Global Organisations are inherently complex. Different languages, laws & regulation, time zones, cultures and a whole lot more. These were all the challenges we faced when implementing PM3, a PPM tool, within a Global Organisation. In this article I will describe the five key lessons learnt when rolling out PPM software across various territories within a global organisation.
Now this is a standard requirement when implementing any software solution, but even more important when it is a global rollout. With silos of users dotted around the globe, somewhat disconnected from the wider organisation, it was essential we brought them onboard with our change journey, i.e. moving from the current system to a new PPM solution. Clearly presenting the benefits of one Global PPM approach & tooling was key. It can be hard to argue with the objective of all projects and programmes being managed in the same global tool. Also, important was reinforcing the message that the status quo was no longer a viable position to be in. Our strategy was to deploy various techniques such as newsletters, PM Forums and presentations to different audiences in different languages.
With the rollout & PMO team based in the United Kingdom it was vital that we had a Sponsor who had a strong global presence and a good grip across the organisation. In this case, this was the CIO of the organisation, who was based out of the US. With a strong personality and an attention to detail, the sponsor was considered the main Change Champion across the organisation ensuring that the project stayed on track. Other Execs were kept up to date on progress and these executives played their part in promoting the benefits of PM3.
In each location globally we also selected a Local Change Champion. Involving the local change champions in configuration decisions and the wider implementation was a key strategic play that helped make the implementation a success.
On the face of it, this is very straight forward and simple but can get quite difficult. When rolling out a PPM tool, there are various sessions that required resources across the globe to be involved. These included configuration workshops, end user training and mentoring.
It was very important to work closely with the local PMO team who had key knowledge about their teams and roles they hold. We worked with these local PMO teams to put together a RACI matrix for the implementation. This way we could easily identify which resources we required for each session.
Once we had set this out, the next step was to look to organise workshops and training and put together a master schedule. Preparation and logistics here were key. We needed to ensure sessions were in the diary well in advance and that time zones were taken into consideration. Language was of course a barrier, especially when training in some non-English speaking countries. Having a translator on these sessions or alternatively having the local Change Champion run training sessions was a useful tactic.
The role of the Sponsor also became key here. The project team had prepared communication materials for the Sponsor to send out globally. These communications again emphasised the benefits of the PM3 tool to the organisation and to the project managers attending the training sessions. The communication from the Sponsor also made clear that the training for PM3 was mandatory and not optional.
Gone are the days of business units or locations saying, ‘We are special or unique, so our processes and systems are different to everyone else’. Software as a Service is based on a repeatable model where things aren’t customised, they are configured.
Getting to a single instance, with a single set of configurations is not easy given corporate politics but senior leaders across the globe, led by the CIO, had to work hard to agree a single configuration set that everyone would buy into.
These processes and business rules were communicated out to the various locations through local Change Champions.
With hundreds of users across multiple locations it was key that we had a robust feedback cycle for users to raise questions, concerns or to ask advice.
Some key techniques we used to gather feedback were:
Change management is key for any PPM implementation. However, it is critical for a global or enterprise PPM roll-out. With these important change management activities you have a high probability of success. Too many global PM3 implementations fail because too little attention is paid to winning over the hearts and minds of the users and key stakeholders.