Enterprise Transformation Project Plans are complex yet critical. In order to keep your business competitive and responsive to changes in your industry and in the economy as a whole, a large-scale enterprise transformation program may be necessary to drive growth and help you maintain your strategic position. However, the challenges of such wide-ranging and extensive transformation projects can be monumental, and many such programs end up coming in over budget while still failing to meet an organization’s needs. Your company can best position itself for success by crafting a comprehensive and detailed project plan before embarking on any enterprise transformation program.

What is a Transformation Project Plan?

Simply put, a transformation project plan is a document that is designed to outline a project’s scope, objective, and strategy for execution. Particularly for IT projects, the term is often used to refer specifically to a Gantt chart that illustrates the project’s schedule visually along a timeline. However, such charts are only one aspect of the kind of comprehensive project plan that is needed, especially for enterprise transformation programs. A successful project plan will define the key stakeholders in the project, outline the available budget and resources, anticipate risks that could arise, assign duties and responsibilities, create a timeline and define the expected quality standards of the finished deliverables.

The Value and Importance of Transformation Project Plans

Crafting and enacting a thorough and comprehensive transformation project plan does entail costs for an organization in both time and money, but the potential gains from doing so far outweigh this expense. Particularly for a project as wide-ranging and fundamentally important as enterprise transformation, the value of a strong project plan cannot be overstated.

Simply put, a transformation project plan is a document that is designed to outline a project’s scope, objective, and strategy for execution.

First, any large-scale transformation project will necessarily effect the entire organization, and getting employees at all levels onboard with the changes is critical to the project’s success. Clearly communicating the planned changes and their projected benefits through the use of a project plan is vital to winning the support of key individuals that are integral to the project’s success.

Second, all IT projects need to be driven by data-based decisions and quantifiable metrics in order to ensure the best and most efficient results, and enterprise-level projects demand this level of sophistication all the more. A project plan can help propel these evaluations and establish procedures for analyzing results.

Lastly, producing a high-quality solution that fits the needs of your organization is difficult to achieve unless you’ve clearly investigated and evaluated what is expected and required from your enterprise transformation program prior to the start of work, and a strong project plan can help you do so.

The Structure of Successful Transformation Project Plans

At the core, a project plan must answer several key questions about the program in order to be successful: why is the project happening, what are the major deliverables, who needs to be involved and at what stages of the process, and when are the key project milestones? In order to answer these question, detailed and comprehensive project plans will generally include several key documents.

First, you need to establish baselines or performance measures for the project in order to gain approval from key stakeholders and to keep track of whether the project is progressing correctly at all stages. Typically, you will need to craft baseline documents for the scope, cost, and schedule of the project.

Second, once you have determined your baseline metrics, you need to document how variances will be handled throughout the stages of the project using baseline management plans. These important documents will clearly establish what the project team should do when changes to the project’s baselines invariable occur.

Lastly, a comprehensive planning process will include documentation that aims to keep all key stakeholders informed and that looks to anticipate the needs of the project along the various stages of the timeline. Other critical work documents include a procurement plan that anticipates the materials needed, a risk management plan that seeks to predict and plan around any project hurdles, a staffing plan that clearly outlines who is responsible for what project elements and a communications plan that aims to keep everyone abreast of the project’s developments.

Best Practices

The sheer size and scope of a project plan for an enterprise transformation program can seem overwhelming. However, if your organization keeps certain principles in mind and seeks to follow best practices, the task can go much more smoothly.

First, do not set out to write transformation project plans before conducting adequate due diligence and thorough research into your team members, your clients and all of the affected elements of your business. Because your project plan needs to anticipate all issues that may arise over the course of the program, you need to arm yourself with as much knowledge about your organization as possible.

Second, hold a kickoff meeting at the start of the project. Such a meeting can help bring all of your stakeholders together before any work is undertaken, allowing trust to be built between team members and ensuring that everyone’s concerns and ideas are heard.

Lastly, you need to be prepared to keep planning. Change is inevitable throughout the course of any large-scale transformation process, and the ability to adapt to challenges is key to the success of any project plan and the underlying enterprise transformation program. If you have prepared a strong project plan from the beginning, however, this ongoing planning process should be a snap.

If your are interested in frameworks to manage large programs, consider the Scaled Agile Framework and a general overview of various project management methodologies.

CIOPages.com offers a variety of pre-built, customizable transformation project plans, which you can customize and tailor to your enterprise needs.

Human Resources Transformation Project Plan

Supply Chain Management Transformation Project Plan

Business Intelligence and Data Analytics Transformation Project

Marketing Transformation Project Plan

CRM Transformation Project Plan

Accounting and Finance Transformation Project Plan