I am honored this week to have a guest blogger, Praveen Puri. Praveen is an IT strategy / PMO consultant and is the expert in Strategic Simplicity®. He created the Strategic Simplicity® Framework, which leads to IT Strategy and project / portfolio management success which is aligned to the needs of the organization.

Companies typically attempt ambitious, high stakes projects—which involve large teams and trigger internal risk aversion. These transformations often result in miscommunication, delays, red tape, and roadblocks. The success rate isn’t great.

Even if the project / transformation succeeds, and you get the business results you wanted, they will probably no longer be relevant to market success. This is because the pace of change and disruption in our global economy keeps growing exponentially.

In this environment, I believe companies that can make things simpler, and execute change with flexibility and agility, have a strategic advantage.

To help companies become simpler and nimbler, I created the Strategic Simplicity® Framework, which can guide executives to both deciding which transformations / projects should be done and how to increase their chances of success.

The Strategic Simplicity® Framework has five components: Change Simplicity, Market Simplicity, Decision Simplicity, User Simplicity, and Operational Simplicity.

Let’s examine them individually:

Change Simplicity – This refers to thinking about a transformation / project as a TV series as opposed to a movie. We should break change into phases, or “micro projects,” that can be implemented iteratively. “Rinse and Repeat,” as the wisdom of the shampoo bottle tells us. This way, we can easily adjust to changing marketplace relevance.

Market Simplicity – This is about stating the “Why” of the project as succinctly and clearly as we can, so everyone understands what results we want. It is also about prioritizing, clarifying, and triaging business requirements, so that we focus on only implementing change that is strategic to the business. Transformations and projects are successful when the outcomes are relevant, stated simply, and clearly worded. Many problems occur not because of technical issues, but because of communication issues.

Decision Simplicity – Having to make decisions based on ambiguity and/or having too many options results in paralysis by analysis. We need to narrow choices (three being a magic number) and filter information in a way that allows apple-to-apple comparisons.  All through the project—from strategy through implementation– we need to be able to synthesize information to make timely, informative decisions.

User Simplicity – Most companies are aware of the need for positive user experiences for their customers, but they neglect their “internal customers” (employees). Many technology companies have employees straining to be productive on internal systems with clunky interfaces that they would never sell to their customers. Timely implementation success depends on teams being able to work effectively, without having to deal with unessential road blocks.

Operational Simplicity – Along with increased employee user simplicity, companies need simplified, streamlined workflow processes. It’s hard to overstate the strategic importance of operational simplicity—especially if you want to scale/grow the business. As an example, a Chicago-based Middle Eastern restaurant chain expanded from 2 locations to 30 by first eliminating 80% of their menu. This not only simplified their supply chain, but also increased their ability to hire and train staff for new locations.

Using the Strategic Simplicity® Framework to guide transformation can result in creating a lean, agile business that can innovate and pivot through disruption and change. The best way to start is to create three action items for each Strategic Simplicity® area, and then implement them.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. Please go out to LinkedIn to add your comments.

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