Program organization and its own transformation

Programs evolve as all in life, mainly because the different phases of a program requires different skills, teams, and resources. We go from a high degree of ambiguity in the inception phase, progressing and gaining shape during the definition, moving to a delivery mode during the execution and “get the job done” during the closing.

In some major programs, you can change the people leading the program organization to reinforce the skills required for each phase with the best profiles of the organization. In the majority of the cases there are not changes, but the organization and its leadership have to adopt different attitudes/styles depending on the phase of the program. This is important because we have to be able to change the pace of the program and transmit to the rest of the teams that the focus changes.

  1. Program identification : The nature of this phase is so focused on research and analysis and there are so much SMEs working on different activities. An environment like this can best be lead by facilitating, provide guiding, offering suggestions and finding the right people to complete the goals of this phase.
  2. Program definition: For the design of all aspects of a program, different topics and groups are involved. The preferable style must focus on coordination, provide priority to the main elements of the program that evolves in different ways and promote the work done in peers of different groups.
  3. Program execution: We know what to do and have authorization to do it, so let’s concentrate on the delivery. Here an instructive style must ensure the task completion with a minimal disruption.
  4. Delivery of the capacity : During the program execution, the capacity starts to be delivered too. Here the business change manager should be measuring and cheking that the expected capacities are delivered with respect the program plan.
  5. Benefits realization: The focus of this phase is on the preparation of the organization for the changes and communications. Here good business analysis and planning skills are key to anticipate to the transformation and cover all gaps of the operational space, so a soft transition can be ensured. The acceptance of the changes by the operational teams is the key and an eye on it is paramount.
  6. Program closing: All activities are focused to complete all aspects of the program execution and the realization of benefits. Here the style desired has to focus on “get the things done”, combined with the analysis of results and the communications of the changes done and the benefits for the whole organization.

How to play the game, position and move

Position and move are essential information you need to put in place a strategy. The strategy is put in place through attacking and defensive actions.

In this case, the customer wants to reduce the number of vendors on IT space. We have classified the different vendors depending if they are tier-1, tier-2, tier-3. The picture below represents a small tier-3.

We have tried to represent the capabilities of these small tier-3 vendors and the way we will attack them, or put actions in place to defend against them.

  1. Point guard (HHRR): drives the ball (business) and distributes the work in a small vendor. We propose to attack and hire these key people which provides value and quick time response.
  2. Shooting guard (IT): Here has a defensive role: to restrict the dribble penetration of any type of deliverable that is not based on standard documents based on the customer framework. This defensive action tries to stop vendor differentiation.
  3. Small Forward (buyer): with a defensive role too: to choke the vendor lack of variety reducing their moves, and limiting the prices.
  4. Power forward (CTO), will wait for innovation, and extra value. He will play with small forward to choke the ability of the vendor to compete.
  5. Center (CIO), once the point guard did his job, and the others are containing and choking the vendor, the center will promote alliances to try to other vendor (tier-1 or tier-2) to acquire or enable an alliance with the small tier-3 vendor.

Basketball-dashboard-strategyBasketball is a team game, and this situation (customer/vendor) is also a game which requires to the whole team to work together.

Every game is different, as the opponent is different (for a tier-1 vendor, you should play the game differently).

Your actions has to be defined with respect your own capabilities and taking into account the strengths of your opponent.

Basketball is a statistical game too, so play with numbers and calculate how you will win-lose this game with the proposed strategy. You will lose some possessions (regulation, a long term contract you cannot cancel…), but will you win the game? For instance 3-points shoots is pure mathematics:

  • 40% 3p shoots means 1,2 points per possession;
  • 56% 2p shoots means 1,1 points per possession;

Professional basketball coaches are playing with these numbers to win games.

Behavioral attributes on program management

Cranfield University did a research related to behavioral attributes of the leaders when working on programs. The summary table of this research is added to the Managing Successful Programs book.

Attitude and aptitudes of leaders are summarized in a scale from 1 to 4, where 4 represents more awareness and capacity to lead the complexity of the programs. The research is focused on programs, but it’s perfectly applicable on other areas.


Twitter Vs Facebook

Twitter just announced that they are removing the 140 characters for direct messages. To me as user this means they become a clone of Facebook. Which of the main things you do in Facebook cannot be done in Twitter?

Facebook did a move adding the possibility of replying to replies, so the replies are more organized.

Facebook usage seems to be declining in terms of people entering direct messages; people attach pictures, videos, links… In twitter there are pictures, links… but people write more (at least the people I follow). By this reason I started to pay more attention to twitter than to Facebook.

the amount of “Likes” is high in both platforms, it’s easy and cheap for people to click on “like” or the small star.

With this move, the battle continues to attract users, traffic, relevancy… Twitter investors are starving of revenue, let’s see how the new CEO plays the game.

In honour of stupid people

I found this picture in this web, and I personally find it very funny.


Things as “this bottle of milk can contain milk” makes me laugh about how stupid human race can be.

Legal department will tell you that these type of sentences are here to protect us of potential sues. This culturally comes from USA, but in Europe the labeling of the products started to contain this type of protective sentences: the sentence above was read by me from a tetra-brik of milk.

The essential advantage, coherence

The essential advantage defines coherence as a resolute, clear minded focus in a company on three critical elements:

  1. Its way to play
  2. its most distinctive capabilities
  3. its lineup of products and services

The better aligned these three elements, the more coherent company.

There are four basic, specific, observable ways in which coherence generates value.

  1. Effectiveness
  2. Efficiency
  3. Focused investment
  4. Alignment


Pivotal alliances

The ability to establish partnerships and execute them with a long term win-win strategy is not an easy aspect of the business. Pivotal has a clear road-map for partnerships and reach the final customer thanks to their partners.


EMC & Pivotal: starting on specific deals: GE Joins EMC and VMware in a Joint Venture to Challenge Software Megavendors in the Cloud

IBM & Pivotal:


IBM Blue-Mix and Pivotal Labs

Cloud Foundry compared with other PaaSes


Dell offers their Applications Services on Cloud Foundry Dell Expands Digital Services Portfolio to Include End–To-End Application Services on Pivotal Cloud Foundry