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Strategic Project Management for Operational Excellence


Strategic Project Management for Operational Excellence ties the voice of the customer (VOC) and process performance to your strategic imperatives.  It enables you to (a) adopt a new paradigm suited to achieving breakthrough thinking, (b) select the right issues for project focus, (c) avoid scope creep, (d) engage, enlist, inspire and equip executive sponsors and team members, and (e) learn unconventional new tools to emulate award-winning organizations that have achieved significant results in these areas:

  • Alignment of strategic priorities with daily work practice
  • Competitiveness
  • Cultural change to support and advance core values and strategic objectives
  • Customer experience and satisfaction
  • Introduction of new technology
  • Employee engagement and collaboration
  • Innovation and design of products and services
  • Leadership
  • Performance measurement
  • Process simplicity, cost, and speed improvements of 80% (on average, or higher)
  • Voice of the customer: capture, analysis and deployment of priorities that WOW

The Need: Traditional PM vs. C3PM

Traditional project management methods work best when the decision on a remedy has already been made and the project team is formed to implement it.  Their task is to get the job done with least risk and resource utilization.  This approach is based on the assumption that the analysis necessary to arrive at the corrective decision was well-conceived, considered innovative alternatives, and the intended results will actually be what customers and other stakeholders actually want and rave about.  Sadly, history is full of figurative bridges built to nowhere.  Whether it was a New Coke fiasco or an IT application that caused users to pull out their hair, the remedy was flawed and did not adequately address the need. The effectiveness of the project team to implement the remedy was constrained by the remedy itself. To determine your readiness to achieve success, see if “yes” is your answer to at least the first four (4) questions in the C3 Project Tools Decision Tree.

We have found that the traditional approach is not so good when the symptoms of a problem (or opportunity) are known, but what are NOT known are:

  1. The real -often hidden- nature of the problem/opportunity and its causes
  2. What customers want most, especially in a knowledge-intensive context (for both internal and external customers)
  3. The best remedy for both the organization and for the relevant customers
  4. What evidence is needed to make a compelling, unimpeachable case for change
  5. How to “sell” the solution to decision-makers, using both objective & qualitative data
  6. How to measure impact and sustain implementation of the change

This is the situation most often faced by project teams set up to make significant improvements. Projects may be related to business growth, quality, customer satisfaction, innovation, process performance and new product/service design. Think of two cases where this is relevant:

  • The goal is to find out which healthcare customers could benefit the most from changes 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.
  • 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 (CSIs) who use the best methods and have the latest tools.

The customer-centered culture project management (C3PM) system works well for traditional projects, but it really shines with projects where stunning improvement is the goal and innovative thinking is desired. The required CSI-type discipline, tied to the psychology of how to win the case in court (meaning decision-makers), is embedded in what you learn in Strategic Project Management Training. The methodology for this workshop is based on the innovative customer-centered culture (C3) principles developed by Robin Lawton and first published in his best-selling book, Creating a Customer-Centered Culture: Leadership in Quality, Innovation and Speed  and greatly expanded upon with his fourth book, Mastering Excellence.


This intensive four days enlightens and equips the team, sustaining their initial passion and excitement with take-aways including the following:

  • A uniquely-well developed team charter, with clear purpose, measures of success, defined member roles and action plan which eliminates false starts
  • Strong team cohesion, shared purpose and strengthened communication skills
  • Immediate application by teams of over a dozen integrated C3 Excel-based tools
  • A coordinated method for organizing, communicating and managing the wealth of data the team collects, with optimum simplicity
  • Understanding how to integrate C3 practices with existing initiatives such as Baldrige, Lean, Six Sigma, ISO 9001, Open Innovation
  • The C3 Project Management tools, Suites 4-7.
  • Mastering Excellence (Special Edition)

Training for WOW! Results

The purpose of C3PM is to organize, train, equip, inspire and guide a C3 Project Team to success. Each team’s facilitator and members learn how to apply the Customer-Centered Culture (C3) principles, methods and tools to their specific issue of strategic importance.

The Strategic Project Management Training is like a mix of C3, Lean, Six Sigma and traditional Project Management training on steroids. It is especially relevant in widget-free, knowledge-intensive organizations. The innovative design and pre-work enables you to get about six days of content delivered in a highly compact but well-paced four (4) days. A shorter, customized version is available by request.

Optimum results are obtained by including your entire intact team. The very reasonable price is intended to make this powerful, innovative material the very best value available today, accessible to any organization wanting teams to immediately begin super-fast execution of high impact improvement projects. It is especially relevant for project teams working on strategic initiatives related to achieving:

  • Significant improvement in business growth, customer experience, innovation, quality, service delivery, and responsiveness
  • Rapid success with priorities identified in your Strategic Plan, Baldrige Criteria, new regulatory requirements, Joint Commission guidelines, ISO audits, market studies, and more.
  • Product and service design, innovation and Voice of the Customer projects

Strategic Project Management Training has been highly effective in creating customer-focused, enthused, well-organized and equipped teams that work rapidly to produce results they may not initially think possible. This is achieved by:

  • Training the entire team, not just the project facilitators (though facilitators only are welcome to attend). This eliminates the need for facilitators to re-teach material to their teams, eliminating wasted time, loss of knowledge during the retelling and maximizing buy-in and team cohesion.
  • Creating the C3 Project Charter by using special “word formulas” that enable teams to quickly and unambiguously define the current situation, focus the collection of appropriate data, avoid “scope creep” during the project, and guide the creation of a compelling recommendation and action plan to the Sponsor. This project charter is among the most effective available today.
  • Putting a bias on interests of the customers who should benefit from project results. A strong element running through this workshop is how to capture, analyze and use the powerful, rigorous, but easy to learn C3 Voice of the Customer methods. This theme is balanced with “producer interests” to cut costs and rework, shorten cycle times, increase work capacity and grow demand.
  • Providing tools specifically designed for knowledge-intensive internal organizations (including engineering, administration, IT, human resources, customer service, supply management, etc.) and entire enterprises in every industry of almost any size (including government, healthcare, education, and services). This is in stark contrast to the traditional improvement and PM tools that have remained largely unchanged for many decades, based on the presumption that manufactured widgets are still the core of the 21st century enterprise.
  • Emphasizing evidence-based design and innovation results that customers will observably experience.
  • Integrating the principles and methods with participants’ existing initiatives related to customer satisfaction, Six Sigma, ISO 9000, Baldrige criteria, Lean, Joint Commission on Healthcare guidelines, and innovative product/service design.

Organizations using C3PM Strategic Project Management practices and project teams typically get stunning results. Returns of 20-to-1 are not uncommon. Several organizations have won Baldrige and other national recognition as result of such projects and subsequent cultural change.


Day 1

  • Facilitator introduction presentations regarding pre-work
  • The C3 Project Charter purpose and structure
  • The 9 Criteria for unambiguous Current Situation Assumptions (CSAs)
  • Using “Word Formulas” to write your CSAs
  • C3 Map and project flow: connecting principles, tools, phases, Sponsor Plan
  • The 6 team communication and work management tools
  • How the C3, CSI (crime scene investigator) and scientific methods align
  • Using Keirsey results to establish “best fit” team roles & rules of engagement
  • Team assignments: team roles, ownership of key tools, CSA generation goals

Day 2

  • How to prioritize and describe the top 5 CSAs
  • Determine team member roles with Charter fulfillment
  • Data Management Tools: Data Sheet, Product-Roles Matrix, Product Flow,
  • Assumptions-Proof, Cause-Remedy & Exhibits Log
  • Start with the end in mind: Final Sponsor Presentation template
  • How to construct the collection and presentation of customer and objective data to make a compelling recommendation for action
  • Creating the Master Datasheet
  • Team assignments

Day 3

  • Differentiating the customer’s process from the business process
  • Assignment reports, reviews and guidance
  • How to achieve 80% reduction in cycle time
  • FACT Sheet: Fast mapping & measuring of information and activity flow
  • Focus Groups: preparation, execution, analysis, action
  • Conducting the real Focus Group like a pro
  • Team assignments

Day 4

  • Assignment review
  • Debriefing from Focus Group
  • Preparation for your first Focus Group: product, end-users, demographics
  • Connecting VOC to related C3 tools: Data Sheet, Product Design, Outcomes-Innovation Window, Alternative Matrices
  • Integrating Everything We Know (Charter, Master Data Sheet, Data Management Tools, Sponsor Presentation Template
  • The politics of selling change: Your final sponsor presentation template
  • Ensuring deployment of your Final Presentation: action plan, measures to sustain and celebrate success, reporting progress
  • Linking your project to business strategic objectives & existing initiatives
  • Preparing teams to be effective: room, rules, tools, agenda, Sponsor-Team contract
  • Running your team meetings
  • Next Steps/ Q&A