While working as a Process Improvement Consultant in February 2012, Alex was notified that the General Services team’s traveling division required a Travel Desk application. Everyone were instructed that, due to the significant cost demands, no one should hunt for off-the-shelf items and instead design a solution internally. As a result, the project revolved around determining the current process, identifying business needs, documenting them, creating an application prototype, and lastly rolling out the new application in accordance with the newly planned process.
At first, the project appeared to be fairly straightforward. Individuals who needed to stamp their tourist visas or travel for business filled a form, had it approved by at least two authorities, and then presented it to the relevant department for further processing. All they had to do was automate the procedure.
People learned the project was not as straightforward as it appeared simply a few days after starting it. It was a cross-functional project. Professionals from several departments were involved. It had no one ownership, supporter, or winner. The project’s scope was likewise uncertain.
“Scope Creep” is a well-known problem in project management, and Alex was concerned that this project would be a textbook example. The project also had to deal with a resource shortage and an overworked project manager.
Furthermore, the project proved to be more difficult than anticipated, necessitating the establishment of a suitable approval process, which resulted in much more work for senior executives.
The difficulties encountered were:
- Obtaining the Project Leader’s Time Commitment: There was only one person in charge of the travel desk, and she was also the project lead. People discovered that she found it difficult to prioritise the project over her other commitments due to the dual responsibility and severe workload.
- Identifying the project champion: The owner of the Admin department (General Services Director) seemed to be the most natural choice for identifying the project champion, however he may not have been the only approver of this project. This was due to the fact that the programme was primarily used by a small number of users from core operations teams and several of the major shared services areas, such as Finance and Training. As a result, Operation Directors and Shared Services Directors, as well as the Admin Owner, would have been the best candidates for sponsoring.
- Conflicting interests were discovered during the scoping of the project: Due to the fact that this was a cross-functional project, each department had its own interests and demanded functionality in the application that would reduce their manual labour. These competing interests disrupted the application’s primary goal of shortening the approval process schedule. As a result, the project team got together and devised a phased development strategy for the application.
- Choosing the best subject matter experts to collect needs: The very first month was spent developing the project charter, determining the project’s scope, and obtaining buy-in from all stakeholders. Requirement Gathering was the next difficult phase of the project. The main issue to solve was determining who would be the best subject matter expert to assist with requirement collection.The project team was unable to properly determine who would provide all of the criteria because individuals from various parts of the corporation were required to travel. The data of travellers was used to tackle this problem.
- Preparing the application and completion of the project: The application development team worked on producing a prototype proof of concept (POC) once they defined the requirements. Subject matter experts put this to the test. The application was deployed out across the organisation after testing.