MSP® surprise #2

MSP® surprise #2: Business Change Managers and managing benefits

At the cutting edge with senior management groups who are setting up MSP (Managing Successful Programmes) for the first time in their company or agency, getting champion support for the model is the first problem.
When management finds it hard to recognise the major benefits of implementing MSP to run a program, with the associated changes and challenges posed for governance and decision-making, projects and delivery mode, business involvement and ownership, the Cranfield benefits model and how to engage key business stakeholders in the end-to-end process.
Further, when senior managers and department heads realize when implementing MSP that “the business” is accountable for realizing and managing the benefits, they are often quite surprised. Remember, most people don’t know how to quantify a benefit, how to plan for benefits, how to cost a benefit against the cost of delivering the blueprint or the relationship between benefits and the business case (to justify the blueprint), benefits and the blueprint (the future state model), benefits and the programme plan (to build the blueprint), benefits and the business strategies.
I worked with a Programme SRO and Programme Manager to help set up an ICT Realignment Programme using MSP in a government agency. I supported them through the elements of the Program Definition, culminating in a Blueprint and Programme Plan with a “very draft” benefits approach. There was senior management involvement, but the consultancy ended before the finalisation of the Programme documentation.
About a year later, I was asked by the SRO to come in and brief the Business Change Managers as it was about a month before a Tranche “go live”. There were six BCMs invited plus the Programme Manager and the SRO. So I prepared a two hour workshop based around the BCM role and responsibilities and the MSP “Realizing the Benefits” chapter. I knew we were in for some fun when I received an e-mail from the SRO’s assistant the day before the session stating that all was in readiness, but some people were asking “What does BCM stand for?”
What indeed?
The fun part was when they saw the RACI chart and saw that the BCM was Responsible for everything in Transition. So the response was:
“How are we supposed to do all that and who’s going to pay for it?”
These are good questions in Defining a Programme, but not so helpful if not addressed until Realizing the Benefits. It was a late and unfortunate stakeholder engagement process, but the program could only succeed if the business owned the change, and the benefits.
So we need to teach them. There are some training opportunities with MSP courses, governance workshops, benefits planning workshops, benefits mapping exercises, writing benefits management strategies and consolidating benefits plans and helping the BCM to develop and understand Benefit Profiles aligned to the related projects and programme tranches. But it is all new to them and there is a high risk of failure on the business side of the equation.
The second part of the surprise in MSP is that “the business” is accountable for the Business Change. We are still a long way from the embedded understanding that the business owns the balance between “run the business – change the business” and it is a business decision to invest in a programme using MSP to transform that part of the organization from the current state to the future state, to the target operating model defined in a blueprint and delivered by project outputs, business changes new capability, outcomes in the business and the associated benefits aligned to business strategies.
So we train the business to understand and lead on Change Management. Not the big picture Organizational change approach, but ‘transition management’, moving the business with the outcomes from the projects towards the realization of benefits through a transformational change process, managed and owned business side by a BCM.
This is Blog 3 in a series of 4:
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