How to form a project team for digitalization of business

How to form a project team for digitalization of business

When the owner and chief manager have already decided on the digital transformation of their company, have studied all the risks and understand that they are ready to take this difficult and long path, the most important area of ​​their focus should be the personnel management unit. Because any business and any transformation is done by people, and they can collectively “bury” any idea. Therefore, the focus should be on building a new organizational culture in the company and on motivating employees so that their eyes light up and they are not frightened by possible changes that will certainly take place in the business.

What is recommended to be done immediately in the company at the initial stage? Gather the top management and determine together with them the priorities of digitization, understand in which area there will be more problems with digitization, which area will have less, due to which there may be difficulties, what are the risks. For example, the budgeting unit has already been successfully automated, everything is fine there, and in the warehouse accounting is done “on the knee”, therefore, many processes will have to be rebuilt and adjusted here, which not all employees will like.

If it is a large company, and it has a large volume of business processes, then one person (even the most important) cannot know everything necessary about the company. Therefore, first of all, he needs to determine the circle of his trusted persons on the project and appoint who will be responsible for which section of accounting. Such people in digitalization projects can be called differently. For example, if the company chose the Scrum methodology to manage the digital transformation project, then the members of the team that will represent the interests of the customer during development are called Product Owners. Title options include product manager or product owner. This is a certain role in the project – a responsible employee who will accept the finished product from the executors, who is competent in this or that process, who will set the requirements for this product as it should be.

There are no rules about which people should be part of the customer’s digital transformation team. The main thing is to choose those responsible for each of the groups of business processes that are planned to be digitized. This will be a key employee from each group. And all of them must be included in the team.

We remember!

A “key employee” of a digital transformation project team (other names: Product Owner, product manager or business process owner) is someone who perfectly understands the group of business processes for which he will be responsible for the project. There is no point in getting attached to the position by choosing an employee for this role. It can be the director of the department or his deputy – here everything is decided within the limits of a specific company. If, for example, the enterprise has ideological leaders who are ready to implement “innovative revolutions”, then they should also be included in the team.

It is important that people with leadership skills, who have authority and know how to convince employees to make changes to business processes, which will definitely happen, are selected for the team. After all, all digital projects are innovative, even revolutionary projects. During their implementation, you need to be ready for changes, and not everyone is ready for them. Therefore, it is necessary to nominate very active people who will be passionate about the project to the role of “key employees” of the digital transformation project team. Then there is every chance that everything planned will be implemented successfully and on time.

When you determine the contractor (implementation company, system integrator) for the digitalization of your enterprise, together with them during the “pre-project” you must determine and approve the composition and structure of the joint project team. I will give an example of how such a structure can be:

Project team structure for business digitalization

This structure of the project team, based on the results of interviews and negotiations, is included in the most important document on digital transformation – the “Project Charter”, which is prepared by the implementing company. It defines the composition of the team, functional limitations, organizational structure, rules of interaction in the team, etc. The “Project Charter” is agreed with the management of the customer company.

For large corporate customers, a whole project management structure is needed – a group of people who will be responsible for the success of its implementation. At the top level in the governing board are “Project Sponsors” (determine project funding) and “Project Director” from the executor and customer side, followed by “Project Managers” from both sides, and then managers from functional areas and various departments. Thus, a team is formed for the digital transformation project. This is a rather hierarchical structure, and it can be different depending on the scope of the project, which determines the amount of necessary labor resources for it.

Therefore, the organizational structure of the project team always directly depends on the volume of functional areas and the volume of the customer’s requirements.

If any of the employees are unhappy with the future digitization project, they should not be included in the project. But if there is no way to do without them, then it is necessary to write down the risks and bring them to the company’s management. Because if the risk of sabotage is to be implemented, it should already be taken into account and recorded in the “Project Charter”. And then it depends on the chief director of the project from the customer’s side, whether he will include such a dissatisfied employee in the team. If so, he should determine in advance some measures in case of this risk.

What is the risk of sabotage? This is the risk of a lack of information and feedback from “key employees” of the project team, a delay in collecting answers to questions and requests that will inevitably come from the implemented. If, after all, such a person got into the project, it will be necessary to monitor whether the risk of sabotage on his part is realized or not.

When the risks are prescribed, it is necessary to plan organizational measures to eliminate them at the same time. Possible examples include:

• provide for the replacement of an uncommunicative employee with another possible candidate for the team;

• send regular reminders if the “key employee” does not provide information (perhaps he simply forgets in the flow of his affairs);

• involve an HR specialist in the team so that he solves issues that arise with employees;

• develop a motivation scheme for participants in the digital transformation project.

I tell more about personnel management during business digitalization in my book “Digital transformation of business. Practical advice for the first persons of companies.

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