Galen Low is joined by Bill Moroz, Senior Project Manager at WMA Inc., to break down the most common warning signs that your transformation is in jeopardy and arm you with practical tips on how to respond accordingly to keep the momentum going.
- Bill Moroz is an agile delivery coach and seasoned enterprise human-centered digital transformation leader. [1:15]
- Transformation has been happening ever since the beginning of time. Everything’s evolving, everything’s changing, everything’s adapting. We’re just putting the word digital in front of it, because we’re in the digital age. [2:13]
- Bill shares some examples of digital transformations. As a company, they always sold product. With digital transformation, they are able to offer or sell more faster to a larger market. They are able to more quickly adapt to an evolving market and report through analytical datapoints. Bringing an increased confidence to their business direction, sustained by information based on data. [3:24]
To say that… ‘it’s not broken, everything’s working fine’. It means that you’re not winning. You’re unrealizingly losing the game that you were trying to play.Bill Moroz
- If you’re in panic mode or in crisis or an emergency situation, they’re the big stalling factor for digital transformation. [10:06]
- Use metrics to measure that you are going in the right direction. [10:29]
- Managing the expectations of moving in the right direction is not necessarily slow or fast, but it’s the momentum of coming back to the word propellant, that keeps moving us forward in the right direction. [10:50]
Transparency is priceless. Transparency creates buy-in.Bill Moroz
- Bill also shares some of the most common reasons he sees digital transformations stall out, like lack of clear communication, poor planning, insufficient focus on change management, insufficient budget, lack of understanding of the bigger vision, resistance to greenfield thinking, and more. [11:34]
- Some of the red flags that may indicate that your digital transformation project may be about to run into a road block are lack of a solid champion and leadership commitment. [12:25]
- The project manager’s golden triangle: resources, time, and money. [25:55]
The data that should be set up in advance to measure your success moving forward is the propellant that is getting you to that celebration point.Bill Moroz
- The program is about successfully delivering on the transformation. Successful deliveries is pivoting, is course-correcting, is understanding where you are and where you’re going. [30:51]
Pivoting is good. Pivoting means that we are course-correcting as we’re moving forward.Bill Moroz
Meet Our Guest
Bill is a seasoned client-facing delivery champion who enables CX business transformations through the Agile delivery of complex technology applications and infrastructure solutions.
For over 22 years, Bill has been helping large organizations in the banking, financial services, and telecommunications sectors drive outcomes by successfully promoting, developing, delivering, migrating, and sometimes recovering complex enterprise-wide programs and projects.
He has a solid track record of positive on-time and on-budget results, but his true passion is bringing out the fun in digital delivery through strong team-building, data-driven storytelling, and celebrating wins with teams and stakeholders.
You build credibility with your team. That keeps the team propelled and motivated to continue moving forward.Bill Moroz
Resources from this episode:
- Join DPM Membership
- Subscribe to the newsletter to get our latest articles and podcasts
- Follow Bill on LinkedIn
- Check out WMA Inc.
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Read The Transcript:
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Galen Low: Digital transformation. Every organization claims to be doing it. No one is admitting how often they've had to bring it all to an abrupt halt. Us project managers are caught somewhere in between, trying to wrap our arms around broad strategic initiatives and guide them to success while still being at the mercy of a slew of variables well beyond our control.
But what if there were a way to see the warning signs and steer clear of the things that cause digital transformation initiatives to stall out?
If leading an enterprise-wide digital transformation still gives you the heebeegeebees, keep listening. We're going to be breaking down the most common warning signs that your transformation is in jeopardy and arm you with practical tips on how to respond accordingly to keep the momentum going.
Hey folks, thanks for tuning in. My name is Galen Low with the Digital Project Manager. We are a community of digital professionals on a mission to help each other get skilled, get confident, and get connected so that we can amplify the value of project management in a digital world. If you want to hear more about that, head over to thedigitalprojectmanager.com.
Today, we're talking about digital transformations and signs that yours might be about to stall. But don't worry, we're also going to be providing you with some ways to keep the momentum going when you see things starting to go sideways.
With me today is Bill Moroz — agile delivery coach and seasoned enterprise human-centered digital transformation leader. Bill, thanks for hanging out with me today!
Bill Moroz: Glad to be here, Galen.
Galen Low: It's always great to have you on the show. Good to have you back. We're trying something new today. So just a quick episode, and let me tee it up.
So, in the world of project and program management, it's getting more and more difficult to have a digital project that is not part of a broader digital transformation initiative.
But every digital transformation is going to have a lot of moving parts, and it's easy for even the biggest, highest visibility transformations to hit a roadblock and just stall out.
So I thought Bill, maybe we could take a running start. You have a lot of experience in this domain, in the world of digital transformation. So just to level set for folks, like what do we mean when we say digital transformation? And is it just a buzzword?
Bill Moroz: No, it's not, Galen. I mean, a transformation has been happening, you know, ever since the beginning of time. Everything's evolving, everything's changing, everything's adapting. We're just putting the word digital in front of it, because we're in the digital age. So when you look at, you know, the business is ever changing, right?
The business needs to be enabled through, you know, digital mediums, right? Those enablers offer more product, sell faster, be more responsive to our, our, our user community, our consumers, or our customers. And then also be able to understand directions or data that that is, is being, is telling us whether we're doing the right thing, we're moving into the right direction, or whether we should, you know, pivot and quickly realigned to where we're going.
Galen Low: I love that notion and actually even like, makes me think, Wow, transformation without the digital side of it would have been really hard without all that data necessarily that all our systems are spitting out these days.
So next question. What are some examples of digital transformations?
Bill Moroz: Well, so the, the landscape being ripe for a digital transformation would be merger and acquisition situation where a David swallows a Goliath. So suddenly where they were in one market, they're now in eight markets and where they had, you know, 50 stores, they now have 150 stores. All operating different countries, all offering different products, all reporting differently on results and customer experiences.
So how do you bring everything together? All you bring everything together with, okay, let's start by centralizing a product catalog, assuring that that product catalog has integrity. So a platform system on a product catalog and an order management and, you know, looking at a well-stocked ERP, right?
From order to cash, it takes you away from, from spreadsheets and enables you to make rapid business decisions, again, through data that, that you are now getting through your centralized ERP system, but that is the crux of your transformation.
So taking it from what used to be spreadsheets in a decentralized, very diverse market into a centralized ERP system that can display, data to you that you can transform to gleam information that will assist you in making business decisions moving forward.
So increasing your products, increasing your offers, increasing your sales, being responsive to your customer demand, understanding inventory and products, if you're in a retail space, to be able to satisfy the order fulfillment, right, within a reasonable space of time. And then being able to report on it to the finance teams on earnings and, revenue that's being generated through them.
Galen Low: And what I love about that example is it's not only just scaling through technology, with the ERP system and the data to make business decisions, but also what you just described, especially with the catalog is that it actually extends all the way to that customer experience, which is using the technology, not just to keep running the same business at scale, but also leveraging, this digital transformation to deliver a consistent experience.
You know, once you've gone from 50 stores to 150 stores, how do you kind of keep that consistent? But it's, it's comprehensive.
One thing that strikes me is that, you know, I think transformation and we kind of picture it as, you know, a bit of a great leap, right? It's like, let's all transform the whole business together, like wholesale transformation.
Do you think it's always that? Or, I mean, I think something that I heard in there was that actually it's something that is kind of ongoing all the time.
Bill Moroz: It's ongoing all the time. Every day, you know, I'm going to say every hour, things are changing, right? Or things should be changing. To say that, you know, back in the day, to say that, well, if it's, it's not broken, everything's working fine. It means that you're, you're not, you're not winning. Let's put it that way. You're, unrealizingly losing the game that you were trying to play in.
Galen Low: It's almost like transformation is the, like deliberate act of evolving as an organization. And then to your point, right, the digital prefix is that — well, two things: 1) we have the data and we have the systems to do it rather rapidly, and 2) so does everyone else. So it's kind of this competitive, rapid, rather intense thing to stay relevant, to keep your organization running as efficiently as it can. It's almost this transformation for survival.
Bill Moroz: Let's see, it's the turtle and the hare and not, you know, that race is a, I think we, you know, we, we've all heard that story or for most of us. That race is a very delicate race. You can, you know, turtle — slow, easy, knows the pace, knows the way, gets there, right? The hare — fast, running all over the place, might not necessarily get there.
And at the, you know, at the end of the day, who wins the race? The turtle, right? You know, Okay, the hare had a lot of fun, but you know, is the, the return on investment, right? The ROI being recognized against the business success.
In that in what's taking them. So what I've, what I've seen is a lot of organizations that, yes, you know, the banner of, we need transformation, we need digital transformation, but do we really know where we're going? So that assurance of, you know, we do have to rapidly, sort of rapidly evolve, rapidly, you know, be responsive to, to the market that we're in. Many times they fail.
Don't quite hit the mark, okay? And, you know, with not having a, well, I'm not going to say a thorough plan, right? Because again, we, we do have to be agile here, we have, but we need enough to be able to know that we're going in the right direction, right, before we start moving, because that credibility is also important as well.
You, you build credibility with your team, that keeps the team propelled and motivated to, you know, to continue moving forward. Right? If you're moving forward in the wrong direction, you might be losing some of that propellant, some of that motivation. And, you know, next thing you know you're going sideways, you're stalled.
People are wondering what was going on. Leadership was wondering what's going on. A lot of phone calls are being made. A lot of emails are being exchanged and you know, then what?
Galen Low: And I love the, I love the positioning. I love the tortoise and the hare thing. And I know I kind of framed it as a sort of rapidness.
And I'm glad you helped me walk that back, because I think the two things that are really salient here when we get into some examples and when we get into some of the, the, the warning signs that might not be going that well. But the two things that I'm thinking about here are that, it's, it's continuous, and it's not always fast.
And I think that, you know, we do see examples these days, where there are businesses that, you know, maybe are playing catch up a little bit, and that is digital transformation, but it's not the only way to do digital transformation. Like it could be a more metered pace, but you also have to know where you're going to be organized about it.
It has to have a plan. And maybe not racing towards it recklessly without knowing what you're getting yourself into. Because you're sort of panicking, evo keeping your footing in the marketplace or, or, or what have you?
Bill Moroz: Dangerous side, right? You mentioned it right there. Panic. If you're in panic mode or in crisis or an emergency situation, you know, big stalling factor, right? Now that being said, you know, slow pace is also not the, not the medium either. So there has to be a, you know, a cautious, but, thought of advanced that is a, you know, measured, right? You want to measure your, you know, use metrics to measure that you are going in the right direction.
And I mean, you know, time is relative, right? I'm not going to coin myself on that saying it's been said many other times, but, you know, how you measure, the advancement of time, Hey, we're going too slow or we're going too fast though, you know, I'd look at it in a different way.
I'd say, are we moving in the right direction? Right? And, you know, managing the expectations of, of that moving in the right direction, is, you know, not necessarily, slow or fast, but it's the momentum of, you know, coming back to the word propellant of, that keeps moving us forward in the right direction.
Galen Low: I love that. I wanted to swing back on something you said, which is that sometimes these things fail, and sometimes things stall out, which is exactly what we'll want to talk about today. We want to talk about warning signs that your digital transformation might be about to stall out. I want it to look at it from a couple different perspectives, right?
And also one of the folks listening, you know, you might be a business leader, you might own your own company. Some of the other folks listening might be folks who are running these transformations, they're project and program managers, or they are delivery leaders in some way, shape or form and are responsible for making this transformation happen.
But, I thought maybe I'd ask, what are some of the most common reasons that you see digital transformations, that caused digital transformations to stall out?
Bill Moroz: So I get the image of a biplane at an air show, right, going up straight up into the sky. And then suddenly hitting a point where the engine stalls out and that, that plane is now tumbling with a lot of people trying to get the plane started again. But more importantly, a lot of people on the ground wondering whether that will, well, whether that plane will land on them or whether there'll be a, Hey, the engine has picked up again and we're, we're flying again. Right? And then, you know, every air show I've been at, the engine always restart.
So you're going into sort of a temporary stall, the thrill, the excitement, the, perspiration. And then, Hey, we're back on track because we corrected, right? So, you know, in, in, again, in my experience, why do we stall? Sometimes we're going too fast and we outrun the runway.
So now, we're no longer able to, to be able to go back and say, you know, Hey, are we moving forward? No, we're just moving. So, you know, again, stall factor number one. Number two, who's driving the plane? Do we have the champion? Do we have the leader? You know, the, the credibility, the confidence, the, you know, follow me forward.
We are going in the right direction. And, you know, and these are the indicators that are supporting us in moving forward. So that communications factor of, you know, communicating the, the metrics are, are successful and supporting us in what we were enabling. And it's coming back to transformation, right?
Are things easier to do? Are we, is there less error? Are we selling? Do we have a bigger market, footprint, right? Do we have penetration? Is our customer, our customers happy? Right? All of those elements can become metrics that, you know, we can certainly build a great algorithm and have that measure in our system.
Are we no longer using spreadsheets? Let's get off of spreadsheets, right? You know, people make mistakes, there's hundreds of spreadsheets. It's manually, I mean a lot of manual manipulation, and it, of course it consumes a lot of time. Right? So if we're moving off of spreadsheets, we're now into, you know, maybe let's say using APIs, and, you know, quick data transfer points.
You just feel that things are happening quicker, things are happening smoother. And, there's a level of confidence that, you know, that's being demonstrated and that this things are happening.
Galen Low: The notes I've taken here as you're talking and I'm like, okay, well, yes, absolutely. Like you can run out of runway if you're moving too fast.
Bill Moroz: Or you overshoot the runway. Yeah, then what?
Galen Low: Yeah. I mean, the runway in our case could be, you know, I mean, well, let me ask you, as a question, like could that runway even just be like the humans doing the work? And like not having the right resources because you've kind of outran the resources that you've planned or the budget that you've planned for this might that be where the metaphor goes?
Bill Moroz: Very much so. You've taken the resources beyond the point of, of return.
Maybe you've, you've taken the budget beyond the point of exasperations to no longer than have a budget to deliver or to successfully deliver or to successfully implement or adopt, or to train on the, on the transformation that you've just completed. You know, very nice to say, Hey, we're now off the spreadsheets, we're into this, this great ERP system, but yet we don't have any budget left to be able to train anybody on how to use it.
Yeah, run out of runway.
Galen Low: There you go. That would, that would be a huge stall. All that investment and no way to leverage it.
Bill Moroz: The image of the air show, by plan that is just drifting until we restarted again.
Galen Low: And then coming back to one of the other things you said that you said leadership and with that kind of communications.
And I mean, I interpreted that as, listen there's a, there's a lot of moving parts. And I'm tying it to something you said earlier, which is that, you know, you're at the air show and it's not just the folks in the plane that stalled out that are wondering what's going to happen, but there's everyone on the ground.
And the word that I used earlier was high-visibility because a lot of the times these are sort of, like large-scale high impact things, you know? Yes, maybe moving from spreadsheets to a different system or moving into an ERP system, you know, not necessarily revolutionary, but it does impact a lot of people.
What are some of the like red flags you see about leadership and communications that you would, that would kind of like trigger your spidey sense to be like, listen, something's about to go wrong here.
Bill Moroz: Transparency. I think it's, it's all about transparency. It's all about having a, you know, having a vision, communicating that vision. I don't like using the word values, because I mean, those values, I, you know, I would say in my experience are intrinsic of a leader. Pretty much spidey sense senses that, you know, I'm feeling comfortable to follow this person or these people or this team. And I'm, you know, feeling comfortable to be an ambassador, right? Because I believe, and, you know, together, we can believe that we can get there.
Galen Low: I wonder, I don't know, like I'm picking up what you're putting down and I'm thinking like, in my head, I'm trying to think of what the opposite is.
Right? And I'm, in my head I'm thinking like that moment when, you know, the person who is meant to be a leader is saying things, like let's not loop them in right now. And that was not the right time to tell people what's going on. We don't need to share this plan that widely. Let's play this close to the chest.
Are those some of the things that you might see in your conversations that are triggering for you to be like, listen, the transparency is just not happening here. The value of transparency, it's not being performed, or adhered to?
Bill Moroz: Well, transparency is priceless. Transparency, you know, creates, creates buy-in.
Now you don't have to be, you know, fully, fully transparent, but,you know, there, there are certain things that, you know, business confidentiality, in terms of three five-year business plan that's such a, for private organization is, I mean, there are things that can be shared and there are things that cannot be shared because they become, they put you into a position of, I would say, not weakness, but in a, in a challenging position because of competitiveness.
Right? So certain competitive areas, you know, it just has to be understood that that isn't the information that could be shared, but the transparency on, you know, why are we doing this? where is this getting us to? How are we better as an organization? By being successful with us, right?
What are the business drivers or the business values of the before and after expectations? I, you know, and, and trumpeting that forward, you know, celebrating those, what I would say those quick wins. Not looking at this as a big bang, but also, you know, going back to the organization and sharing, Hey, we've arrived at, you know what at, at milestone one, right?
So now, you know, we're no longer using 20 spreadsheets, we're only using 10. Right? But we're getting there. I, I'm sharing that. You know, I'm always suspicious of, of what I call radio silence. Right? The submarine has, it's no longer on the surface. It's gone. It's disappeared. It's under water.
And then, you know, suddenly, oh, well, you know, the submarine now is back on the surface. And you know, then, then it goes back under water. And that sort of up and down feeling, I mean, for me, it doesn't resonate well. Yeah, I'm not a, I'm not an ocean guy.
Galen Low: No, but I hear about the radio silence and like selective communication being a bit of a red flag from the outside. And even from the inside, when you're seeing those behaviors from your team. Now that could be, could be a thing that might, might stall something, so. I wanted to come back to something else you said, because in my mind, this is the third of the trifecta.
We talked about speed. We talked about leadership and transparent communication. And you said, you know, we need to be measuring and making decisions based on the data we're getting back. Like, is this having an impact, what we're doing because, I took you to mean that you know, if we're not listening, if we're just like digital transformation. We'll go from A to B. It's going to be great. But along the way, you find out all these things, but you haven't course corrected and understood that maybe B is not the right thing to build anymore or not the right thing to do anymore.
It's that sort of understanding of data. You said something, you said, are our customers happier? You know, and I know we're talking a bit in an iterative way in terms of a transformation that, yeah, maybe we're releasing certain components of this transformation initiative out to market, but then also listening and measuring and saying, okay, before we continue through this backlog of things, are we, is it even working? I guess I would say.
Bill Moroz: So a good example of that, Galen is, there's an organization and that they go through digital transformation. They wanted the best of the best of technologies. Unfortunately they were way out there as, as a leader in that technology platform that they chose. None of their customers were able to, or were ready to migrate to that platform.
So you get that 'I'm alone on an island' feeling. You know, their, their stall was in their decision of wanting to be out there. They did not understand the gap of, or the impact that that would have on the actual customer base of not being able to be out there with them. So the stall was, backpedaling, take it down a couple of notches, and actually communicate your roadmap with your customers, your technology roadmap with your customers. And then also your business drivers with your customers, to having them, you know, be in the journey with you.
Galen Low: What I like about all of this, you know, the three things that we've been talking about and coming back to, just the way I introduce you, right? Someone who's been involved in enterprise level, human centered, digital transformations. And we talk about, okay, well, what's the human centered part of that?
I see it coming through as, listen, you need to make sure you're being fair to your people as the folks delivering this transformation and not running too fast. Make sure you're sharing that vision with them. And making sure that you're listening to them as well. Because otherwise that sounds to me that there are significant enough changes to your business, that done the wrong way they can stall out.
And that's going to impact everything from cashflow to morale, to customer satisfaction and, and the like.
Bill Moroz: I mean, and even more, a lot more that you might not readily be able to identify. So it, you know, and then the last three years, I mean, we've seen that with the impact on, on call centers, on, service centers and, with COVID coming in. Where, you know, we, we had a, a contact centre that would have had maybe 150 seats is now down to 10 seats, or maybe I'm exaggerating, significantly reduced, right?
Where, you know, the volumes are just increasing day over day. So, as a customer, how do I feel when I call a call center looking for assistance? And, you know, oh, your average wait time is 3 hours and 55 minutes. So again, the impact is across the ecosystem on that. And not only are we asking more of our staff, you know, we're, we're asking, more of our customers as well. So that transformation, that digital transformation on, on making workflow processes, more streamlined, right?
So, where we were once in a situation of having to have, or having had a, you know, 80 people on staff, we now have, 20 people of which we still have to hit the same target levels, right, of service and of a customer experience. So that transformation, you know, it might be something you might want to consider where you want to look at, you know, digitally, how can we do the same with 20, as we once had with a hundred?
Galen Low: Digital transformation is not magic. It involves technology, but it's still about people.
Bill Moroz: Very much so.
Galen Low: I love that. I wonder, I wonder if we can talk about some possible responses or solutions for when you see some of these red flags. So, the red flags we've talked about again, it's just like moving too fast, speed. Liable to run out of runway before the job is done. Leadership and transparency issues when it comes to communication. And things like not reacting to, or responding to the data and the outcomes at each stage of a transformation.
But I mean, let's start with speed. And I don't know, just as an example. Let's use the lens of a, of a program manager, and you know, you start seeing that. Well, listen, we're, we're running out of resources quick. We're trying to move too fast and we haven't thought about some of the stages after that. What do you, what do you do when you see that?
Bill Moroz: You have to clock back. I mean, you know, reality hits hard, and understanding that, perhaps we want to do the right thing. Certainly we are, you know, we're, we're aggressive, we're, hungry, not only to, to engage in the transformation, but also to complete it. And let's say attributing enough contingency to know that, you know, it might take you twice as long as you would've planned for, that it might take you, you know, maybe three times the budget, because a lot of unknowns as you go down that journey.
Galen Low: And I mean, is it a sort of proactively going up to bat for the resources that you need with the framing that, listen, everybody wants us to complete successfully and here's the risk. The risk is we finished this implementation, but nobody's trained to use it. And then you've wasted X millions of dollars. Versus we can course correct now. Is that kind of the conversation you might have?
Bill Moroz: Those are the difficult conversations that have to be had. I would say every couple of days to ensure that we are on course, that we're, you know, I've used the word trumpeting forward, charging forward on course to what the metrics are telling us is the right direction.
Resources, time and money, right? The project managers, you know, golden triangle. But, at the end of the day, it's about successfully delivering the program. And, you know, anticipating the, the risks, mitigating the risk as they become issues, right? So you can keep trumpeting forward.
Galen Low: Oh, I liked that. And I even love that insight of just how regularly you should be having that conversation, especially in a world of digital where, you know, technology allows us some speed, which means we can get off course a lot faster.
You can spend resources the wrong way a lot faster, which is why you might need to have this regular conversation about, listen, here's what the data's telling us. Are we still on track? Are we still healthy to complete this? And managing that expectation so that decisions can be made before things go way off course?
Bill Moroz: Well, this is very much data-driven, right? The data that should be set up in advance to measure your success moving forward is the propellant that is getting you to that point, that celebration point.
Galen Low: Cool. I love that. I wonder if we could dive into the transparent communications and leadership side of things.
So in a world where, I know a lot of people can be involved in a digital transformation, you know, or talking about, something that is probably getting the attention of the C-suite, that is involving all departments. Sometimes you will have a leader who is not necessarily exercising the values of being transparent or is encouraging the submarine to go radio silent every now and again.
What is your response strategy there if you see that happening?
Bill Moroz: Let's continue the tout the, on the tangent of being a data-driven organization. Let's share what we're measuring. Share the data points that we're measuring, that we're using as metrics, that are driving our propellant to move forward. The transparency on, you know, we're no longer using 20 spreadsheets, we're now down to 10, right?
So that metric, I mean, that metric is measurable. It's demonstratable and it's a concrete measurement, from 20 down to 10, right? From 10 down to 5, from 5 down to 1, you know, as you continue with the momentum moving forward.
Galen Low: And if there's somebody who's really, you know, not wanting you to expose that data or involve that other department that you know you're going to have to depend on later. Like what is, what is your recourse there? In terms of course correcting that and knowing that if that continues, it's going to stall.
Bill Moroz: Well, the recourses that we all have to buy into the Kool-aid moving forward.
Well, let's, let's understand, you know, as a C-suite team, as an executive team, that these are the metrics that we will be using, that these metrics do have to be communicated. If there are metrics that cannot be communicated, then they shouldn't be used as a measure.
And, again, you know, the sweet spot somewhere around six to eight measurable metrics. You keep it manageable, keep it simple to understand, certainly keep it relevant. If you're getting to, you know, I've seen an organization, all 25 different metrics that we're measuring, we're starting off is our first transformation and, you know, they never got out of the gate because it was just too much confusion on the communication.
The team itself was on the same page with everything. I mean, we, you know, let's get together and understand what are the top six or eight that we can agree to move forward. So that we, you know, we mitigate that radio silence that might happen because of, you know, Hey, we should not have used that metric.
You know, knowing that as we're moving forward, it started off as a good idea, but you know, now is getting us into, maybe a competitive disadvantage because we're actually sharing information that we shouldn't be sharing.
Galen Low: I like that notion of kind of resetting expectations. One thing that struck me is that as a couple of things that you should do upfront, one of which is, make sure your project is measurable. Do what you can to get the data so that you can make smart decisions.
The other one you said earlier, you said just the values, right? The values of the projects or the transformation initiative, should be set up front, so everyone knows why we're doing it, what the vision is, how we're going to do it. But then also in a situation where, you know, that is falling apart midway, like just sitting down and going let's let's, you know, let's read baseline what this is.
Let's a), yeah, let's pivot. Let's reconvene on, on what our values are. And if these metrics aren't working, then let's choose something else so that we can continue to be transparent and hold true to the values of the transformation.
Bill Moroz: Pivoting is, you know, pivoting is good. Pivoting means that we are, we're, we're course correcting as we're moving forward.
And I've used this expression before, the plane flying into the mountain, right? Previous, I guess podcasts where you could see the mountain. You're flying the plane, course correct, because otherwise it's not going to be pretty. Course correct.
Galen Low: Stubbornly following the plan is not a recipe for success.
Bill Moroz: Most perfect project plan.
The I's dotted with all the dependencies that the, the T is crossed with percentage of completions, whatever the, again, the program was not about a perfect project plan. The program is about successfully delivering on the transformation, right? And, you know, successful deliveries is pivoting, is course-correcting, is understanding where you are, where you're going.
Understanding, you know, mitigations against the risks that must be put into place and communicating that with transparency on the metrics, that are being used, to know that, you know, when you hit the mark on success, you've arrived.
Galen Low: I think that actually takes us nicely to the last one.
I think the last one that you had sort of mentioned was this sort of, you know, ignoring the data and not, not pivoting. So in a situation where somebody comes to you and says, Bill, thanks for showing me all this data. This is great, but we need to stick to the plan, okay? And you know it's just going to be watching a plane crashed into a mountain.
What do you do there? How do you avoid that catastrophe and actually get to success? Even when somebody, maybe even someone very influential is saying, listen, just stick to the plan. Pivoting is risky.
Bill Moroz: I would say, Hey, we're going to crash into the mountain, but we're going to do it with style. Oh, you know, that our, our, our success point is to crash in the mountain with style and let's go.
Galen Low: You know, honestly, and I think that's such an interesting project manager conundrum because on the one hand we are charged with leading, in some way, shape or form, the delivery of a thing.
But we are relying on our executive sponsors. We are relying on influential key stakeholders to facilitate decision-making. And we can put the data in front of them and we can make the case, but fundamentally, we are not the ones who necessarily decide whether or not to continue down a path or pivot.
All we can do is kind of surface that information, but in a lot of situations, and I'm sure you've seen this before, an executive may just say, no, thank you. If, I mean, if the risk is that we'll crash into the mountain, I'm prepared to accept that.
And then you've just got to, I guess you just got to do it.
Bill Moroz: Again, there's only so much that you can do right to that point. We're not going to be able to save every digital transformation project initiative out there. We already know that some will fail. We already know that probably, more than some may fail. What does that then mean?
Well, let's, you know, rebuild the plane and let's, let's get back up in the air and let's continue flying, right? Avoiding the stalls and then we'll certainly avoiding the mountains, right? The second time around.
Galen Low: Right. And this, some iterations to that as well, even in failure.
Bill Moroz: Some people say that failure is good.
Because you, you know, again, there's retrospectives, just lessons learned and then there's, you know, let's, let's build it better for next time.
Galen Low: Love that. Bill, this has been super insightful. Always great having you on the show. We'd love to have you back. Again, just your insights, I think our listeners, hopefully you listeners have gotten some helpful tips here. The world of digital transformation is a complex, but it's also fraught with a bunch of myths.
And I think Bill, you helped to dispel some of those in ways that we can help our digital transformation initiatives succeed, but also work within our bounds.
Bill Moroz: Thank you very much for having me, Galen. Thank you!
Galen Low: So, what do you think?
Is a digital transformation any more likely to stall in other projects? Or is it all just the same problem set in different clothing?
Tell us a story: have you been involved in a digital transformation that's failed? What were some of the warning signs and how much of it felt outside of your control?
Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
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