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Program Management - Steps for Success and Customer Satisfaction
Program Management - Steps for Success and Customer Satisfaction
Program Management - Steps for Success and Customer Satisfaction
Program Management - Steps for Success and Customer Satisfaction
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Program Management - Steps for Success and Customer Satisfaction

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Pre-Program Steps for Program Managers in making the Customer satisfied and program sucessfull

Pre-Program Steps for Program Managers in making the Customer satisfied and program sucessfull

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  1. Program Management – Pre-Program Steps for Success Page 1 of 4 Dated: 01/07/2013 Program Management – Pre-Program Steps for Success By Manish Srivastava MBA, MCA, PMP Context Success is what everyone is looking for – in all aspects of life (especially in professional career). It is measured based on the outcomes derived from the performed activities. To maximise its probability, planning and pre-requisites are required so that experience and knowledge can be applied before the real ‘Begin’. Based on my experience and exposure, to make a program successful and hence achieve customer satisfaction, there are few steps that can be taken during the Pre-Program Setup stage by the service provider. These will benefit in defining success measures, setting expectations, preparing program road map and above all develop trust and instil confidence in the working relationships. Both the customer and service provider will have the same definition of success and identical yardsticks to measure. As an analogy it is like participating in a car rally with customer and service provider as the navigator and driver respectively. Route and rules of the race are defined, vehicle decided, support team formed, duration and environment conditions mostly known and most importantly the definition of success engraved in mind - waiving of the chequered flag on crossing the finish line. Recommendations The service provider after being identified for implementation of the program should proactively carve out a Pre-Program Setup stage and invite the customer for a discussion in a workshop mode. During the sessions at customer premises, the service provider team should discuss the program details with all stakeholders and arrive at a common understanding. This relationship and trust building activity will further help in formalising the Program Governance and plans for forthcoming implementation phases. The service provider should make sure that all internal and external stakeholders and their representatives attend the meet. The agenda for the workshop should be covered in following four steps: Step 1. Introduction to Stakeholders – All stakeholders associated with the program should break the ice via this introduction and start building the engagement. This rapport building step will help the service provider program manager to analyse (especially for the external group) and categorise them into - Positive, Negative, Neutral or Satisfied force. Positive – Members who are affirmative towards the success of the program and want it rolled-out to benefit the organisation. They are Sponsors who drive the initiative, Program Directors and Managers who are nominated and empowered to implement the change and the team who will be dedicated for the implementation. They will always infuse enthusiasm and play the role of saviour during the course of implementation.
  2. Program Management – Pre-Program Steps for Success Page 2 of 4 Dated: 01/07/2013 Fig. 1 Influencing Stakeholder Negative – Not all members will be optimistic about the proposed change. There will be room for scepticism, resistance, defensiveness, and reservation. Their viewpoints will surely affect the outcome and hamper the progress of the implementation. They need to be managed accordingly. Neutral – Members who have accepted the change and are in a way enablers for it. They should be associated with the ‘Negatives’ as catalyst and help them in changing their thought process. Satisfied – This group will be populated later during the course of the implementation after monitoring and owning the outcomes. This classification during the course will help in managing the program by handling the stakeholder accordingly - influencing Negative towards Neutral; Neutral towards Positive; and more confidence to Positive (to retain the spirit) as Satisfied. Step 2. Definition of Program – After introduction, the program manager should guide the discussion for defining the program’s objective and success state acceptable for the implementation. The points should be derived from four major input streams – Organisation’s Value Chain, Program Requirements, Benefits Expected and Critical Success Factors. Organisation’s Value Chain – As a context, the sponsor of the program should brief the gathering about the Value Chain of the organisation and also the role and contribution of the proposed program in it. This will help the group in gauging the stake, impact, relevance and criticality of the program. Program Requirements – Based on the above context, there should be several sessions of discussion covering the documents provided by customer in form of Tender or Requirement/Scope Specifications. The intent is not to have a detailed Requirement Analysis session, but an overview to gain insights related to understanding, importance, coverage, dependencies, complexities, limitations and expectations from the concerned stakeholders. It will also reveal certain important factors including depth of knowledge, willingness and readiness from customer’s perspective. Benefits Expected – The fundamental reason for any program to exist is to deliver benefits. The deliverables as outcomes should reap recognisable and measureable benefits. As part of benefit realisation, the Program Manager should discuss and construct a Benefits Dependency Network and help the group to analyse vital points like – Why the program is needed, what are the objectives, what changes are required in the organisation, what other projects and programs are related in achieving the objective etc. The benefits should be identified, quantified, collated along with their priority. Critical Success Factors – The group (lead by the customer) should brainstorm and identify Critical Success Factors mandatory to achieve from the program. The mission, objectives
  3. Program Management – Pre-Program Steps for Success Page 3 of 4 Dated: 01/07/2013 Fig. 2 Correlation for Common Outputs and goals of the program and its impact on the Value Chain should be articulated. These factors down the line should receive serious continuous attention from the management. The discussion in this step will help the group to have a common definition of the proposed program and the expected outcomes from it. Step 3. Definition of Program Success – Once the group reaches the consensus about identifying the benefits expected and critical success factors based on the requirements and value chain, they should formalise the details in form of matrices that needs to be monitored throughout the program lifecycle. The program manager should propose traceability matrices that correlate the benefits, critical success factors and the requirements and establishes a formal relationship. All the inputs should be correlated and given due importance and priority. In a normal scenario, the progress of the program is monitored by the accomplishment of the requirements, whereas measuring the benefits and success factors are dealt with separately (if need be at all). The stakeholders do not get to see the complete picture. The benefits and success factors become a qualitative discussion subject to interpretation. In the proposed correlated relationship, a better combined information dashboard at any point should assist the stakeholder in traversing the benefits, objective, purpose, critical success factors, requirements and scope coverage with their actual past and current state and planned future state. Based on the exercise, the measurable criteria and yardsticks can be derived that will help to monitor the success of the program in terms of direction, progress, and completeness and therefore satisfaction. Step 4. Document the Consensus – The matrices and dashboards derived for defining the program success should be formally documented and enclosed as part of Statement of Work (or other related legal document). The stakeholders should be explained in detail about all the artefacts arrived upon and their significance and relation to the yardsticks of success. These artefacts should be made into a binding document between the customer and service provider. For all the forthcoming phases and plans, these matrices should always be followed. Any change or deviation should be mutually agreed.
  4. Program Management – Pre-Program Steps for Success Page 4 of 4 Dated: 01/07/2013 Conclusion Some Program Managers treat requirements, benefits and critical success factors as separate silos. They are more inclined towards meeting the requirements and unintentionally overlooking (or providing reduced weightage to) the other two important pillars. This is due to their project management experience and influence which is driven by deliveries rather than benefits. The paradigm needs to shift. Along with milestones and deliveries, benefits realisation path and achievement should also be considered. To make a program successful, the end result should be accomplished based on the targets jointly defined by customer and service providers. The Program Manager should take the initiative of discussing the requirement’s overview under the context of benefits, critical success factors and value chain before the kick-off and arriving at a common platform to perform and excel. This will set the expectations and also provide both the groups a set of commandments to follow and achieve. About the Author Manish Srivastava, PMP, has over 17 years of global experience in managing large projects and clients in India and abroad from different domains including Finance, Cargo, Travel, Manufacturing, Procurement and Government. He has orchestrated numerous end-to-ends Software Life Cycle from Pre-Sales bid to Warranty Support for Web/Client-Server technologies under the Quality frameworks of CMM Level 5 and ISO. In addition to his PMP certification (2006), he also holds Master of Business Administration (2006) from University of Bradford and Master Degree in Computer Applications (1995) from Magadh University. He would welcome to discuss further using Linkedin.

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