Conference Room Simulation
Early tests: avoid rude awakenings
Most projects fail or finish late and overshoot the budget. The underlying cause is often lack of coordination. Project managers take great care in developing the plan and requirements specification, but fail to consult with the departments affected.
The result? They lose sight of the big picture; project details and feasibility and its underlying assumptions are hardly challenged. The rude awakening comes shortly before the rollout - the introduction of new processes and structures meets with resistance from those affected, conflicts between project management and the departments threaten to bring day-to-day business to a grinding halt, and costs spiral out of control.
Is it any wonder? When companies are forced to change their organizational structures to counter heightened competition or comply with new legal regulations, they face a mammoth task. Projects that aim to optimize processes between the various departments, usher in more efficient systems, or define new roles and interfaces, are fraught with tremendous challenges.
- Do the key players from the involved areas understand the new processes and systems at the necessary level of detail?
- Are new interfaces and roles functioning smoothly?
- How can conceptual gaps and flaws be recognized early enough?
- Do the participating areas have the same expectations?
- What can be done to ensure acceptance by the responsible employees?
To answer these types of questions requires testing. It is for that reason that we developed our tried-and-true, one-of-a-kind format: the conference room simulation.
Excellent results in the early phase of the project.
Positive impact on the overall project quality.
Sketchy communication, unrealistic expectations, missing key players, poor awareness of problems - the list of endlessly recurring errors associated with the traditional project management approach goes on and on. Yet most of them are easy to avoid - with a conference room simulation.
The format brings all the responsible parties to the table early on and the major process workflows are tested under realistic conditions. Weak areas and risks are identified quickly in an interdisciplinary environment. Departments can agree on improvements face to face. This reduces process costs, since the later in the process shortcomings are detected, the greater the expense.
Simulations are performed under protected conditions. Participants have the opportunity to run through all the imaginable process scenarios. Sources of error can be eliminated and process quality increased without adversely affecting daily operations.
During the simulation, participants can scrutinize the processes at the necessary level of detail. CPC makes the meetings very realistic and integrates any required prototypes of the new systems into the simulation. Role-playing gives employees an opportunity to rehearse their new roles until they become second nature.
Even though it's seldom mentioned in the high-gloss consulting firm brochures, projects do not produce winners only. The unlucky losers often do not raise their concerns until the end phase of the project. Whereas fears and criticisms surface quickly in the conference room simulation. Project owners have time to dispel reservations - an absolute prerequisite for the stability of newly introduced processes and structures.
Because the simulations yield excellent results in the early project phase, they have a positive impact on the overall quality of the project.
From analysis to the stress test:
Phases of the format.
Prior to the start of the conference room simulation, our experts put the existing process design to the acid test. The focus is on process maturity and plausibility. This analysis lays the foundation for the simulation's success.
- Together with the project managers, CPC consultants then develop clearly defined simulation goals - for each and every relevant department. This allows us to ensure that all efforts are headed in the same direction.
- The simulation concept results from the individual, orchestrated goals. That way our customer never loses sight of the overall challenge.
- The actual simulation is designed to uncover gaps and flaws, rehearse roles and processes, and especially to hash out the new processes, systems and structures and identify potential conflicts. Glitches and worst-case scenarios are typically part of the conference room simulation.
- Lastly, the simulation identifies specific action to take. In the final wrap-up, participants reflect on the simulation's main results and define additional measures needed.