Sunday, April 23, 2017

Aligning People and Process to Drive Performance

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

Plandocheckadjust

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.
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  • 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.
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  • 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
Thursday, 14 July 2016 00:00

Data Prioritization

In our previous Data Stewardship post we discussed the core component of assigning and communicating data ownership and accountability. We also created a “Data Stewardship Checklist” that can provide structure to assist in creating and maintaining the missing link. Click here to get the checklist.

Now that the data ownership has been assigned (see previous blog post), you need to prioritize what will be worked on first – and why. It’s critical to define and communicate the relative business value of data and establish processes accordingly. Let’s dive in…

Define high-level data map in tiers

The first step is to define your high level data map in your critical business processes. Specifically, this should be done in logical sets of data (for example, demographic data, versus relationship data, versus transaction data), not at a data field level. Part of this data map should include setting business impact criteria with each process owner and establishing data tiers with simple “ABC” ranking. A good rule of thumb is to categorize the “ABC” ratings, where “A” is Business Critical, “B” is Business Impactful, and “C” is Nice to Have. After you’ve set individual process owner priorities, consolidate the individual process owner priorities into a single consolidated view to make sure there’s no gaps in ownership and priority. Review the overall list for gaps and overlaps, and get the list validated with the individual owners.

Establish appropriate processes to your prioritized data

A key success factor is aligning the appropriate processes based on the priorities of each level of data. As is taught in best practice inventory management, you hand count “A” level items often. “B” level items may do spot counts, and “C” level items you just replenish when you’re out of them. You typically manage the quality of tier “A” data with exception reporting and dashboards, which presents useable information to you instead of having to dig through multiple data sources. An example might be having a dashboard showing all sales pipeline activities where the expected close date is now past-due more than a week.

Tiers “B” and “C” will require less rigorous and frequent audit components. For instance, tier “B” data might just include routine review of the business impactful data into specific job roles and responsibilities. An example would be someone specifically assigned to look for duplicate information between systems on a monthly basis. Tier “C” might be similar but on a less-frequent basis, or could simply be a reactionary process once incorrect data is identified. Setting appropriate processes, timeframes, and owners based on the relative business impact of the information is critical. Line up appropriate cleansing and audit processes with the business impact of the information so you don’t just have a one size fits all process.

Tie data to your accountability to organization roles

Once the data tiers are set and prioritized, and the appropriate data management processes are established, now you want to tie them to the ownership and accountability in your organization. As described in the first post in this blog series, you’ve already established data ownership, now you need to include data process ownership to specific roles and people. To the extent you can, you should establish these new responsibilities in the Human Resource processes such as job descriptions and performance evaluations.

In the next blog post, we will discuss the specifics of how to build quality into the data management processes as part of overall data stewardship.

Want to see more detail on how to get started? Download the Data Stewardship Checklist, and sign up to get email updates from the Data Stewardship blog series where you’ll receive more information about organizing and maintaining your data assets. We’ll send you subsequent emails for each of the data stewardship areas outlined above.

 

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It's about more than just communication preferences and data you're already collecting. Watch a 90 second video to learn how to leverage CRM and CRM processes to provide additional value to your customers through better marketing strategies, service strategies, and all other customer touchpoints:

 

 

Click to Tweet: Learn how to leverage "Voice of the Customer" info already in #CRM - watch a 90 second video: http://ctt.ec/U3dE6+ @dptsolutionsinc

 

Watch Part 2 →



Published in News

 

Seeding young minds with dreams is a difficult task in itself. It can be equally hard to plan and make those dream happen. Both efforts require perseverance, wisdom, and the courage to try something few have pioneered. Over the recent few years, Grand Rapids Community Foundation has established a program to make college a realistic goal for youth in the west side of Grand Rapids. The Challenge Scholars program establishes a college-bound culture where college was formerly a rare option. By forging contracts to maintain achievement standards, and then providing post-secondary financial assistance to those students, the Challenge Scholars program has assumed a grand responsibility. DPT has partnered with GRCF to devise and implement a strategy to grow the program’s capabilities to meet that awesome responsibility.

challenge-scholarsLearn more about Challenge Scholars

It is a daunting effort to build a strong foundation to such a program. Talent, leadership, and vision are skills that foster those dreams; but, as importantly, those skills have to be aligned to a solid strategy. The plan that GRCF created following DPT’s approach will produce new methods to track relationships, reinforce academic achievement, deepen parental involvement, and support academic coaches and college placement advisors.  There is little doubt that funding those efforts—and toiling relentlessly towards benefits that will be fully realized nearly a decade later—is a unique and equally formidable challenge.

When facing a new challenge, the DPT team can provide varied and deep experiences across many industries to get you started in the right direction. Your organization and opportunities are unique – and so is our approach to helping you improve your business. Starting with our Design and Readiness approach, we identify which efforts are most urgent, which require bolstering of support, and how efforts would be best sequenced so goals are met in the short, medium, and long term.

Contact us to gain immediate traction and improve the overall success of your program, and meet your business challenges with the help of DPT.

 

Learn more about DPT's involvement with the Grand Rapids Community Foundation:

 

Published in News
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:29

In the Spotlight: Jack Kelly

With over 27 years as a successful business strategist and leader, Jack Kelly has learned more than his share of business lessons by jumping in and attacking problems. Jack comes to DPT with an exceptional knowledge of how we operate and a unique appreciation of our local partnership approach – This perspective comes from his previous professional life where he was engaged with DPT as one of our longest lasting customers.

Problem solving and the art of aligning business strategy and process are just a couple areas where Jack enjoys spending his professional time. With a broad background spanning finance, technology, sales, and operations, there are few challenges that Jack doesn’t have the experience to understand and tackle. His approach is simple: No problem is as complicated as we make it out to be. Break it down and find a positive solution.

kelly fam

Outside of work, Jack loves spending time with his wife, Julie, and two sons, Vince and Ross. They enjoy playing board games, being outdoors, playing music, being on the water, and last but not least – cheering for the Spartans! Lastly, here are two messages about Jack’s outlook on life - It is a good thing we don’t have to live this life alone! - and - Fun is critically important… have some today!

Read more about Jack

 

 

Published in News