September’s meetup in Bristol
We mixed things up a bit at the Bristol Project Data Analytics meetup in September with a workshop session led by James Lea. His objective was to grapple with how we create the business case for change towards a data enabled project delivery future.
James outlined the challenge, that although organisations often see the benefit of a data enabled approach they often struggle to develop traction. Progress can be piecemeal with a number of obstacles that impede traction.
After a few group sessions teams reported back with the following highlights.
- Experiences are very different. A common thread appears links back to whether senior level support exists. If it does, progress is often much easier than trying to deliver change at a local level.
- Where senior level support doesn’t exist it often helps to develop minimum viable product demonstrators to show people the art of the possible and ‘ignite their professional imagination’.
- There was a major focus on winning over hearts and minds. Although technology may be at the heart of the transformation, the major barriers to success are cultural and winning people over.
- In terms of gaining senior level support, the group highlighted the following approaches:
- Demonstrating the power of advanced project data analytics to deliver projects quicker, cheaper with increased confidence. But the evidence doesn’t exist yet to demonstrate unequivocally so it will probably need to be tackled one use case at a time. Some organisations have had success with getting the organisation to buy into the overarching vision, then building outwards incrementally.
- Competitive pressure/fear of missing out.
- Identify ‘Cultural architects’. People who are really into it – champions who are doing the job, immersed in the benefits and areusing the outputs every day.
- Rapidity of being able to solve a problem. Agility and responsiveness.
- Return on investment. This had a mixed response.
- For some projects such as PowerBI, the ROI is more about making better and quicker decisions rather than pure cash terms. Empowering people through data. Less finger in the air, more evidence driven decision making.
- Some projects will be geared towards regulatory, compliance or legal requirements, in which case the benefit is reducing the risk of non compliance.
- Conversely, for automation projects it is more of a cost/benefit analysis to understand the extent to which automation can free up resource. Attendees expressed caution at pursuing a cost saving (i.e. redundancy) approach and preferred to sell the change on removing the burden of repetitive tasks and free up capacity for higher value added activity.
The community will be working with James over the coming weeks to develop a toolkit that helps individuals and organisations to tackle the challenges of creating the business case for change in advanced data analytics. We’ll report back soon.
Martin Paver is CEO/Founder of Projecting Success. In Dec 2017 he saw the opportunity to transform how projects could be delivered through the application of advanced data analytics and founded the London Project Data Analytics meetup, which has expanded throughout the UK and has grown to a community of ~3000 people. He delivers strategic and tactical solutions that integrate project management and leading edge data science and analytics.