Until recently, we spent an average of 60% of a project working remotely from clients. Typically, this was for the more routine activities of configuration, testing, move to production and support. The more nuanced kick-off and design workshops were mostly reserved for face to face working. Of the 15 S2P/P2P implementation projects we are currently running globally, we have transitioned all to 100% remote working.
We have based the approach on previous remote S2P implementations for clients – this is not new for us, however what is new is that our clients are also now fully home-based – a situation that some are not used to or were not expecting.
There are some fundamental aspects to make this transition successful:
- Cloud collaboration tools for all activity – providing the ability for everyone to guarantee they are seeing the most recent version of all documentation and allowing simultaneous editing and review.
- A One Team Approach – we can’t emphasise enough the value of everyone working together as a single team. This is a culture we instil in all our projects, but even more important now that we need to jointly solve problems, avoid pointing fingers of blame, and work to achieve what will always be a common goal
- A clear and complete methodology (XoomCloud) that provides a methodology, detailed step by step playbook, and a large number of tools and templates. Together, these help to deliver projects consistently, and provide the transparency and progress monitoring required from a remote project.
In addition to this we have tweaked some aspects of our approach to ensure it works across all stages of a projects. The focus of these change has been on:
Kick-Off and Design Workshops
- Breaking sessions into a larger number of smaller workshops to keep interest levels and focus
- Increased post-workshop reviews and systems demos to check understanding and ensure everyone is in agreement
- Comprehensive training of clients staff on ‘how UAT works and why it’s needed
- Scrum-style start of the day session to plan daily activity
- Online tracker to view defects in real time, and monitor rate of progress
- Emphasis on remote channels of communications such as webinars, recorded sessions and additional written materials to ensure understating, as well as increased screen sharing and testing of users’ understanding
Project Management & Governance
- More frequent progress tracking and governance meetings and tighter controls
- Increased use of plans and trackers to ensure clarity of responsibilities and actions, and to identify blockers instantly
Studies are starting to show that while people feel they may be less creative and innovative in a home environment, perhaps because of the lack of interaction and stimulus, they are becoming more productive and have more time (due to less travelling) to spend on work (findings taken from Flexjobs survey and ResearchGate). Anecdotally, a number of companies we speak to are using this time to strengthen their business so that they emerge ahead of their competition. So, could this actually be a good time to start transforming your organisation’s procurement?
Even if organisations don’t feel they are ready to embark on full-scale projects right at this moment, there are various high-impact activities that can be completed now to strengthen the procurement function and prepare better for a time when ready for S2P implementation.
If you are interested in how to deliver procurement projects remotely or what you can do to prepare for a stronger and more flexible procurement landscape, don’t hesitate to contact us.