This is the last element of the project phase where solutions are built. The Execution Plan is the act of mapping the dependencies between elements of the Tree of Life, prioritizing them and sequencing them in a way that is achievable and manageable by the organization. It is where the understanding of the current capacity and capability is so vital; otherwise the organization might end up trying to "run before it can walk".
A regular business transformation project usually lasts between six to twelve months; nevertheless, the deployment of the initiative in the execution plan could take years. It is, therefore, important to identify which initiatives in the execution plan could be classed as quick wins. Due to the fact that business transformation is a long process towards achieving a new vision, the quick wins will allow the organization to show results and generate the perception of return on investment, both financial and commitment related. This allows the organization to maintain the momentum for further, harder and longer-term changes to happen.
The Execution plan presents the next milestone in the project, when all To-Be components are validated. A practical way of identifying quick wins is to place all initiatives on a Tree of Life Matrix. This matrix cross-references the initiatives based on two main elements, benefit and complexity.
PICARO defines complexity into four Cs: "cost, capability, capacity and constraints". The last one, constraints, relates either to dependencies, legal and/or compliance issues or politics that need to be overcome. Benefits can be measured in financial terms, value creation and alignment to higher governance objectives. Having said that, they should all fall under one of the three areas of the TBL concept.
Once all initiatives are placed in the Tree of Life matrix, it is visually possible to identify the high benefit and low complexity initiatives; these could potentially be your quick wins. The initiative zero of the Execution Plan is the deployment of the To-Be operating model. This is the first step towards putting theory into practice. This is usually where the "lift and shift" activities can happen, when business units and departments are re-aligned to facilitate and enable the deployment of the new strategy.
This deliverable represents the third highest (and last) peak in resource needs in the project. This is due to the mobilization for the organization to implement the new To-Be model. A lot of the communications are done through mass communication channels and presentations. However, it is required that project team members are closely involved with the identified change champions in the organization in order to help and support the To-Be model deployment.
This also represents the boundary between the Execute and Close processes for project management from PMI. Once the change is implemented the process of handing over to business as usual (BAU) starts. This is the last milestone in the project, i.e., the completion of the implementation of the new solution.
This last deliverable is all about ensuring the organization is given all needed information in order to sustain the change implemented and avoid them going back to their old ways. Knowledge transfer should be carried out throughout the project, but any pending documenting of the knowledge that needs to be transferred must be carried out during this last phase. At this point it is important to ensure that participants know:
- That the new organization understands the journey ahead,
- What they are required to do,
- What's "in it" for them,
- How they should operate,
- What principles they must follow,
- What messages they should propagate,
- How they will be measured in order to contribute towards achieving the new vision,
- What targets are set for them, and
- How they can collaborate and help others in doing the same.
This last phase represents the last PMI project management process, Closing, and also represents the last part of the project phases and deliverables.