Considering some of the challenges that new product launches and change programmes have seen in recent years, this principle seems to be easily forgotten. In a rush to get their car on the grid, firms neglect the support and maintenance required, or descope activities without fully realising the downstream impact, resulting in headlines, remedial programmes and frustration for all concerned.
We can learn a lot from the way a Formula 1 team sets out its season. It sets off with a plan for how to compete across 20+ races with a design that has gone through copious testing. It may know that the car starting the season is not the finished entity, but it has already drawn up a programme of activity to develop it further so that the season isn’t disrupted, with key points in the racing year to deliver improved performance. To do this it has a roadmap and knows what capabilities and processes it needs to focus on throughout the lifespan of the season (and typically the car) and most importantly when.
It is the same in Financial Services. We need our pre-season testing, our customer research and product design phase, we need the build and implementation phase to get us to the start line and we need to understand what is still to be worked on, with budget and rigour around how and when we are going to deliver. From an Altus perspective, we need a Haynes Manual view of our car to understand the discrete capabilities required, how these will impact our speed and handling and most importantly how it will ensure that the customer flies around the track with our solution and not end up in the gravel trap on the first corner.
The COVID-19 pandemic has suddenly transformed the race track and, whilst many are still adjusting to new working practices, we see an opportunity that some racing teams only dream of – a chance, mid-race, to get out and fix what we didn’t get right. Understandably, many change programmes are taking a step back to let BAU breathe, and that offers an opportunity to write those chapters of the Haynes Manual you skipped over in the rush to get off the line. Many of us are now able to get time with key SMEs, who were previously gobbled up by the business machine in endless meetings. That means we can refine our picture of the business to better understand where tuning is needed. So, when projects and programmes are back in full flow, we can bring greater control over how delivery is enabled and allow the business to successfully apply more power and efficiency without crashing.
Despite the chaos out there we are not even half way through this “season”, so do try and take this opportunity, work on your “car” with your team and hit the track in a fitter state to win the race and exceed both customer and business expectations.