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Where could the Transformation Office go next?

Many businesses are implementing a Transformation Office, an evolution of the traditional PMO with a team of multi-skilled change and project management professionals’ structure and control disparate change activities across the business. Learn what an effective Transformation Office (TO) needs to make a positive and lasting impact on company culture and business benefits.

Our clients are increasing their transformation activities, primarily in three key areas:

  1. digital transformation seeking advantage and often new revenues through new technologies;
  2. transforming the way their teams work which has been accelerated by the pandemic; and
  3. process and operating model restructuring, often aimed at driving efficiency and enhancing profitability.

With the level of concurrent transformation we are seeing the emergence of the Transformation Office, a concept that goes beyond tracking portfolios and programmes, to deliver strategic change. However, it is challenging to secure staff with the right experience to drive transformation.

As a result many transformation teams are more focused on supporting projects than challenging them to focus on the key areas. This leads to the Transformation Office to focus too much on monitoring cost progress, or on project management practices, and too little on bringing together the different parts of the business needed to make complex change, or on embedding change for the long term.

A successful TO needs to play an important role in identifying and embedding these changes by being an advocate for adopting a proactive approach to continuous improvement.

Transformation offices typically take up to four roles: Catalyst; Strategist; Steward; and Operator.

Too many teams focus on being a Steward or Operator, and not enough on setting the strategy or inspiring others into action.

What are we seeing working well?

  • Detailed progress and cost tracking, keeping clear records and reporting on progress.
  • Clarity on what change initiatives need to do to progress through funding governance.
  • Clear challenge to projects in the form of Gateway Reviews.

Where do Transformation Offices’ need to develop?

To be more successful there are three key areas where businesses can do more to facilitate effective and sustained transformation:

  • Create ways to stimulate new ideas, such as ‘incubators’ to develop and test new concepts, before generating full blown programmes.
  • Change leaders need to actively look externally for new ideas that can provide real business benefits.
  • Dedicate time to understand projects, beyond the costs, timelines and benefits to identify interdependencies, even when resource constraints mean that they are challenging to spot.

In this series of blogs I will explore each of the four roles essential to sustained transformation, where they should be best sit in your portfolio, programmes and projects, from the perspective of the Transformation Office or C-suite.

To find out more please contact Anton Moden