navigating the road ahead

creating a programme management office to lead a business-wide transformation

Our client, one of the world’s largest retailers, had lost its number 1 slot in the US and was experiencing extreme competitive and external cost pressure. Having acquired a European chain, new leadership led to the creation of a transformation programme which we were appointed to support. To design, track and evolve all the work streams involved, we created a programme management office to lead the transformation.

our approach

For this award-winning giant of a transformation, we used our programme management approach – 20 years in the making.

We ran scoping and era charting exercises before co-creating a transformation map which contained all the key projects, connections, milestones and KPIs. After reducing the number of initiatives in place across the business from 450 to 90, we created a clear, focused picture of the strategy and plan, which was communicated throughout the business. Using the plan, the executive team met monthly make sure the programme stayed on track.

We created a pragmatic process for introducing new and exiting non-priority projects, and over time transferred this to the client’s ‘transformation office’. To ensure the impact and sustainability of the programme, we set-up and designed an in-house transformation team. This involved bringing together various parties including Lean practitioners, project managers and change experts to deliver the ongoing transformation agenda.

We adapted our change and project management toolkit to support all the different transformation activities. The work encompassed everything from complex process design to behavioural interventions using psychological tools. Following our capability transformation programme in head office, this toolkit is now owned and run by the programme team.

our insights

We have learnt over the years that creating the environment for transformation to happen requires a highly visible, transparent and involving process. Actively engaging all the main stakeholders at key points in the diagnostic, design and delivery process is mission-critical.

The scale of the challenge meant that we had to cut through to the key local issues fast, while conveying ‘the story’ which could be easily and consistently shared. This entailed co-creating all the main ideas, plans, critical paths and interventions with the key players.

In tandem with building the picture of where all the stakeholders were, we mapped the organisation’s informal network. By monitoring the key stakeholders and the informal network through our calibration groups, we were able to stay in touch with what was happening on the ground throughout the business.

the results

Within two years our client regained their number 1 slot. With an increase in customer satisfaction and reduction in staff turnover in all stores, there was a statistically significant and sustainable increase in sales. Head office experienced a cost reduction of 30%.

Capability was transferred to the client team, who now run and track the overall programme and are deployed on the rollout programme. Virtually all the key transformation team members have been promoted to key roles in the organisation. To date, more than 130,000 employees have been engaged across the business.

At the end of 2016, the net financial benefits case stood at $1.2bn, with a return on investment of 29:1.