The Magic Formula

Program Management + Subject Matter Expertise = Strategic Success

Organizations are increasingly finding that employees are overwhelmed with day to day operational tasks.

Employees are focusing on providing effective and efficient operations driven by growing competition, growing regulatory requirements and maturing customer expectations.

While the bulk of the organization focuses on these operational aspects, leadership is conceiving strategic vision and initiatives, which often go unfulfilled due to a lack of short-term resources, even when such initiatives would generate long-term improvements to operations and the bottom line.

Not only are organizations finding that internal resources are severely time constrained, but that the skills and knowledge that make one individual great at delivering operational services day in and day out aren’t the same as those required to turn a strategic concept into reality. It often requires much different modes of thinking to execute processes and procedures routinely with quality than is required to turn strategic concepts into new routines and drive the associated organizational changes. When organizations ask internal resources to perform both operational and project functions, most will become less effective and/or less efficient in both roles.

Successful organizations are finding that the execution of strategic initiatives is most effectively performed by a focused team which blends internal resources with external support. Internal resources innately understand the organization’s culture and have a strong sense of how to get things done internally. They also have certain knowledge about clients, processes, procedures, culture, etc. which are invaluable when ensuring that a particular initiative can be integrated with day to day operations. Conversely, external resources bring the invaluable perspective of someone who has seen what other organizations have done in similar situations and aren’t blinded by thoughts of “how we’ve always done it.” External resources provide specific skills and knowledge relevant to the particular initiative, but also the bandwidth required to give strategic initiatives the dedicated focus required.

Successful organizations are finding that the execution of strategic initiatives is most effectively performed by a focused team which blends internal resources with external support.

Parallel to the blending of internal and external resources, the blending of program management best practices with domain-specific subject matter expertise is the secret sauce that differentiates projects of moderate success and outstanding performance. Many of the same internal vs external resource factors also contribute to this dynamic. For instance, your network operations team may be fantastic at keeping your environment running, but not have a good understanding of how the organization as a whole is addressing regulatory requirements such as HIPAA, PCI or SOX. While an external compliance consultant can provide this domain-specific subject matter expertise, their knowledge must be blended with that of the internal network team to ensure compliance efforts don’t negatively impact the operations of the environment.

Program management best practices guided by a skilled practitioner completes the puzzle. These practices blended with domain-specific subject matter expertise allow strategic concepts to be turned into realistic, tactical plans. The realism that the subject matter experts provide to time lines, risks, communication requirements, etc. is where the magic happens and the result is a plan into which all stakeholders buy-in. Once the plan is in place, the skill of the program manager, with ongoing input from the subject matter experts, guides the execution of projects through iterations until success is achieved.

FOQUS Partners specializes in working with organizations to understand any gaps in skills and/or availability of internal resources and provides the external program management and subject matter experts to create a focused team to deliver on strategic initiatives. Let us bring our methodology to your next complex, strategic initiative and see the magic formula in action.