The Challenge

The CIO of a Fortune 500 wholesale club chain was concerned that a plan to evolve the IS organization into a more customer-focused entity was having an unintended, negative effect on project and change execution.

He observed vast inconsistencies in the way different team members planned and carried out projects and system changes. He questioned the adequacy of the organization’s existing project lifecycle and change management standards, which in many cases, were no longer being adhered to by team members. He enlisted Sophelle to assess the viability of the IS organization’s current project lifecycle, project management capabilities, and change management procedures.

Sophelle’s Assessment

Interviews with senior IS Management revealed that the existing project lifecycle was not being followed consistently, and that project managers were taking individual approaches to every project, resulting in various, inconsistent and often poor project tracking, communication, and documentation methods throughout the organization.

In general, the organizational culture fostered an often imprudent focus on simply ‘getting things done’, without fully considering all impacted parties or systems, and without regard for general best practices. Ultimately, Sophelle collaborated with IS management to establish the following goals:

  • Institute repeatable processes and achieve predictable outcomes
  • Establish capability based on the organization, not the individual
  • Optimized performance
  • Increase visibility into project and change management processes
  • Realize more efficient use of resources
  • Achieve higher quality deliverables

Solution

To achieve the established goals, Sophelle managed a complete re-engineering of the organization’s project lifecycle and changed management procedures. With input from IS team members, and the strong backing of IS management, Sophelle clearly documented the lifecycle and changed management processes.

To facilitate the execution of projects and changes, Sophelle developed straightforward project management tools and templates, leveraging in-house technology whenever possible. Throughout the re-engineering process, Sophelle consultants conducted training sessions, guiding IS team members through the transition to a new, better project lifecycle.

Tools

  • Created a comprehensive set of lifecycle templates for use in all projects including: Meeting Minutes, Meeting Agendas, Requirements Specification, Technical Design, System and User Test Plans, Project Milestone Checklists, Project Plan.
  • Established centralized repositories and retention methods for all project and change related documentation, as well as lifecycle reference materials.

Technology

  • Oversaw the development and introduction of a custom change management database used to track business plan projects, as well production system changes.

Training

  • Conducted regular training sessions with the entire IS organization on newly developed, tools, and technologies.
  • Comprehensive lifecycle and change management documentation, as well as more focused, quick-reference ‘cheat sheets’ made available to all IS team members.

Result

With new processes, better suited tools, and proper training, the IT organization was able to deliver on all fronts. Overall capabilities increased. IT executives and business users gained visibility into the progress on individual projects and the programs as a whole. Optimized processes improved staff and project efficiency. Consistency throughout the organization now allows IT to offer predictable outcomes to the business – exactly what they always wanted.

Please contact Sophelle today for more information.