from PM to transformation leader (part 2: issues and pitfalls)

In the previous post, we identified 4 types of “transformation programmes” at company level:

  1. Continuous Improvement: company processes are constantly evaluated and improved in the light of their efficiency, effectiveness and flexibility.
  2. Kaizen: activities that continually improve all functions of a business.
  3. Re-engineering or Business process re-engineering (BPR): end-to-end business processes review and redefinition from beginning to end.
  4. Rebranding: radical changes to the logo, name, image, marketing and advertising.

A non-exhaustive list of the key pitfalls I witnessed with the above are:

nebulous objectives and goals

Some BPR initiatives were driven as IT programmes often called Order to Bill, Customer Relationship Management or Enterprise Resource Planning. The tools often became the focal point, rather than the required business processes transformation.

But where are the business benefits?

never-ending or unclear timelines and deliverables



Humongous programmes, multi-years, million dollar investments, thousands of man days… While starting from a good idea, the scope and management of original targeted changes often get derailed.

Small is most often beautiful in project management. One clearly defined step at a time is better than engaging in a long trip towards an unclear destination and without clearly defined stops/stages.

a multitude of small initiatives

We may have a lot of loosely-coupled changes to execute that cannot be articulated into something really meaningful for the company. In these instancesI'd like to explain in this post why I believe that, as Programme/Project directors or Project Portfolio Managers, we are ideally skilled to become transformation leaders in our companies and organizations., we run the risk of rapidly loosing focus, support and momentum.

Additionally, there is a lack of overall leadership for unrelated initiatives to ensure proper attention and progress.

loss of focus/business drive and support

The span of attention of key executives is often only minutes as they have to juggle so many things in parallel. If change/transformation programmes do not capture enough of their attention in a short time-frame, they will not get their full support. And for any transformation, executive support is critical.

The same applies to employees at all levels. If we cannot keep them engaged in our transformation initiatives, we will not be successful.

Part 3 to come soon... stay tuned!


Michel Operto

I've been leading IT projects for more than 20 years at telecom and computer manufacturers: Thomson Sintra, Digital Equipment, NCR, Nortel Networks, Orange Business. My passion is Project Management and leadership and I run a blog on the PM best practices at