How Executive Sponsors make a launch successful.
So, the project you have been working on is just about to Go-Live. As the Executive Sponsor, you can settle back and watch all your hard work materialise, Right?. Well not in my experience. Now is the time for even more intense action as there are always those things or people that you just didn’t plan for. This is the time to test all the assumptions and support structures that you have been building since you came on board the Project.
During the early stages of the project as the Executive Sponsor, you were actively campaigning your vision of the project deliverable. You built a coalition of support to help drive the change and communicated the change at every opportunity.
This practice doesn’t stop on day one of the implementations. The launch simply means there is a shift in focus. This shift goes from creating initial awareness and building support to actively or proactively driving adoption and support towards the goals of the new shared vision.
How an executive sponsor can make a launch successful! Be accessible, resolve project issues and share good stories. These are just some of the way. Read more here! #ExecutiveSponsor #SuccessfulLaunch. Click To Tweet
The Key Groupings as to where to focus your activity
These key groupings include; the project team, the coalition of support, the affected staff and the support staff. Each group will have a different focus and message. It will be up to you to keep everyone up to speed, focused and on track. Your role is not to concentrate on the day to day running of the project. Your role is to be strategic and focus on creating conditions for success. Your negotiation skills will be tested as the various groups will have diverse and sometimes competing interests and timeframes.
For all four groups, you will still support them in any way you can. This will include, active and visible promotion of the deliverables, maintaining set expectations, attending the regular meetings, gathering information, communicating, managing, and supporting the groups. Above and beyond this the breakdown of activities are:
For the Project team:
- Be accessible
- Prioritise or resolve project issues
- Maintain effort towards the project goal and alignment to the company strategy
- Keep team motivated with good news stories
- Assist the team if the implementation is not going smoothly
For the coalition of support:
- Support the staff with any issues or roadblocks
- Reinforce expectations and commitment
- Measure and manage coalition staff
- Manage resistance from managers or
- Reward positive effort
For the affected staff:
- Reinforce the strategic need for the change
- Listen to staff and encourage feedback
- Report back on the issues raised
- Empathise with the staff about any difficulties
- Reinforce the WIIFM messages
- Reinforce your support of the change by openly adopting the change
- Communicate the success stories
Looking after the ‘last to know’ group.
The Support staff are usually the last people to know about any change but are the first ones that people call when they have an issue. This group should not be forgotten, which is why I have added them as their own special group.
Project success may come down to the interactions staff have with this group. The people I am talking about are the first contact for support, the help desk or any other 1st and 2nd level support for the project deliverable. To overcome any shortfalls in communications and training, members of this group should be part of UAT and have specific training. They should be kept up to date with the project progress through regular targeted communications.
What to do at the launch stage.
At launch, measures from the service management tool can provide invaluable data to gauge areas where support may be needed. Talking to the Support supervisor and creating a separate code for the change may help capture the data required. If the implementation does not go well or the support team is swamped by the number of extra calls then you need to help them. Having the support calls routed to the project staff to resolve or having the project team sit next to the staff to help build knowledge may be a couple of ways to assist.
As you will be the face of the project, you must maintain a positive image regarding the project by being involved in the project, networking and communicating the benefits at all levels. You can help drive the goals of the project by helping people be excited about the change, drive adoption by increasing confidence in the change and supporting people through the transition.
What makes a good executive sponsor!
Now you know who to ensure a launch is successful. Now read about how to become a great executive sponsor
Executive sponsorship and support for integrating Office 365 into the organization’s business model