Why correct resourcing, governance and capability is vital to the success of transformation

by Marty Nicholas

We’ll be exploring how to drive transformation as a business-led project through your existing business-as-usual channels. Here’s the case for setting up correct governance early, resourcing the project based on its capability needs, and ensuring it has the necessary leadership to support it.  

Once your future state concept and roadmap are designed, the next transformation hurdle is bringing the plan to life. When setting up for implementation, it’s not just the end state that is crucial to consider – a common mistake that organisations make is to set up well, only to lose steam throughout the project. Therefore, having the correct resourcing, governance, and capability from the get-go is crucial to successful transformation.
In attempting to  a new program like this, there’s a real temptation to create a separate ‘industry’ – almost a distinct transformation business unit – that operates outside of the regular businesses. The rationale goes that it will make the transformation easier by having a dedicated team and timeline. The challenge with a separately operating change agenda, however, is that it alienates the core business and also makes it easier to de-prioritise transformation as a series of tasks outside of business-as-usual, rather than a priority to be incorporated day-to-day. It also creates more work down the line when organisations are faced with the challenge of meshing the transformation world and business-as-usual back together.
If you are about to begin transformation work, it’s worth planning early for how to safeguard against these common challenges. To drive a consistent transformation experience, it’s vital that change is business-owned and governed, that resourcing is based on capability and capacity gaps for maximum efficiency, and that change leadership is prioritised and invested in appropriately.

Diagram01.pngAt the rate of current technological progress, transformation projects often involve a component of technology change. Given it’s a tangible outcome and often a more business-case friendly change piece, technology change can muscle into the foreground of the transformation picture, often without the appropriate support of correct processes, ways of working, or people enablement. For this reason, at Blackdot we implore our clients to drive business-led, technology-enabled transformation.
In driving business-owned and governed transformation, the most important thing is getting the right balance of resourcing and governance. This means leaning on the already existing structures of the day-to-day business – using the existing resourcing, decision rights, and informal networks to drive transformation through other business units. By putting business leaders in charge of the transformation agenda, it creates a development opportunity for leaders to build the business they will run in the future.
Run a business-led and technology-enabled implementation

  • Make business units responsible for governance and decision making
  • Use technology and transformation resources to provide leverage
  • Utilise existing BAU forums and networks for communication, escalation and change leadership
Diagram02.pngTo ensure that your transformation journey operates smoothly, organisations need to have the right level of capacity and capability within existing business-as-usual (BAU). When drawing from the business for transformation, it is crucial to free up capacity by back-filling the BAU team with additional resourcing, ensuring that business leaders and employees can span both the transformation project and their regular business line responsibilities. Similarly, when capability is lacking, more bandwidth can always be sourced externally. However, this is an interim solution, as the mindset should ideally be around transferring knowledge and embedding external intellectual property and expertise, rather than forming a habit of outsourcing the problem.

Use internal and external resources based on available capacity and capability
  • Assign transformation responsibilities to future leaders to build future state skills and mindset
  • Run transformation through BAU if there is enough internal capacity and capability
  • Back-fill BAU roles if capacity is a challenge
  • Rent or buy expertise and knowledge transfer through the transformation if capability is a challenge

The final piece of the puzzle for activating a successful transformation project is maintaining momentum by investing in change leadership throughout the entire transformation. To complement an agile approach to change package rollout, the leadership approach needs to be similarly flexible. Often, organisations will deliver a project by using a Project Management Office to track progress against a rigid and detailed blueprint. Instead, they should focus on aligning around a common purpose and a clear vision of the future state, so that when execution begins and unforeseen challenges inevitably arise, the leadership is equipped with the right business buy-in and momentum to address any issues.
Over-invest in change leadership to fast track adoption
  • Align the organisation on a shared purpose
  • Invest leaders’ time in immersing in and role modelling the change
  • Hold the course through implementation and into the embedding phase 

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