So, how can businesses pivot?
If you think about the way businesses would work, they would develop long-range plans, typically measured in years. Today, that’s no longer sufficient because you’ve got to be able to pivot your plans on a dime, based upon what you see happening in response to competitor models, customer behavior, etc. That’s a long way of saying that the way in which our clients need to deal with change has had to radically be rethought. That is essentially what our Publicis Sapient HOW does. It helps our client to really figure out how to unlock customer value and business value, and do that in a way that is not episodic but continuous.
Think about the way we used to manage projects. Every project manager would manage three variables: time, scope and cost. How long will something take to do? What is it that we’re doing? Tell me exactly what the requirements are, which is the scope. How much is this going to cost? Project managers have had this trifecta drilled into them from the time they started their careers. But in this world in which change is continuous, that management system is not working well. The reason is quite simple.
When you think about trying to nail down what it is that you have to build, scope, essentially you do a lot of analysis up front. You do a lot of analysis that you might never use. By the time you actually get to building all of the things you thought you needed to build, the world has changed around you or customer expectations have changed.
When you think about time, any good project manager worth her salt is going to add buffer, which actually makes you slow because the project expands in size to fill all that available buffer. And same with cost, we tend to add buffer to the budgets and all of that buffer is consumed, as Parkinson predicted.
So what if instead of focusing on time, scope and cost, we focus on speed -- how fast can we go from an idea all the way to putting it into the world – into business and into customer hands? How can we do that with quality so that whenever we do that, we are not breaking things? In addition, how do we make sure we’re not just completing the scope but delivering the value to the customers and to the business?
When you make this shift to speed, quality and value, you gain the ability to move at the speed of disruptive change in the face of uncertainty. Shifting the steering system from time, scope and cost to speed, quality and value is easy to say, it’s not that easy to do. This shift is the essence of what we’ve engineered into our HOW. We help our clients go from ideals around transformation all the way to delivering transformation at scale with this new steering system.