C3 Project Management
Traditional project management is based on the assumption the problem is known and the solution derived needs only to be executed. Unfortunately, experience shows that many solutions are based on insufficient problem definition. The result is, at best, projects that may come in on time and on budget but fail to produce the intended or optimum results. This scenario is like deciding to build a new bridge, then putting a project together to get it done. We subsequently discover we have essentially built a bridge to nowhere because the bridge can only handle car and light truck traffic, with no provision for pedestrians, bicyclists or heavy trucks. This happens because we have confused having a defined solution with having a well-defined problem to be solved.
C3 Project Management creates dramatic success by defining the problem or opportunity exceptionally well. This is not done in an ad hoc manner, but with a clearly articulated method. It starts with the assumption that we know only the symptoms of the problem or signs of the potential opportunity. Where many traditional projects struggle to stay focused, on time and on budget, C3 projects use a method that assures high focus, superb definition of the problem/opportunity and presents the best innovative and practical solution. C3 projects are overwhelmingly successful at carrying out their mission rapidly, producing quality results organizational leaders have rarely seen before. One organization got a 200-to-1 ROI from four projects within 18 months. Another got over a 1,000-to-1 ROI with a procurement project. A third had all 10 teams finish and get enthusiastic management approval to execute, when they had previously experienced less than a 20% success rate. These are not unusual results.
While C3 works well for traditional projects, it really shines with challenging projects where stunning improvement is the goal. The required CSI-type discipline, tied to the psychology of how to win the case in court, is embedded in what you learn in C3 Project Management & Deployment (C3PM). The methodology is based on the innovative customer-centered culture (C3) principles first published in Robin Lawton’s best-selling book, Creating a Customer-Centered Culture: Leadership in Quality, Innovation and Speed, along with special Excel-based tools.
C3 Project Management is superior when the symptoms of a problem (or opportunity) are known but what is NOT known are:
- The real nature of the problem/opportunity and its causes
- What customers (either internal or external) really want, versus what they experience, especially in a non-widget context
- What evidence is needed to make a compelling, unimpeachable case for change
- What the best, most impactful solution is
- How to “sell” the solution to decision-makers, using objective and subjective data
- How to sustain implementation of the change
This is the situation most often faced by project teams set up to make significant or strategically important improvements. This can be related to business growth, quality, customer satisfaction, innovation and new product/service design. These are the reasons to use C3 Project Management & Deployment (C3PM). Think of two sample cases where this is relevant:
- You arrive at a crime scene where there is blood on the floor, no bodies, no weapons, no suspects and the room is a wreck. And everyone wants your team to find out who did what to whom NOW, so justice is done. The solution requires a skilled team of Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) who use the best methods and have the latest tools.
- The goal is to find out which healthcare customers could benefit the most from changes they could make in their lifestyle, determine what will best motivate them to make those changes, figure out what it will take to support such changes and quantify the impact of the change.
Deliverables Can Include
- A highly focused project charter. This assures the proper target of focus, a clearly defined scope of study, the correct sponsorship and project team membership, and measures of success
- Creation of a data collection plan. This facilitates workload leveling among team members, minimizes redundancy and provides the basis for fact-based solutions.
- Discovery of hidden priorities held by leadership and customers which must be satisfied to achieve success.
- Identification, development and prioritization of innovative alternative solutions.
- High ROI. It is not uncommon for C3 projects to achieve better than 20:1 ROI within two years.
- An executive presentation that is highly compelling, supported by unimpeachable data, that receives an enthusiastic approval from decision makers. The overwhelming response by senior management is that C3 project team final proposals/presentations are the best they have ever seen.
Description of Approach
There are nine major steps in the full C3 project. Not all projects require all the steps. The C3 tools and methodology are generally introduced in a just-in-time basis by a skilled C3 project manager. This maximizes retention and application of new learning, while tailoring everything to the unique needs of each project team.
- Phase 4.1 Project Kick-off
- Phase 4.2 Map Product Relationships
- Phase 4.3 Collect Baseline Data: The “As Is”
- Phase 4.4 Define Customer Priorities: Voice of the Customer
- Phase 4.5 Process Description & Analysis
- Phase 4.6 Prioritize Opportunities
- Phase 4.7 Develop & Test Prototypes of Innovative Solutions: The “Could Be”
- Phase 4.8 Summarize the Compelling Case for Change
- Phase 4.9 Final Presentation of Finalized Action Plan