We are excited to see many insurance companies initiating large programs to either differentiate their products and services in the market, connect with their customers or to reduce operating costs.
Once you have finished the large undertaking of understanding the problem to be solved, writing the business case, conducting an RFP selection process and obtaining funding, you might think you are ready to kick off your transformational program. Think again. In order to make sure the program is truly set up for success follow these five key steps:
- Organizational planning: Ensure your visionary subject matter experts (underwriters, actuaries, customer service leaders and sales support often fall into this group) are available to participate in the program without having their day jobs suffer. You may want to consider bringing in backfill resources for additional support. Develop a retention plan for key resources who you will be asking to work long hours and train your team to ensure they have the necessary skills needed to meet project goals.
- Project governance: Create and communicate a clear and simple governing structure for the program. Explain how program governance fits into the overall corporate governance. Define what decisions can be made at each level and push decisions down to the lowest level possible to minimize project delays.
- Scope management: Clearly define and document program scope and key assumptions. Review the scope and overall impact the program will have on your company with all project team members and help them understand the implications of scope changes. Ensure a change control process is in place and consider assigning a scope management advocate to attend requirement and design sessions.
- Collaboration: While co-location is ideal on projects, today many teams are distributed across multiple organizations and time zones. Creating program focused conference rooms with voice and video conferencing capabilities to limit the geographical distance gaps. Building in sufficient travel budget for key working sessions and creating collaboration sites are other ways to mitigate this risk.
- Benefit tracking: Program risks and decisions can have a great impact on expected benefits. Assigning a program assurance lead to review program alternatives and fully define the implications will allow program governance to make fully informed decisions.
Thinking through these five areas and assigning key advocates before kickoff will help ensure your program is truly ready to begin. Not only will you be ready for a successful start but you will be well positioned to weather the issues and react to the changes that occur in all long term programs.