Aurorah Cheney


Masters in Major Programme Management




Financial Services


2017 - 19

By Aurorah Cheney

Mastering Scaling: Lessons from the Oxford MPM Conference

Innovation Must Not Diminish your ‘Business as Usual’ Function . . . However Innovation is Vital for Survival.

In this present rapidly evolving and competitive landscape all businesses across all sectors are now being disrupted by digital evolution, that includes Major Programmes. How is it that some organisations are getting this right?  It is often the intangible and fragile balance of leadership, resource and flexibility that determines success. It is also about the speed with which a team can pivot and adapt to its surroundings. Culture is critical to fostering innovation and leaders cannot charge ahead without considering the warm fluffy bit. It’s about an inclusive approach.

Business transformation must happen in parallel to your digital transformation programmes.  Getting the human element right, ensuring the motivators and behaviours are calibrated in the right way to get the most out of your team must be consistent from the C-Suite down.

This might seem an impossible task. Some may ask “Do we have the opportunity to ‘opt out’?”  Sadly not, organisations must get on board. Technical disruption is well underway and your competitors are likely to be innovating in the technology space.  Thus, it is critical to educate, train and seek the talent necessary to stay in the race.

In my 20 years of experience, I have witnessed a host of success and failures within organisational transformation. Those leaders who are most successful are those actively engaged across multiple layers of the business; communicating effectively. They create the important narratives from the top down whilst harvesting ideas from the bottom up. This is not discriminant by maturity of the organisation but the maturity of its leaders. Organisations can be propelled much further by the correct culture.

So how is this done?  There are a host of methods and case studies to turn to.  Some of the most important ideas include: Set the context – let people know the why in what you are doing.  Crowd sourcing ideas from all levels of your business. Engaging in two way communications. Taking a regular step back from your daily grind and observe the full picture. Take up ideas from the non executive teams and make sure your culture invites this opportunity.  Resource up for the vital communication task within your organisation and programme, do not skimp on budget by removing this important transformational role.

Finally, in fostering an innovation and research model in your organisation there are some pitfalls which also must be avoided. A business cannot abandon its business as usual (BAU) operation. It must maintain its money making products and ensure quality BAU whilst researching, innovating and designing for its future. Your operational team must be focused on stable operation and incremental improvements on BAU. Whilst others within the team focus on the innovation.

The most successful business transformations happen because its people, at every level, believe in the objectives  and they believe it is the right thing to do. How do you obtain this buy in? Through dialogue.

Oxford Major Programme Management Conference 2018
Technology and Major Programmes: Mastering Scaling



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