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Stabilizing and leading a complex project during an organizational transition

Updated: Nov 14, 2022

Fortune 50 Telecommunications Company

A major telecommunications company sought assistance to stabilize and lead a complex project during team formation of a matrix organization with new products. The new offering included a security offering that provided home security components, including police and fire alarm protection backed by 24/7 professional monitoring, as well as the ability to adjust digital thermostats, turn lights on or off and watch secure live streaming video from wireless cameras while away from home.

After the initial release of the security and control product offerings, it was discovered that potential customers were confused by too many product variations. As a result, the product sponsor wanted to reduce the offerings by reforming the team and focusing the marketing efforts. The organization had to operate within the larger corporate environment that included 25+ matrixed groups. Complicating things was an increasingly complex technical environment with little documentation, training, and a new workforce with most employees having less than two years of experience. Loosely defined groups and dependencies were causing project delays. In addition, the organization was struggling with the adoption of Agile Scrum development methodology. The company needed focus and leadership to align the implementation project so business objectives could be met.

NorthStar identified a program manager to lead the teams and to close the gap in Scrum capabilities. NorthStar’s project manager utilized proven PM methodologies towards an end-to-end leadership solution. At the start of the initiative, the program manager added process guidance on requirements gathering, validation, prioritization, initial high-level design, and scheduling. The Scrum framework did not explicitly allow for these extension points, but PM experience allowed for flexibility; the gaps were identified, and the PM adapted. The program manager provided the business sponsor with a complete life cycle coverage and shifting to the Scrum framework when that was most appropriate. The program manager offered experience on how to get the program completed across the affected groups, ability to track and coordinate the program’s many dependencies, and a comprehensive understanding of success in a matrixed team environment.

NorthStar’s efforts helped the company stabilize the teams by providing project leadership and by utilizing proven project management methodologies. The company enjoyed success through collaborative planning and project accountability. The program manager built relationships with the functional managers across the organization to understand and identify which groups were needed, integrated workflows, identified dependencies, and secured agreements building a realistic program schedule with commitment across all stakeholder. The program manager’s success was aligned with the business sponsor; the project met important milestones and success was measured by satisfying the needs and benefits of the business.

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