The mark of a successful project varies by project type and expected outcome, but generally, the markers and indicators of successful project delivery are usually categorized by:
– Delivery on budget
– Delivery on time
– Delivery to expected scope
– Recognizable and realized benefits
You would struggle to find a client who disagrees that these are markers for a successfully delivered project. The question, though, is what happens after you’ve delivered the project?
What happens at the end of the transformation, when the product has been delivered?
When the project team has been wind down, and the client is no longer defining additional scope to justify an ongoing run budget for project delivery.
Depending on the approach, technology and consulting vendors typically take one of two methods to supporting their client post-delivery. Either approach is suitable depending on client maturity, need, and necessity.
Managed service providers support clients in continuously offering access to resources, methodologies, tools, and processes that the client may not have readily available to develop and grow their competency continually.
The need for managed services could stem from several reasons, but generally, clients benefit from having a managed service provider because they can quickly scale up and down as needed.
In this context, coaching clients to success is focused on accelerating the client’s access to benefits by removing potential blockers that may prevent this from occurring.
For example, a client may use managed service to help in delivering implementation and change management services within its business.
Likely, the client needed to quickly deploy a new solution and recruiting resources in-house to do this would have been cumbersome, with long periods and potential risks of the limited human resources required to ‘get up to speed’ and deliver quickly the value required.
In these instances, leveraging a managed service approach towards success is essential. Clients have identified their capability gap and rather than allow it to hinder progress, they recognize the potential to have this capability gap filled by an external party.
However, there is a very real risk of dependency in these instances. While it is essential to ‘plug the gap’ when needed, it’s also imperative for clients to work towards a long term plan of building capability within their business to be able to sustain projects and change delivery long term.
Coach to ownership
To sustain long term change and remove the dependency culture, managed service providers and the client alike need to have a sustainability plan as part of their engagement.
It’s essential that clients feel empowered to own the change within their business while also being able to develop new intellectual and technical assets to improve even after their technology partners have left continuously.
This is why change management and transition planning should be an integral component of the project planning and scoping exercise.
Questions like the below need to be front of mind:
● “How will the client own the outputs of this project once it’s concluded?”
● “How do we empower the client to reduce dependency on our technology and resources in the long term?”
● “How do we provide resilience to the client’s operations so that when we leave, there isn’t a significant drop in output and effectiveness?”
This transition, continuous improvement mindset from both provider and client, reduces (not totally eliminating) the instance and risk of over-reliance on external providers in every step of the client’s business transformation lifecycle.
While it may be challenging to establish a ‘coach to ownership’ culture in certain instances, the principles at the very least must be considered.
Simple things like a ‘train the trainer’ approach to technology adoption where client resources are-trained to lead the business-wide effort of upskilling puts the power back in the client’s hand.
It is with this power that clients can be better at determining how and what success needs to look like before venturing into the market for support.