Large programmes present a range of challenges for those whose job is to direct and shape them. Programme directors must win buy-in from key stakeholders, programme managers must ensure the programme is aligned with others across the organisation and programme architects must articulate the solution the programme will produce.
However, some programmes are so complex that it is almost impossible for one person to understand and articulate the whole solution, let alone remember the decisions and assumptions that underpin it. Scale, complexity and timelines often result in teams being pulled in different directions or unknowingly working against each other. Uncertainty about the programme’s objectives or how people are working together is also a recurring problem.
A programme design room brings clarity and focus to even the most complex programme. This room contains all the information necessary for success – the programme vision and desired outcome, the architecture, the solution and the plans for getting there, and the people – in a single space, whether physical or in a specially created online environment.
Creating a common understanding of the solution
By bringing the information together in one place, a design room makes it possible to track the why, what, how, who and when of a programme – simply by moving around the room. It creates a common understanding across the business, programme and IT teams, and makes it much easier to spot dependencies, gaps and inconsistencies.
The most effective design rooms follow the lifecycle of the programme, moving from programme vision and principles through to the target operating model, including key elements of the business case. As the programme moves through the design, build and implementation phases, changes to scope, solution and plan are reflected immediately, charting the programme’s progress from vision through to realisation.
Improving decision making
A design room creates a dynamic environment for making decisions. Leadership and stakeholder meetings held in the room can refer to the programme vision and principles. Design meetings debate, scope and shape their conversation using the architecture and design artefacts. Implementation planning sessions are driven by the design. The energy level is higher than when people sit down to discuss a slide pack, for example, because those attending the meeting are up, walking around and interacting with the information around them.
The design room also serves as a place where anyone can drop in to discuss the programme, quickly breaking down misunderstandings and clarifying uncertainties.
Encouraging collaborative working
Gaining the support of stakeholders across the business is critical to embedding change successfully. A design room brings the business, programme and IT team together in an environment where the problem and solution, the plan and the best way to deliver the programme are agreed collectively through collaborative working.
Meetings that take place in the design room are informed by the decisions made to date and centre on the agreed future solution. Gaining agreement on key questions ensures that the assumptions, risks and delivery plan are owned by the people who will make the programme a success.
PA is using design rooms to help clients in both the private and public sector implement large programmes successfully. In the financial services sector, for example, where banks and insurers are implementing major change programmes to address new regulation, including Solvency II and BASEL III, we are using design rooms to help our clients achieve their strategic goals within the context of new legislative frameworks.
To find out how PA can help your organisation implement complex programmes successfully, contact us now.