The company had no real control on changes to the products and services offered to its clients. Many of these changes were requested by the client after the contract had been signed, and the company would bend over backwards to deliver what the customer wanted.
This should have given a great customer experience!
However, those changes took time and resources, and delayed new software releases or impacted other processes. In addition, there was no budget to do the work, so contract profitability was badly compromised. The net effect was that customers’ perception was that the business never delivered what it promised.
There were a number of steps to get the correct governance in place, implemented by the a new Programme Management Office (PMO):
- Project Plans
All projects were professionally managed, with realistic delivery plans and allocated resources. This is the baseline for managing change.
- Change Request Ticketing
A formal system of tracking change requests (internal and client)
- Impact Assessment
Using the project plans, cost and time implications of changes were assessed.
Formally documenting the impacts and costs for the customer to approve.
- Executive Change Control Board(ECCB)
Weekly review of all quotes before release to customers, including checks on margin and adequacy of contingency included in the estimates. Attended by CEO, full functional representation.
No work was carried out until Quote for change was formally accepted by the customer.
- Customer Management–
PMO acted as single interface to the clients for change, ensuring that dependencies managed.
Process design to institutionalisation took around 12 months.
Existing projects gradually came under control as promises began to match the real plans. As a result, the customers had a lot more visibility of the impact of changes, and could make rational decision on whether to implement immediately or wait until later releases.
People inside the business quickly adopted the system as they could get clear answers to proposed changes, and through the improved control had fewer changes injected unexpectedly into the programme.
Most importantly, the business started to make real profit out of the changes, with a significant impact on overall programme results.