We recently had our annual Planview Horizons Customer Conference here in Austin, which is always an inspirational (albeit exhausting) week, and this year was no different. In many ways this year’s conference was one the most rewarding in my history at Planview. Business transformation is topical to every organization these days, and this year the transformation challenges our customers face really came into full alignment with the transformation we have undertaken at Planview. The synchronicity of solutions, challenges, opportunities, and timing was palpable and exciting.
Today we talk about our vision as transforming strategy to delivery in the changing world of work, and bringing this to life is what drives us every day. Further, it is a vision that is clearly front and center for our customers. Business transformation in each organization has many components, but it has to start with strategy—Who is our customer? What is our value? How will we differentiate? How will we innovate faster than ever before?
As a software provider, Planview cannot answer those essential questions for our clients, but over the past year in my daily interactions with customers it has become clear that there a four “sub-transformations” that we can accelerate and mature as critical success factors in that larger transformation journey. Those sub transformations are: embracing the changing world of work, realizing Agile-at-scale, creating an innovation culture, and making the product shift.
Embrace the changing world of work
The changing world of work is in many ways the result of a confluence of factors including the changing demographics of the workforce, new work methodologies built for speed, and evolving management models that are revisiting empowerment versus governance. Today’s organizations are increasingly team-centric, and these teams want and need to work in the manner that best supports the outcomes they are looking to drive.
Historically, the “project” was the way to request, approve, fund, and monitor work, but now teams leverage a variety of work methodologies including Lean, Agile, Kanban, and traditional projects. Organizations are looking for ways to support team flexibility, but not entirely give up on visibility and managing to broader strategic outcomes. This change is as I see all the time, a significant rewire for most of our customers—and it was for Planview as well. And today we are fully able to provide our customers with a solution that meets this new complicated reality.
As this new team environment proliferates and becomes business as usual, the second sub-transformation arrives—realizing Agile-at-scale. When Lean and Agile teams hit a critical mass, they get lots of work done, but they can sometimes end up in a state of Agile anarchy. In some cases, hundreds of teams can be in place, but they grew organically with an autonomy mandate. However, organizations now lack methods to coordinate these teams to drive larger programs, initiatives, or strategies. This is where the action currently lies in many organizations..
The team-level Agile experiment is over and accepted; and now it is about scaling Agility up and across the enterprise. But this is a whole new domain that again requires a rewire. As one of our customers recently said to me, “we are all about being Agile, we just want to maintain all the rigor we currently have.” Unfortunately, that statement is likely not achievable. For most organizations the answer is going to be a journey from traditional portfolio management to Lean portfolio management. This transition is really just emerging as we speak, and at Planview, we are actively leading the industry discussion and investing in the solutions to help our customers on this journey.
Create an innovation culture
So, teams are changing, and scaling teams across a variety of work modes has its challenges, but for many organizations that is not enough. Many companies are looking to reinvent who they are, not just how they deliver.
Reinvention is an exercise in innovation, and yet another rewire for many organizations. Those of us in tech are shaped from early in our careers to expect that constant change and innovation are just “the way it is.” But in many industries the pace of change has been much slower, and suddenly, there is an acute imperative to build an innovation culture—sub transformation three.
This can be a big one as it is really about rewiring every employee for a new normal and mindset. And engaging every employee is what is crucial, as you need the power of the crowd to drive the next level of innovation; and those closest to the action can identify the greatest opportunities. Building this culture also connects back to the changing workforce, where those entering the workforce are demanding the ability to make an impact on day one. Good for them, but traditional management methods may fall short. Leveraging crowdsourcing and ideation solutions from Planview can give you a powerful approach to engage every employee (your crowd) in identifying breakout innovation as well as build a culture of continuous improvement that makes your organization better every day.
Make the project to product shift
And finally, in what is maybe the ultimate transformation for many organizations—making the product shift.
The product shift is about connecting your entire organization to the customer experience.
No more front-office versus back-office, no more business versus IT, no more projects not tied to business outcomes—but rather a seamless sense of how everything we do impacts the product or service that is consumed by your customers. For many organizations, this involves the creation of the product management function for the first time. These new product managers are tough to find and hard to train, as they work across the organization and value streams to ensure you are building the right product for the right customer—and that they are happy and want to buy more. The product becomes king and work and projects are just a way to get there. The product shift really is the ultimate sub-transformation, and if done right, the product shift requires that you change the way you work, do it at scale across the organization, and build an innovation culture—a challenging journey, but one that is worth the effort.
You are a change agent. So are we.
Today at Planview we partner with our customers on the journey of transformation—where ever you are in your journey. We realize that transformation does not happen overnight and that the journey is better with a partner that has been there. After 30+ years of business and leadership in helping organizations connect strategy and delivery, we have been there. But safe to say, today looks a lot different than it has in the past, and we have transformed ourselves to continue to be a great partner to our customers during this exciting time. We would welcome the chance to share more on our vision, our transformation, and our solutions, and would love to learn more about your journey of transforming strategy to delivery in today’s changing world of work.