8 Strategies to Avoid Transformation Failures
Updated: Jun 1
Transformations are difficult for organizations and they are definitely not business as usual and fall outside the norms of what is done on a day-to-day basis. They require extensive planning and management in order to avoid failures and unnecessary costs.
Regardless of what type of transformation (e.g. Architecture, Business Model, or Organization), there are common and pitfalls as well as best practices followed by organizations that successfully execute transformations that the team should evaluate.
Here are 8 strategies to adopt when embarking on a transformation
Staff a transformation owner/manager in a senior role with a leader-servant mentality. They work collaboratively with teams and executives across the organization to execute and continuously align during the initiative keeping the pulse. They manage the complex dependencies while providing a data-driven clear view of the current state and the ability to continuously align teams helping facilitate cross-team prioritization
Transformation should be considered a temporary core business function and should avoid being considered a spare time or secondary activity. Integrate transformation projects into the product development and release cycles. Make it part of everyday work and the company roadmap
Avoid the trap of expensive transformations that lands the company in the same place. Failing to zoom out and taking a fresh look while building for the wrong or invalid historic use cases is a common trap. Increase the use of data-driven decisions to validate the market, client needs, and evolving user experience needs. Hire an external consultant to assist with the initial transformation rationale for validation
Ensure holistic focus on value and limit competing priorities. Regardless of what type of transformation (e.g. Architecture, Business Model, Digitial, or Organizational), define and use a 360 approach for prioritization that has clear KPIs. Examples may include product quality, time to market, customer value, ability to extend to new markets, scaling/growing, existing market share, optimizing costs, attracting and retaining talent, and reducing compliance and security gaps. Align initiatives to the core business and carefully evaluate buy-vs-build ROI
Ensure value is provided and adjust course continuously. Measure progress during each sprint and communicate widely. Refactor the implementation approach as needed for continuous improvement until the desired results are achieved with clear KPIs
Avoid losing momentum or visibility by scheduling regular updates during town halls, monthly executive meetings, or board meetings with measurable results and KPIs presented. Consider temporary incentives for key individuals. This ensure ownership, accountability, and visibility
Transformations are usually long initiatives and commonly lose focus. Increase focus by stack ranking the highest impact improvements with clear backlog epics
Avoid the trap of limited resources available for transformation initiatives by focusing resources on the top priorities. Carve out a % of roadmap resources to work on initiatives. Staff temporary help to advance large ticket items with limited in-house skills
About the Author
Hazem has been in the software and M&A industry for more than 26 years. As a managing partner at RingStone, he works with private equity firms globally in an advisory capacity. Before RingStone, Hazem built and managed a global consultancy, coaching high-profile executives, conducted technical due diligence in hundreds of deals and transformation strategies. He spent 18 years at Microsoft in software development, incubations, M&A, and cross-company transformation initiatives. Before Microsoft, Hazem built several businesses with successful exits namely in e-commerce, software, hospitality, and manufacturing. A multidisciplinary background in computer engineering, biological sciences, and business with a career spanning a global stage in the US, UK, broadly across Europe, Russia, and Africa. He is a sought-after public speaker and mentor in software, M&A, innovation, and transformations. Contact Hazem at email@example.com