Everyone has read the statistics about the alarming percentage of Digital Transformation Projects that fail to meet objectives – according to the Boston Consulting Group, the number is as high as 70% (https://www.bcg.com/press/29october2020-companies-can-flip-the-odds-of-success-in-digital-transformations-from-30-to-80) – but why do projects really fail, and more importantly, how do you swing the odds in your favor?
Our team has been involved in thousands of collaboration and customer contact projects, and while we have seen projects fail for a variety of reasons, the one consistent reason that we’ve seen is lack of integrated tools and processes to monitor the success of the project throughout its lifecycle; we refer to this combination of proper tools and process as Operational Governance.
Specifically, most organizations fall short in two specific areas related to Operational Governance:
- They do not have a way to gather feedback from those who will be using the solution on an ongoing basis throughout the project. The people who use the new solution often make or break the success of the project regardless of how good a solution looks on paper. We have seen countless projects that were seemingly implemented according to plan, but still fail because the users will not or cannot use the new solution.
- They rely on labor-intensive (and often ineffective methods) to enable stakeholders & executives to track the status and progress of the project. Typically, organizations leverage project status emails & regular status calls to keep a wide audience updated on the status of a project. There are two key issues with this approach. First, all of the time people spend producing these updates and participating in calls comes with a significant opportunity cost in time and lost productivity. Second, many executives and stakeholders do not have the time to dedicate to reading summaries and participating in status calls on a regular basis. This leaves them unaware of both successes and issues that jeopardize critical success factors. When these issues remain unaddressed, they often require significantly more effort and cost to correct, and can even get to the point where they are unrecoverable because they were noticed too late.
Successfully delivering transformational change requires addressing these two common traps. Here’s how we recommend you do it:
- Systematically collect feedback (what we call Voice of the User/Agent/Supervisor) from those who will be using the solution to capture issues as they happen. Address issues as they arise by combining regular surveys that ask “How happy are you with the new solution?” and “Are you having any issues with the new solution?” with the ability for users to submit immediate feedback when they encounter problems. This simple step ensures that little problems (which can often be training issues or minor technical defects) do not become bigger problems that imperil the success of a project.
- Create a Success Dashboard to give stakeholders the ability to track project success at a glance. A dashboard that includes Project Completion percentage, current financial impact (How much have we spent so far? What is the breakeven date?), and an issue tracker enable executives and stakeholders to get a quick summary of the project performance and drill down into the details as needed – all without spending hours on project calls or reading through daily summaries.