28 April 2011

Lessons Learnt

In two previous blog entries I have told you about the turn-around project I carried out with an internal project team. Maybe you are getting sick and tired of hearing about it, but I feel that it was a perfect example of how internal teams can carry out projects that most people think will require a large external team of high-powered consultants. I promise that this will the last update dealing with this theme……….

The key lessons learnt from this process can be divided into general lessons related to the choice for an internal team, and lessons related to how an internal team dealing with such a complex issue can be helped to become successful.

The key lesson must be that internal project teams can successfully deliver "consultancy-grade" results. Sponsors of this project agree that there are only marginal differences between what this team delivered (including the key fact that it delivered on time) and what their favorite top-level consultant would have delivered. In addition, the work carried out by this team has resulted in automatic buy-in through-out the organization, and a fast and (so far) successful implementation.

Key lessons from this project related to ensuring that a team will be successful include:
• Ensure that the right people are made available for the project (skills, attitude, network, etc)
• Give the project a flying start by ensuring that that the goals and expected deliverables have been clearly defined
• Give the team a kick-off that enables the team to take ownership of the project (develop hypotheses and approach, etc)
• Follow-up on work done by individual team members to ensure that it follows a logical and focused structure and gives clear conclusions and recommendations that are supported by facts
• Ensure that the team communicates through-out the whole process (internally in the team, to key stake-holders, etc)

While every situation is specific, I am sure that any project team that follows these fairly generic lessons will be successful. However, the specifics of doing this can be challenging for an organization that is new to this way of working. As evidenced by the testimonials given to me at the end of the project I have played a key role in enabling the success of this team.

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