“Transformation” is a buzzword in the business world, with nearly every organization vying for ground-breaking ideas and racing to implement the next new thing. Despite the excitement around transformation, it’s rare for a company to truly achieve it. While the exact definition may vary depending on the type of organization and its goals, transformation is more than just a routine change. It is a complex, disruptive, often technology-enabled change to a system or organization. Where a process change focuses on solving an existing problem or making a change within a pre-defined system, a transformational change involves rethinking the system itself.
Though many organizations set their sights on being technologically forward and innovative, it can be hard to create structure around transformational strategies and see them through to execution. This is where a Transformation Management Office comes into play.
The Role of a Transformation Management Office
When individual business units are responsible for their own transformation, which is the case in many organizations, efforts can become disconnected from the bigger-picture strategy of the firm. Often, these localized efforts have long timelines and little accountability, and end up reflecting a process change, as opposed to an actual business transformation.
A Transformation Management Office, or TMO, is one way that organizations can create structure and accountability around transformational efforts. The TMO is an independent office or unit within an organization responsible for overseeing large-scale transformations, from initiation to execution, all while ensuring that transformational projects are aligned with organizational strategy. In other words, the goal of a TMO is to turn a vision into reality.
Because transformational projects and initiatives involve more effort than ordinary change, the composition and functions of a TMO will differ slightly from a traditional Project Management Office (PMO). The PMO’s focus is time and budget. The TMO’s focus is on a specific outcome, or future-state vision for the organization.
Creating a Successful TMO
1. Establish a clear vision. This vision should be aligned with overarching goals for the firm, and transformational projects that make it into the pipeline should consistently contribute to achieving those goals. Consider these questions when establishing your vision for a TMO:
- What are our goals as an organization?
- How is our organization changing? How do we want it to change?
- In what ways can we equip the TMO to best help us achieve these goals?
Setting the Vision – A large utility client’s TMO was developed as a collective effort that had strong leadership and executive support. The company’s leadership decided to prioritize improvements to innovation, technology, and customer relationships. This simple and precise vision helped create a baseline for all future transformational efforts.
2. Build a strong foundation. Defined structure and governance will help ensure that the TMO’s projects are aimed at specific, value-driven business outcomes. Key elements of the foundation include:
- Consistent project life cycles through which all transformational projects flow
- A defined system for overseeing workstreams, progress, prioritization, and talent and budget resourcing
- A process for raising concerns, anticipating conflict, and proactively mitigating issues
- Leadership involvement and support
Structuring the TMO – A monthly program-wide status meeting can be a useful tool to share progress, upcoming milestones, and raise issues and risks. When the right stakeholders—including team members, workstream leads, sponsors, and company executives—come together, this type of meeting can ensure that everyone is aligned on upcoming initiatives and prepared to address any roadblocks.
3. Form a high-performing team. The TMO team oversees and manages all transformational efforts and keeps the TMO running on a day-to-day basis. They follow projects from ideation through implementation, identify the right talent for individual projects, help get leadership support, and emphasize strategic and change management goals. While the size of your team will depend on your organization, strong TMO teams possess:
- Project management skills
- Organizational Change Management (OCM) expertise
- Excellent communication
- Leadership ability
In addition to these skills, executive support is key in ensuring that the TMO receives the budget, visibility, and resources needed to succeed.
An effective TMO can position your organization to stay up-to-date and ahead of the transformation curve. Fill out the form below to connect with a consultant and see if establishing a TMO may be a good fit for your company.