Take advantage of a wealth of experience to turn things around

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When things are starting to slip out of your grasp its time to take a step back. It makes sense to seek outside guidance and support. A fresh perspective leading to a revised approach sets the foundation for a turnaround. Help from experienced leaders can then reinforce the recovery during the critical reset period.

Recognising the problem and the options

Busy leaders, especially in a crisis, don’t have the time to look in detail at why things aren’t working. The “fog of war” can obscure much. In stressful times history can bias the judgement of those directly involved and pressure leads to miscommunication. An independent situation assessment will help cut through the fog and filter out the noise revealing what needs to be done.

We reported on our first such assessment in October 1991 and have regularly helped clients in this way since then. The team’s understanding of business, grasp of technology, knowledge of solution development and insight into the people side of delivery enable us to provide executives with a clear objective analysis of what they have on their plate and of what they can and can’t do.

Responding

Knowing what must be done is one thing, actually doing it is another. Precise, decisive rapid action is not a common trait of a tired and stressed operation in the middle of a crisis. Our experienced team can support you at this critical time. We can provide the extra leadership bandwidth and insight that will permit a programme to make the changes needed to get back on track.

Finishing the job

Sometimes it becomes clear that an organisation lacks strength in one or more of the key disciplines needed to take things to conclusion. Such gaps create a fear that problems could emerge later and a reluctance to carry on. Working with our team opens up options that can strengthen these disciplines providing the confidence that leads to a decision to carry on rather than abandoning what has already been done.

Interventions

Industrial Embedded Communications Application - Nine months, reshaping development practices and guiding the delivery of a minimum viable solution. Clearing a large defect backlog and establishment a rigorous qualification testing regime to ensure fitness for purposes in harsh, critical industrial environments. The company developing the product supplied the oil and gas sectors and had committed to its use in major new installations. The commercial exposure, had this not been turned around, was significant.

Mobile Services Provider Web Portal - A seven month intervention in Southern Europe, assessing, reshaping, revitalising and completing the delivery of a customer support web-portal for a tier-1 telecommunications provider. A multinational ecosystem containing two tier-1 suppliers, two tier-2 suppliers and teams from the global and local in-house IT functions, together with a problematic history spanning three years made this an interesting challenge. Once the people on the project bonded into a collaborative whole the delivery performance turned around and the solution went successfully into service.

Mischarging Crisis - Tasked to find the cause of service charges for one account being applied to payment cards associated with a different account. The issues risked derailing the 2010 launch of a high profile green transport scheme. The integrator and application development team had been aware of and had been trying to locate the issue for months. It was reliably reproduced and then fixes within two days of arrival on site.

Delivery Crisis - Behind schedule and falling far below expectations, the CIO responsible for this programme wanted to understand what was causing the malaise. What did we find? In was the number one priority of the web application team yet they were not performing. Behind the crisis there was a single primary cause. The web team had been made responsible because users would access through the web, but the real complexity and the most difficult work needed to be done by the CRM team, a team with other priorities. Clearly the delivery model put in place was wrong and needed restructuring to enable this work to take life.

Network Inventory Upgrade - The technology supplier wanted the customer to move up to retain support and so, in conjunction with the system integrator, they set off to do the upgrade as part of an overall release. Now the track record was not too good, particularly on this sort of hybrid delivery, and so we came in to take a close look at where it was going. The essential thing here was to remove uncertainty early, the biggest unknown being could you do a big band upgrade the multi terabyte inventory database, one full of lots of dirty data, accurately and could you do it fast enough? No one had done any analysis or experimentation on times, so testing on copies of production data was the order of the day. To answer the earlier question, you couldn’t. This upgrade path was a world first. Based on trials we calculated the upgrade would take 48 days to execute. The upgrade was dropped from the release so it could be given far more careful consideration.

Tunnel Service Management Solution - Ventilation and lighting within a road tunnel are critical services, malfunctions can cause traffic disruption, illness and accidents. Having emerged from acceptance testing with a large list of defects that trigged rejection by the prime contractor the project needed a reset. Disciplined query and defect management, bringing precision, systematic prioritisation and clear tracking, along with independent test and evaluation, was the answers in this case. Injecting a single assurance professional to work alongside the small development team for a short period was all that was required. There were no real technical challenges, it was just a matter of bringing some order to a disorderly situation and of being pedantic about things been done and working correctly.