A systems implementation requiring business process changes is a major initiative, demanding committed sponsorship by company executives. For this purpose, a Steering Committee of executive leaders is usually formed. Their sponsorship must be an active role with a high priority on each week’s calendar for sponsorship activities and events. Here are the reasons for such an imperative:
- This is an initiative to integrate core business processes, using a system of integrated software and not an IT initiative which is peripheral to the business. The implementation will disrupt the core business processes that produce revenue for the company in some way.
- The outcomes of these projects are usually very visible to customers, suppliers, the investment community and the board of directors.
- The monetary costs of the implementation are substantial, and will increase quickly with any scope creep or schedule slippage.
- The total costs of the project are more than the monetary costs- in terms of employee workload, management attention and opportunity costs- and they also increase quickly with scope creep or schedule slippage.
- The disruption, high workload and management attention diverted from the core business may only be minimized by a sense of urgency to speed the change throughout the organization. Only consistent and repeated messages and actions from executives can instill that urgency.
- Committed and active executive leadership has been the major difference between the few organizations that have met their business goals for such projects, and the many that have abandoned their projects completely or reduced their goals and expectations for improvement.
Executive Sponsors’ Responsibilities for the Project:
- Clearly articulated project goals and direction that align with and support the business objectives of the enterprise.
- Repeated articulation of the business case that communicates the calculated benefit of achieving the project objectives to the enterprise in order to position the project and initiate support from key members of the organization.
- Selection of a qualified Project Leader to ensure day-to-day monitoring and control of all activities related to the systems implementation.
- Collaboration with the Project Leader in the completion of the Project Team’s Charter so the scope and the boundaries of the team’s authority and responsibility will be known to them, communicated to others, and supported by all.
- Approval of a Project Plan that is comprehensive, integrated, and that defines the necessary actions to support the overall success of the project.
- Support for a Project Budget that provides the Implementation Team with the resources required by the project.
- Presentation on project goals and direction, as well as the Project Plan and Budget, to the Board of Directors to ensure the Board’s commitment and support of the project.
- Presentations with the Project Leader on project status to different elements of the organization to increase their members’ understanding of current status, achievements, existing barriers, and to facilitate their support on resourcing, deadlines, and involvement.
- Recommendations for changes to the Project Plan that are communicated to the Project Team and submitted in a way that provides timely support for decisions by the Steering Committee.
- Advice to the Project Team on proposed business initiatives that may affect the project and require a change in implementation plans, or will require coordination of proposed initiatives with the Project Plan, so that the project will remain supported, with barriers removed.
- Resolution of issues raised throughout the project in a way that is timely, and clearly communicated to project teams, Functional Managers, and Senior Management.
- Visible commitment and regular communication to the organization as a sponsor of the project.
- Removal of obstacles which impede the project so that the project and the project goals are communicated and supported company-wide.
To gain the most value from your project, take steps to ensure your sponsors are filling the role you required. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you achieve success.