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Gearing up for Project Management:Version NEXT Integrating Innovation &SustainabilityAshish Sadekar – Executive Director, ...
Contents 1. Abstract ........................................................................................................
1. AbstractIn the era of disruptive technology and instant gratification, project management is reaching astrategic inflec...
This paper deals with this non-linear innovative model which I implemented for one of the bigcustomers. This was an experi...
implementation team, we had to deliver to make our margins and justify the decision of the topmanagement. There was, there...
The “NEW” StakeholdersIf the annual business plan target is the most important part of this model, it is but natural that ...
paramount and to do that, we had to make the business users use the technology. We neededsupport from the customer managem...
for complex projects, the execution even is more difficult. And when the stakeholders are many andthe model is newer, the ...
monitor the day to day working and resolve issues on the execution level and guide on the internalworkings of the organiza...
7. Future of Non Linear modelsThe world is facing a lot of changes. And the changes are quite fast as compared to slow gra...
8. Author’s Profile                      Ashish Sadekar is passionate about project and                      program manag...
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  1. 1. 1 Page
  2. 2. Gearing up for Project Management:Version NEXT Integrating Innovation &SustainabilityAshish Sadekar – Executive Director, ProThoughts
  3. 3. Contents 1. Abstract ........................................................................................................................................... 4 2. Introduction...................................................................................................................................... 4 3. The Basis of the Innovative Model .................................................................................................. 5 4. Risks and Rewards Model .............................................................................................................. 5 4.1 The Key ingredients of Model ................................................................................................... 5 Quantified Objectives: ...................................................................................................................... 5 Costs ................................................................................................................................................ 5 Profits ............................................................................................................................................... 6 How to set the Targets – the Annual Business Plan of the customer ............................................. 6 The “NEW” Stakeholders ................................................................................................................. 7 User Adoption .................................................................................................................................. 7 Contract............................................................................................................................................ 7 5. Methodology .................................................................................................................................... 7 Annual Business Plan target ........................................................................................................... 8 Making the Model Work .................................................................................................................. 8 User Adoption.................................................................................................................................. 9 Governance Model .......................................................................................................................... 9 The KPIs ........................................................................................................................................ 10 6. Getting it Right the Next time – Learnings from this Model .......................................................... 10 7. Future of Non Linear models ......................................................................................................... 11 8. Author’s Profile .............................................................................................................................. 123 Page
  4. 4. 1. AbstractIn the era of disruptive technology and instant gratification, project management is reaching astrategic inflection point. Customers of today have become extremely demanding, rightfully so, tosustain themselves in the dynamic environment. They seek more value and productivity and in ashorter quicker duration. This has forced the project management discipline to undergo a major shiftin dealing with these customers and the projects. This paper presents a recent innovative modelwhich I had led - sharing the rewards and risk of the engagement with the customer. It was termed as“Risks and Rewards” model where the first thing the Project Manager has to do is to negotiate thecustomer’s annual business plan with the customer. The customer CFO becomes one of theimportant members for the project manager, unlike many other projects. The project budget is directlydependent on the project performance and delivery, as some portion of the cost is paid only if thecustomer’s annual business plan is met. And unless the value is created for the customer inmeasurable terms, the project budget will not be met. This is a major departure from the traditionalway of managing projects, and where the project’s performance is directly proportional to the valuegenerated for the customer and the organization. The paper discusses this non – linear model andhow this innovative project management model will bring in value to the customer and therefore, besustainable in the increasingly dynamic changing world of technology advances.2. IntroductionIn the era of disruptive technology and instant gratification, project management is reaching astrategic inflection point.Customers of today have become extremely demanding, rightfully so, to sustain themselves in thedynamic environment. They seek more value and productivity and in a shorter quicker duration. Theworld around us is changing with smartphones and smart apps, and we are getting information atfingertips. The customers are now getting used to a quick information and instant gratification.The customer project manager has to justify to his manager about the funds spent and show value tohim sooner than later. The customer cannot wait for the entire project life cycle to complete and theentire solution to be deployed to realize the value. The times are changing and so the project modelalso should.This has forced the project management discipline to undergo a major shift in dealing with thesecustomers and the projects.The customer wants value to be realized through each deployment, wants his RoI to be seen andjustified. The customer is not ready to pay if the value is not realized. This has made theimplementing organizations to look through their traditional models of deployment and see where theycan add value to customer engagements.Sooner than later, it will be realized the value will not be generated by mere enhancements to thetraditional model but complete change of model – a new innovative way will help realize the value ofdelivery.4 Page
  5. 5. This paper deals with this non-linear innovative model which I implemented for one of the bigcustomers. This was an experimental and at the same time, ambitious venture which delivered highvalue and performance to the customer.3. The Basis of the Innovative ModelThe basis of the model was to create value for the customer and also, for us – the implementingorganization. In other words, create a “Share” or “Partnership” or “Win – Win” situation for both theparties.The model was created through many iterations and the central idea was to create a high value and ahigh performance culture for delivery. The customer was not sure if by delivering our products, in thiscase, business intelligence and analytics throughout the customer organization; it would make senseto invest such money. The customer was unaware of the technology and was not really sure whetherthe solution will create an impact on the organization. The good part was that the customer businessunit was involved in decision making process and not the IT division, as the customer business waslooking out for the value generation and this direct involvement ensured maximum efficiency. Also,the top management including the managing director and CEO of the 10000 cr organization weredirectly involved in the decision making process. This helped to innovate and develop the modelwhich would be ultimately create a WIN WIN or partnership model.The process started with the traditional delivery which was completely rejected as the linear model didnot promise an assured value generation to the customer. It came across a lop sided model in favorof the implementing organization. We were on a verge of losing the opportunity and at the same time,it threw us another wonderful opportunity to innovate and present a non-linear model. I hadexperimented earlier with a different engagement model called “Show & Tell” and I was pretty excitedto come up with this new model called “Risks and Rewards” or a WIN WIN model.4. Risks and Rewards ModelIt was aptly called “The Risks and Rewards” model as both the parties can enjoy the success andpartake the failure jointly. It incentivized both the customer and the implementing organization toachieve a high performance culture and deliver results.4.1 The Key ingredients of ModelQuantified Objectives:The objectives were quantified .e.g., to put simply, it quantified the value generation. Also, thedelivery was made result oriented. We would have made the money only when the customer realizesthe value and makes money. Hence, the objective was simple to exceed the annual business plantarget for the solutions and areas we are going to deploy. We will see the details of how this wascarried out in the model in the later sections.CostsThe costs incurred on the project were not paid completely by the customer. They would pay only75% of the money and the rest 25% will be given only if the customer makes the money. So, as an5 Page
  6. 6. implementation team, we had to deliver to make our margins and justify the decision of the topmanagement. There was, therefore, a lot at stake for the customer and more so, for our topmanagement for embarking on this experimental and ambitious model. The cost was also arrived bysharing the salaries of each of the consultants working on the project and the salary figures beingaudited by a reputed firm agreed by both the parties. Thus, there was no scope to inflate theconsultant and team’s rates and earn more money.ProfitsJust looking at the contract, the arrangement for the implementation company seemed pretty lucrative– there was no limit to make profits in this model. If things go well and the customer had a very goodyear, where they exceed the annual business plan, we could make lots of money. There was no capand the customer thought in the later versions that we should not delight the implementationorganization. The caps were put and the profits were divided into fixed and variable margins in a sucha way that if the customer meets the target, we will get a minimum share of the profit and if it exceedsby a certain percentage, we get a fixed percentage of the profits earned by the customer. Thereafter,the variables exponentially rise as the customer exceeds the annual business plan target. Forexample, the sample variable fee structure looked as follows: Fees based on Incremental Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Revenue & EBIDTA Revenue Share O% to 10% 3% 3% 4% More than 10% 3.5% 4% 4% EBIDTA Share 3% 3% 3%Also, a maximum cap of a certain amount was put in to ensure that the implementation maximumshoot for this figure.How to set the Targets – the Annual Business Plan of the customerIt would be very apparent now that the annual business plan target is key to earn the profits andsetting the right annual business plan target is a key to incentivize both the teams. It was important,therefore, that the implementation team was involved and has a say in setting the annual businessplan for the 10000 cr telco company. This was the key to the successful execution of the new non-linear model.If the annual business plan target is too steep and high to achieve from the previous financial year,this will demotivate the implementation team and again the model will be similar to the traditional, i.e.,it will become lopsided but in favor of the customer. If the annual business plan target is easy toachieve, the implementation team has nothing much to do and they will not be so bothered togenerate the value, for which the model has been established. Hence the annual business plan targetbecomes the most important focal part of this experimental model. We will discuss in further detail onhow the annual business plan target was set up6 Page
  7. 7. The “NEW” StakeholdersIf the annual business plan target is the most important part of this model, it is but natural that theCFO becomes the most important stakeholder and the IT team the least one in order of ranking. Boththe CFOs – from the customer and implementation now play an important role in this program. Now,we are experiencing a complete new radical model. We need to have our CFO as part of the teamand we got a revenue analyst as part of the team. This radical change of stakeholders alsonecessitated a change of approach in dealing with the stakeholders. The customer CFO was animportant stakeholder in the scheme of things and the CFOs of customer and implementationorganization need to know how the annual balance sheet and Income & Loss statement wascalculated for this program. The program manager besides knowing his own P & L had to add newskills to his portfolio of reading the customer’s balance sheet and Income & Loss statement. He wouldaccompany his CFO to the financial meetings to discuss the annual business plan along with balancesheet and P & L statements.Also, unlike many projects which are undertaken mainly by the IT division, this one was different. TheIT team of the customer was relegated as a support division only. All decisions were taken completelyby the business team. It would drive the program from the customer end. It was driven completely bythe business and the IT CIO was a stakeholder for the customer business team for its infrastructureand networking needs.User AdoptionAnother key element for the success of this model was User Adoption. We were delivering a complextechnology with likes of predictive modeling, business intelligence and it was arcane for the end userhow to interpret this technology. And it was obvious that if the end user could not deal with theincisive technology, the customer, including our organization, will not make the margins. It was veryimportant that the end users and the decision makers believe in this new path breaking stuff which willhelp them to have an edge over competitors and sustain & achieve & exceed the business objectives.The user adoption in itself was a mammoth task as the business was decentralized and we had toconvince every circle’s head of operations, marketing head, service retention head, region heads, etcthat the new technology will improve business. The next section will detail how we executed the useradoption piece.ContractGetting the contract right was also one of the important items for this program. As this was uniqueand experimental model, it was essential that it was a fair play and transparent for both the parties toachieve the best possible results. The contract took a long time to evolve and the negotiation playedan important part to take it to closure. The contract was amended multiple times to accommodate newthings, such as variable pay, reference to TRAI rules, allowing our international consultantcommunity, initial fees for kicking off this engagement, renewal fees for the software.5. MethodologyAs getting the foundation was important, executing this complex, ambitious and experimental venturewas even more challenging and critical. The broader goal to realize value for the customer was7 Page
  8. 8. paramount and to do that, we had to make the business users use the technology. We neededsupport from the customer management to enforce users and spread awareness. This could onlyhappen if the customer management team has this program on the top of all initiatives to push toachieve the desired objectives. And for that, the management had to believe on a daily basis that ourengagement is going to add value and which will help to achieve higher productivity and revenuetargets. We wanted a solutions and business team to understand the requirements and produce asolution which is a fit for use. We wanted a customer business team who can understand the deliveryand deployment challenges. We needed an internal management who can understand this largedeployment and innovative venture. The criticality was high to deliver and more importantly, on how todeliver.Annual Business Plan targetSetting up the annual business plan (ABP) was the most critical activity of this engagement. If thecustomer keeps the annual targets pretty steep, we did not have any play to deliver high value. In thecontract, the whole process of setting the annual business plan was incorporated for thisengagement.It was agreed that the ABP would be created only for which the engagement will provide solutionsand ABP would not consider departments where the solution will not make an impact, e.g., EnterpriseNetworks business and hence, this whole major business portion was kept out of the annual targetsfor this engagement.The customer Finance team would cull out the solutions which would impact the requireddepartments and only that portion with their individual line items would be retained , e.g., Voice Calls,Local calls, Data calls business would be impacted and hence, their targets would be part of the ABP.As an implementation management team, our job was to understand the ABP and whether the correctline items were taken for the ABP targets.The next step was to understand and ascertain that if the customer organization had baked in verysteep targets which are kind of impossible to achieve. There were primarily 2 ways to ascertain this –1. Check the previous year’s targets and see what are the new targets included. This can be furthercompared with industry benchmarks or you cannot put a line item which had made loss last year witha high target. 2. Check the TRAI reports and additional market information, and compare the targets.We had agreed in the contract that the percentage rise in income would be limited to certain figureand in case of disputes on the ABP, negotiation and TRAI (government authority) would be resortedto.Once the ABP is agreed, it would go to both the management teams’ approval. The steering boardconsisted of the top brass from both the organizations and if approved, this would be the benchmarkto execute the program.Making the Model WorkThe challenges on ground are many and when there is no historical information available; it becomeseven more challenging to deliver. The innovative models are successful only if they are executedsuccessfully. And to execute successfully, it is important that all the stakeholders understand thesame objectives and what the project is going to achieve. If the stakeholders are more, as in the case8 Page
  9. 9. for complex projects, the execution even is more difficult. And when the stakeholders are many andthe model is newer, the execution becomes all the more challenging.It was critical that every key stakeholder understands the model synergy and how the model isoperating. The communication played extremely important role in this whole model. The variedstakeholder community included the 21 circle heads for 2 technologies, i.e., 42 key people, and headsof of different functions such as Marketing, Service Retention, IT, Finance, etc. which came to around20. Also, the top management and business team which constituted a sizeable team. Tocommunicate with this diverse community with different interest levels and impacts, the processes todeliver became extremely critical. When we started the engagement the processes were not in placeand the deliverables hence, were not predictable. Consequently, the top management’s interest levelsbegan to fade away and slowly the project started losing its critical priority to succeed in the firstplace. We had to restore this back to original level of interest and the consistency and predictabilitybecame cornerstones of our engagement. All the roles and responsibilities with accountabilities werethe first basic steps to start with and later, we introduced more processes as war rooms, daily standsup meetings, quick snap shots, learnings derived from other popular methodologies to make it work.We restored the lost image in a fairly quick time to show results.User AdoptionThe User adoption was one of the cornerstones of this innovative model. It was extremely critical thatall the hard work in getting the end product and solution right would not be a waste, if the end user willnot be using this solution.Here, there were different methods which were incorporated for a proper user adoption and further, toensure that the users make it habit to use this system and get advantage for self and business.The challenges facing were the typical inertia – any new system even though very good is “NEW” andusers cannot shed their regular settled way of working. We had to convince each and every userthrough Presentations and Demos & one –one conversations that new solutions & system are goingto improve the way you work and it is indeed very beneficial to you.This was followed by providing dedicated support to these end users. Typically, users will take theplunge but when they find an issue / query they tend to give up the new way of doing things and getback to the old rudimentary way. Support with some fun trivia, fun lessons, quizzes on the newsolution and prizes at regular intervals helped the users.While some were quick to adopt, we found some took time to adapt to the new way of doing thingsand this proved detrimental to our engagement objectives. We had to take the management’s supportto drive this initiative and force was used to drive some usage of the solutions. The incentives ofactual end users were linked to this new initiatives and end users were forced to use the new system.A critical activity was to close loop the entire user adoption program. We had to measure the benefitsaccruing from the usage of the solution and similarly provide statistics of how well the adoption wasadapted by different end users and with the time progression.Governance ModelThe Governance model was essential to get the entire execution working. The governance modelincluded a Working committee made up of top management under the steering committee who will9 Page
  10. 10. monitor the day to day working and resolve issues on the execution level and guide on the internalworkings of the organization. The Governance model will meet on weekly basis and monitor all theKPIs, Issues pending, escalation resolutions, new initiatives among other things.The KPIsWe had devised KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) for the solutions to understand if the solutionsmake the necessary impact on the customer including the end user. These KPIs would, in turn, betied to the ABP as the end users do not understand the targets as defined in the ABP; they justunderstand the work to be performed. So, the KPIs were designed to incentivize to perform andmaximum use of the solution. The KPIs were linked to their appraisals as this would ensure maximumusage of the solution. A snapshot of the KPIsFor Anayltics model, a typical predictive model which forecasts the future would be: • Postpaid Customer Churn %. (Monthly Churn as a %age of Total Base) • High Value Churn • Postpaid Revenue6. Getting it Right the Next time – Learnings from thisModelI believe every model or project comes with its own set of lessons learnt and it is fundamental that wedo this activity to get it right the next time. I have listed some of my learnings from this model:Buy In from top level – This is extremely important that we get the buy in from the top levels andthey are involved in the project execution. Without their involvement (especially the customer topmanagement) the project will not be able to influence the other stakeholders (read decision makers /end users) to adopt the solution and hence, make the margins in this kind of model.Get the Contract right – It is very important that the enough time should be spent to get the contractthing right. There should be enough incentives for both the parties to have a play in this kind ofcontract. For example, it was important that we had a say in the customer’s annual business plan elsethe whole model would have not succeeded.Roles and Responsibilities -- of every team member at both the customer and vendor – It wasimportant that the program structure was done properly and executed as planned. A detailed rolesand responsibilities of all the stakeholders in the project is very essential to the success of theprogram. This was the basic step in ensuring governance and predictability and consistency inexecution.Spirit of Partnership – Finally, the spirit of partnership needs to be maintained and it is the onus onboth the customer and vendor to maintain this spirit and build a long lasting association to reap thebenefits. There are times to exhibit patience, times to debate, times to take hard stance and times tocelebrate together.10 Page
  11. 11. 7. Future of Non Linear modelsThe world is facing a lot of changes. And the changes are quite fast as compared to slow gradualchanges of our yester years. This is the era of disruptive technology and today’s technology will beobsolete tomorrow. The CIO needs to be ahead of his time; he needs to have the vision and soonerthan later, his role would change from a supporter to an advisor for the business. The technologyplays a major role and soon starts driving the business and therefore the quantum of change tomanage in these scenarios will be very high. The execution, therefore, will require new thinking andinnovation. This will only work with the changing scenarios and the changing attitudes. The thingswould be relatively more unpredictable and therefore, a predictable linear model will not work in thefuture. A fresher and newer perspective has to be developed to counter the challenges.This decade will give birth to lot of non- linear model which will be tailor made for the customer andwhich will derive maximum value in the shortest quickest time. The non-linear models or theinnovative models will strive to deliver “value” against the “deployment”. One of the models I amworking with is the “Pay as you WIN” where I collaborate with other organizations and drive therevenue for the companies and I get a percentage of the revenue. The other models which I havetried with some customers and were fairly successful are the hybrid models like a blend of Agile andWaterfall which have a vision and short sprints.The world would perhaps go through a transition phase where the commodities and linear models willco-exist with non-linear models. Also, non-linear models would soon be in vogue as it will incentivizeboth the customer to maximize the value and the project organization where the margins andlearnings are at high stake.How will you sustain with innovation – you need to answer this fast. You need to be ready for the nextversion of Project Management – a radical NEW version NEXT.11 Page
  12. 12. 8. Author’s Profile Ashish Sadekar is passionate about project and program management. He is an invited speaker on PM forums and presented a paper on National Global Congress in 2010. He is a certified trainer for PMP and project management and has trained more than 500 project practitioners so far. Ashish had the privilege of working with the best minds in the top companies he has worked so far. He has worked with Microsoft where he bootstrapped the Consulting practice for Dynamics in India and he led unit in SAS India, a leader in Business Intelligence. Earlier, he has worked with top Indian organizations like Infosys and TCS where he executed some of the first and complex deals. Currently he works as an entrepreneur in the field of project management and advises companies on the right delivery and executes the very strategy. He has extensive experience in enterprise segment, particularly in ERP and CRM & BI space across major global products in ERP and CRM. He is an active member with PMI Mumbai chapter and participates in the certification training and other volunteer activities of the chapter. Also, he is active with NGO where he mentors the less privileged kids to attain proper education. Email: ashish_sadekar@hotmail.com12 Page

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