A final phase give the best return…

My subtitle to this posting would be: “If not the most important phase…”.  I will revert to it – and you will understand.

After more than 30 years of experience running large and complex projects and programs, I have found the model to the left in combination with a set of other tools to be sufficient to manage it all to a success.

Not a miracle and absolutely no secret about it.  Purely simplicity and focus with the business as the basis for it all.

Any large and/or complex (tend to be both) have some sort of an underlying goal become more efficient in the execution of the business.

Efficiency can as we all know be measured in several ways.  Among the most common, you will find FTE, bp of total cost base, cost, consistency, delivery in time, less errors in the business and implement a “first-time-correct” culture in the organisation. And there are a lot more depending on the as-is situation.

And even if it is not expressed directly, any Business Management are looking for a way to reduce the cost base – if possible without reducing the quality.  Or, in my own words – any Management should be looking for a possibility to reduce the cost base.  That is their general mandate from the owner.

The real benefit from a large and complex project comes at the end if you run it. I will give you some kind of example:

A number of years ago I managed a large program consisting of 8 different phases – each phase focusing on a specific part of the value chain. Each phase with the scope to implement an improved solution, better scalability and more efficient than before.  And, each phase left the business in a better state but I proposed to my Steering Committee to add a 9th phase which I called “Optimalization”…

During a complex program like this was you are not able to make all the right decisions along the route and you are definitely not able to implement all good ideas that pops up during the phase.  So, what I did was that I made a note of all good ideas and considerations during the phase and put them all in an Optimalization log.

In this kind of a complex program there are always re-engineering elements that cannot be implement along the route because the dependencies require that other phases have been completed to proceed.  These elements were also noted in the same log.

Then, when all 8 phases were successfully implemented we initiated phase 9 by going through the log and define the scope and plan for the final Optimalization phase.

In this phase – “Phase 9 – Optimalization”, is where the real efficiency is implemented.  This is were the cost base is significantly reduced.  The phase normally have a cost base of internal resources in addition to myself (which is the only out-of-pocket expense) and therefore gives an substantial return on the investment.

So far, I have never experienced a program where the the cost side have been a 1-one digit million kroner and the benefit side have always(!) been either 2-two or 3-three digit million kroner.

This is truly a game changer for all complex programs and/or projects and should be a mandatory phase to go through.  This is the only way to get the real and full payback of the investment.

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