, culminating in 60% of DPT's staff bicycling to work on National Bike to Work Day. We're looking forward to improved DPT numbers for Active Commute Week 2014!

dpt team active commute week community involvement


Read more about Shawn


Published in News
Thursday, 16 May 2013 10:26

DPT Sponsors THE Project 2013

The Western Michigan Chapter of the Project Management Institute (WMPMI) held its second annual awards gathering for an inter-collegiate project management competition on April 16, 2013 at Davenport University. DPT sponsored this event that brought seven teams from five schools together to compete for cash prizes and the real world professional experience of crafting a project plan. The project plans were reviewed and judged by a panel of prominent executives from West Michigan.

THE Project 2013

In keeping with DPT's guiding principles to be a contributor in our community, attract and retain top business people in West Michigan, and to remain locally-focused to best serve our clients, we were proud to support this year's project that was linked to one of Governor Rick Snyder's Reinventing Michigan strategic initiatives: "Keeping Our Youth – Our Future – Here."

More about DPT's core values and guiding principles
More about THE Project 2013
More about Reinventing Michigan strategic initiatives

Published in News

Have you thought about your relationships with technology vendors lately?

The quality of these relationships can help or hinder you from serving your customers well. Here are a few things you should consider...

  1. Every day, you renew the investment.
    When working with vendors – particularly technology vendors – you once made a decision to invest your money and time in their products and services. Would you make the same decision today? Why or why not?

  2. Vendor products impact your ability to deliver as promised.
    Building a strategic relationship with technology vendors is about more than just investing in the software or services they provide – it's a means by which you are able to serve your customers. If the relationship with your vendors is not clearly understood, communicated, or well-defined, there's a risk to your ability to deliver as promised. When problems arise, will it be work or play? Working together to find resolution? Or playing the "blame game"?

  3. Trust is the foundation for any relationship, professional and personal.
    As in any relationship, a foundation of trust and mutually agreed-upon expectations is essential. Trust grows with time and consistent experiences. What are your expectations of this professional relationship? You're setting yourself up to win if there is an alignment of values and established practices to support business and customer relationship management goals.

  4. In your customers' eyes, the "buck stops with you" – no matter who else is involved.
    It's easy to assume that your technology vendors will be accountable and responsible for driving your entire project from start to finish – but oftentimes, they view the scope of their project as simply making sure that the technology is installed and it works. No matter how vendors are involved in your projects, it's ultimately up to you to address important topics, such as: How will you manage change within your organization? Who needs to know what and when? How and when will the project move into "day to day" operations and staffing support?

Want to build or repair a relationship with a technology vendor? Sign up for DPT's Project Leadership webinar on 4/17 to learn about success factors you should employ. Register here.

Published in News

Stressed out about tax season?

Working with technology vendors can be stressful all year 'round... but it shouldn't be that way.
Join DPT's Project Leadership team for a webinar where we'll learn four success factors you should incorporate into your projects to realize the full potential of your technology vendor relationships.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013
11:00-11:45 a.m. with a 10 minute Q&A session following the webinar

Space is limited - click here to register for the webinar




Published in News