Our case studies make pretty interesting reading. We could give you stacks, but the selections below tell the broad story of how we produce concrete results for our clients.
Artizen has completed hundreds of program management engagements. Here are quick summaries of some of our more recent cases. The first two show our approach to managing large programs. The last four describe how we solve problems that affect programs and organizations.
- Large Program Management: This describes our most typical engagement, in which we send a program manager to run a large-scale program on-site and full time.
- Large Program Turnaround: Originally a four-week project assessment, this turned into a six-month engagement when the client asked our program manager to take over and manage the team through go-live.
- Portfolio Management: A subsidiary of a large semiconductor manufacturer was suffering recurring delays on important projects. We solved it.
- QA Review: A mid-sized high-tech hardware manufacturer was repeatedly missing project deadlines and going over-budget. We pinpointed the key parts of the project life cycle (PLC) that had not been followed.
- Merger Integration: A Fortune 500 tech company needed large program management expertise to help integrate a multi-billion-dollar acquisition.
- RFP Management for BRIC Country Enablement: A large network equipment manufacturer was starting an initiative to create a new buy/sell legal entity in Brazil. Artizen provided a program manager to oversee the RFP and vendor selection process.
Large Program Management
A Fortune 100 network equipment maker was using highly customized, outdated niche software applications to run its global post-sales support organization. The client realized it was past time to replace the old systems with new mainstream solutions. It also understood that the program would enormously impact its organization, including its 24-hour Technical Assistance Center (TAC) and its Global Product Services (GPS) group. The client hired Artizen to lead this mission-critical program.
An experienced Artizen senior program manager led the initiative from beginning to end.
In the program’s early stages, the Artizen manager guided the client through the Request for Proposal (RFP) and software selection. The client chose Artizen’s RFP management methodology for gathering requirements, RFP development, scoring, and decision-making. Primary vendor candidates included Oracle, Siebel and SAP. In the end, the Oracle 11i solution was selected. The software RFP process took three months including contract negotiation.
Artizen then led a three-month effort to select a system integrator with experience implementing Oracle 11i in a high-tech, post-sales support environment. The RFP was sent to five integrators, including Cap Gemini, Deloitte, Accenture, KPMG and IBM. Accenture was eventually chosen.
The Artizen program manager worked with the client to establish program-governance structures and to assemble a multi-vendor team. Accenture was chosen to handle functional analysis and solutions, Infosys ran offshore development, while a large contingent of regional staff augmentation consultants provided hands-on experience with Oracle 11i.
The program was delivered in three phases spanning more than two and a half years.
Artizen provided a separate release manager for each phase, making it possible to manage each delivery separately, but in parallel, within the overall program. The phased release strategy reduced risk and delivered key functionality for the TAC organization one year after the team was in place.
The program peaked at 250 team members and had a budget of $77 million. All phases were delivered on schedule and on budget.
The client judged the program a tremendous success. Six months after go-live, the CIO was quoted saying, “This was the best-run large program in the history of the company.”
Large Program Turnaround
Our client, a $2 billion software company, was struggling to implement a SaaS-based sales force automation solution. After two years of work, they had pulled the plug on go-live for the second time—and faced a budget variance of nearly 100%. The extremely frustrated management team had to understand what was wrong and get the program back on track. Failure would force them to cancel the program entirely.
The CIO called on Artizen to perform a Program Assessment engagement. The initial four-week engagement revealed a host of problems, but three stood out.
First, the program scope was a moving target. No formal business requirements, software gap documents, or functional specifications had been signed off by the business. As a result, no baseline existed for the work’s scope or deliverable functionality. That left users going in circles. As they executed their User Acceptance Testing (UAT), they were seeing the solution for the first time—and working out the functional designs at the same time. They logged change requests as “defects.” In some cases, the changes were very large. Project managers were not tracking scope change or going through any formal change approval process.
Second, managers had outsourced the development of a very large, complex set of software integrations between the SaaS application and their ERP system. There were significant quality problems with the integrations that appeared to be design problems, not just code quality.
Third, no weekly project status reports were being produced. As project timelines began to slip, IT managers and the executive team were not aware of the problems. This compounded the scope management and quality problems by hiding them until it was too late to take corrective action.
The lack of scope management and the metrics to measure change had left both managers and stakeholders completely in the dark about the real problems. As a result, business executives responsible for the program were outraged by what they perceived as poor quality, when in reality they had failed to get the requirements right up front.
Artizen recommended critical actions to be taken immediately:
- Implement a formal scope change review-and-approval process. In addition, provide weekly scope change metrics to management, clarifying how many new changes were being requested, the size of the new requests in workdays and the status of those requests.
- Begin reporting status weekly, using tools that 1)flag scope, schedule, and resources and budget status (Red/Yellow/Green dashboards), 2) show schedule baseline-versus-actual and 3) supply scope change metrics, defect counts and defect types (design, code, etc.)
- Conduct a defect history and design-impact review on all integrations, assessing whether integration “quality problems” were the result of scope change, design flaws or code quality. Finally, examine the pipeline of open changes and, if necessary, initiate a formal redesign phase.
Tellingly, no further redesign was needed for the integrations. The mere presence of a scope management process and management’s new ability to see changes slowed the number of approved requests to a trickle. Weekly status reporting improved management’s understanding and increased trust.
Two months after Artizen’s recommendations were implemented, the application entered a production pilot with 10 per cent of the sales force. Three months after the pilot, the global rollout was complete. The sales force provided a very positive response to the application.
A subsidiary of a large semiconductor manufacturer was experiencing recurring delays on important projects, while less important projects were going live in the same time frame. Some business executives felt IT was playing favorites by allocating resources to some groups at the same time that other groups were being told that no budget or developers were available for their initiatives.
The VP of Application Development asked Artizen to untangle the problem. We worked closely together to create a process that insured IT was working on the right projects and was not overcommitting. That meant helping the client to create a combined business and IT governance body, to make an annual IT program roadmap and to build a portfolio management process.
We began at the beginning, with IT Governance.
The first step was to ensure that support existed for an executive-level governance body to set project priorities and make decisions about budget and resource allocation. An Executive Steering Committee (ESC) was formed, comprising members from both the business side and the IT side. A charter was defined and a formal process was established for project initiation and approval. All IT projects costing more than $150,000 would now require approval by the ESC. In addition, programs could come before the ESC only after evaluation based on a standardized business case and a strategic alignment analysis.
We then helped establish an IT Program roadmap. First, an annual planning process put program prioritization in the hands of the ESC. Then and only then IT resources were allocated based on priority. IT teams then completed a capacity plan to ensure that the roadmap was realistic. And every quarter, the roadmap was updated to clarify changing priorities, consider new programs and adjust cost and resource estimates as programs progressed through their life cycle.
Finally, we defined the tools, processes and new job responsibilities for managing the portfolio of programs. This at last allowed the client to manage the pipeline of new programs, bring them to the appropriate governance body for approval, monitor status and budget as programs are executed, conduct effective program closeout and evaluate program value realization.
Artizen provided thought leadership and realistic guidance based on long experience with similar efforts. We also recommended the right tools, templates, processes and job responsibilities needed to make the program successful.
Today all parties have complete transparency into how and why priorities are set. The executive team is fully informed and has a voice in the decision-making process. And throughout the company, there is dramatic improvement in trust and support for all projects and services that IT delivers.
A mid-sized high-tech hardware manufacturer was repeatedly missing program deadlines and going over budget. An initial review of two programs found that key parts of the program life cycle (PLC) had not been followed.
Artizen then proposed the implementation of a complete Program Management Review. That meant conducting close examinations of programs at key milestones. Even more, it meant going back to the early stages of programs and investigating how their business requirements and functional specifications were created.
After completing several dozen program reviews, we presented some important conclusions:
- Review results varied widely across different groups. Some were well managed and scored high on our dashboards (mostly greens and a few yellows). Other groups were consistently problematic (red) in key areas. This allowed us to focus our efforts on a smaller number of programs and teams.
- Key deliverables such as program charters, business requirements and technical designs were not being produced consistently.
- Weekly status reporting was not happening reliably and in many cases status reports did not accurately reflect the state of the program.
- Formal program teams were not being established and responsibilities were not documented and communicated. Team members did not understand the activities and deliverables for which they were accountable. No one was asked to sign off on deliverables. As a result, no one from the user community felt responsible for the requirements or for approving proposed solutions.
We observed a common pattern. Program managers knew what they were supposed to do from a theory standpoint. But, even though they could pass a PMI test, they were failing to do simple fundamentals.
Through our coaching (part of the QA Review process), the presence of our QA dashboards and the resulting visibility they supplied to everyone, program results improved dramatically over a 12-month period. Program managers knew they were now under the spotlight of a QA Review—and they knew what was expected of them in those reviews. After a year, the QA Review program was successfully transitioned from Artizen consultants to an in-house review team.
A Fortune 500 tech company needed program management expertise to help integrate a multi-billion-dollar acquisition. This included on-boarding acquired employees in various sites in Asia, Europe and the Americas, transferring new customers to the acquirer’s ERP systems, moving to the acquirer’s supply chain and winding down legal entities no longer needed.
Artizen was chosen to complete all four integrations.
Site Integrations. Due to the size of the acquisition, the client decided to on-board the domestic and international locations gradually, country by country. The Artizen program manager assisted in overall site integration planning and managed the international, cross-functional team to complete each site integration on schedule. Site integrations included all activities regarding employee on-boarding—payroll, benefits and training (on client-specific tools for procurement, employee self-help and more).
The Artizen program manager also recommended conducting cost-benefit analyses to clarify the economics of automating benefits, which varied from country to country, in Oracle HRMS. The analyses gave decision-makers the insight they needed to create cost-effective levels of automation and to eliminate excessive automation of ERP systems.
The results were positive indeed—one site integration, for example, was completed 50 per cent faster and at lower final cost than initially planned.
Customer Transitioning. Sales and purchase agreements required renegotiation to meet the client’s policy and be written on the client’s contracts. Various customers needed to transition from direct to indirect, becoming customers using channel partners. In addition, EDI and other messaging solutions required review as part of the selection of the most appropriate technology.
The Artizen program manager led various sub-teams to achieve the integration objectives and to maximize customer satisfaction. As liaison to senior executive management, the manager consulted with decision makers so that roadblocks were removed and the program was prioritized appropriately.
Supply Chain Transitioning. The client’s supply chain model outsourced all product manufacturing to contract manufacturers. But the acquired company used in-house manufacturing. Furthermore, the client’s business model called for highly configurable products, while the acquired company built products to stock. To transition the acquired company to the client’s supply chain model, the Artizen program manager became deeply involved in the process review and design, ensuring that all finance aspects were addressed and providing both profound domain expertise and program management skills.
Legal Entity Transitioning. The acquired company came with more than 40 legal entities worldwide that were no longer needed. The Artizen manager led the program team that unwound them. The team included representatives from legal, accounting, finance, tax and treasury, as well as outside advisors such as accounting firms, local tax advisors and auditors. Sub-teams were formed as needed in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Over a period of 2.5 years, 35 entities were merged, liquidated, or de-registered, far exceeding management expectations and setting standards for other groups within the client organization. Best practices, checklists and guidelines were developed to document the process in order to streamline future efforts. The cash savings (costs for accountants, auditors, legal, mandatory office space, bank accounts and more) from the legal entity transitions accumulated to an annual amount of more than $2 million. Comparing the costs of running this program to the savings generated, the client’s average payback period was six months.
For BRIC County Enablement: A large network equipment manufacturer was starting an initiative to create a new buy/sell legal entity in Brazil. The local presence would allow it to compete for large government contracts and would provide important tax advantages. A consulting partner was needed to assist with Brazilian legal issues, local tax expertise, statutory reporting requirements, import/export compliance and advice on common business practices.
Artizen provided an experienced program manager to oversee the RFP and vendor selection process. Our RFP management methodology was used for gathering requirements, RFP development, scoring and decision-making. The primary vendors included Deloitte, Grant Thornton, Accenture and Infosys.
From start to finish, the software RFP process took nine weeks including contract negotiation.