In my last post, I noted that IO programs are by nature quite complex. I’m sure that I will be noting this fact more than once in this blog. It is important to understand that realizing the tremendous business benefits that an integrated operations approach offers requires the management of a high degree of complexity.
Given the level of complexity of an IO initiative, effective program management must be in place from Day 1 to stack the deck in favor of success. There are many components and many solutions that must be brought together, integrated and embedded in the work place in a sustainable way. Unless care is taken to establish the right program management disciplines before the initiative begins, the business benefit will erode over time.
Common Pitfalls in Complex Programs
Many multi-component, multi-solution programs fail to realize the business cases that brought them into being for a number of reasons. It is worth looking a list of some of the most common reasons for failure (or at least lack of goal achievement):
- Lack of clarity regarding goals and direction
- Lack of process and/or management discipline
- Lack of or inadequate issue resolution
- Poor pre-program planning
- Inaccurate budgeting
- Resistance and/or lack of cooperation among stakeholders
- Conflicts of interest between stakeholders
- Misalignment between sponsors and project team (whether it is an internal team or a consulting team)
Similar, but also Unique
While IO programs are similar to other large-scale initiatives, there are also unique challenges which require special attention from a program management perspective. I will be talking about many of these unique challenges in this blog and will also include some specific activities that our IO team at Wipro believes to be of particular importance based on our extensive experience.
One of the unique challenges for the success of IO implementations is significant level of domain understanding required from the implementation team (or teams). This requirement should be a consideration throughout the life of the program.
At the highest level of consideration, we have the four essential components of effective IO program management:
- Stakeholders engagement
- Management processes
I will talk about each of these in order in the rest of my blog posts.
The Bottom Line
Knowledge is power, and knowing the common pitfalls attached to a comprehensive and complex IO initiative offers the opportunity to ensure that the right project management components are in place before activity begins. Careful attention must be paid to putting essential program management components in place at the very beginning.