Our projects are driven by our clients’ need to enhance shopper experience, streamline the supply chain, and gain more knowledge. Their process leads them to a vision of their unique version of retail modernization. It’s vital for us to understand how this vision motivates their decision to invest in technology and embark on an IT project.
We at Makira are usually privileged to become involved early in the game, often helping our clients realize the scope and scale of the effort. It is rare that a mid-sized retailer has the necessary staff on board to provide skills and experience for an ambitious project. The typical team might consist of internal tech staff, informed users, and outsiders from software vendors, consulting firms and contractors. With such a diverse group it is challenging to effectively communicate the vision that drove the project to be funded in the first place. As a result, this vision rarely gets translated to the project team members.
Instead, team members define project success specifically as being on time and on budget. Consequently, they tend to take shortcuts, increase scope inappropriately, and compromise fit to conform to that version of success. How many times have we heard the client technicians and contractors refer to “The Business” as if they were aliens from a different universe?
The professionals at Makira don’t work that way. Mike Charow, one of Makira’s Senior Project Managers, explains: “We work hard at restating our understanding of the executive vision. It’s all about connecting the dots between lofty ambition and the practical necessity of delivering on well-defined specifications. This discipline requires us to identify metrics that measure whether the executive vision is being realized.”
“Change Management is critical”, continues Charow. “In a recent project, we were engaged to enhance the client’s website and e-store presence to create a best-in-class online shopping experience. Because of our inherent knowledge of retail and commitment to our client’s vision, we were able get the project team reoriented to executive goals. I’m sure the client has secured a competitive advantage which almost certainly would have been missed.”
Our unique approach allows us to play a special role as change allies in every project we take on. We resist the temptation to cut corners or to overcomplicate, always keeping the overarching vision in our sights. That alignment to vision helps achieve lasting benefits that takes our clients’ projects beyond success.