Internal Launch Series: Governance & Meeting Structure for Strategy Execution Management Software

Catalant Internal Launch Series

Governance & Meeting Structure for Company-Wide Strategy Execution Management Software

June 23, 2020
Preface

Picture this — you finally successfully navigated the labyrinth that is your company’s procurement process and purchased a brand new Strategy Execution Management software platform to help organize and manage your company’s most critical work. But acquiring this new system is only the first step in the process. You now need a robust implementation plan that will enable you to maximize the long-term value of your new system, an operating system for how your company executes its strategy.

That’s where our Customer Experience (CX) team comes in. Our CX team is your implementation partner to help you define and develop a plan that’s grounded in best practices, which is tailored to meet the needs and working norms of your business.

This post examines how we established the governance and meeting structure for using the Catalant Platform to power our own company-wide strategic plan execution. 

Co-written by

Sarah deSilva

Customer Experience Manager
Customer-Facing Program Manager

Cat Powell

Operations Business Partner
Internal Strategic PMO

In this series, Catalant’s internal program leads share our journey of deploying and using the Catalant core platform across our company to execute our strategic plan. Expect candid reflections, key learnings, helpful assets, and insights into the results generated from using our software and program design to execute our strategy and orchestrate work across a remote, distributed workforce.

A solid implementation plan, as our Customer Experience team knows, is imperative to any successful software deployment. That’s why I partnered with Sarah DeSilva, a CX Program Manager on our team, to ensure that Catalant was set up for a successful launch of our platform across our company.

Sarah, with oversight from Dan McNamara, our VP of CX, took me through the same process as our clients. Our implementation approach consisted of two forms of governance:

  1. Strategic Decision-Making: establishing the teams responsible for making strategic deployment decisions.
  2. Workstream Accountability: creating an accountability structure responsible for platform updates focused on workstreams. 

Let’s first review how tactical decisions were made and who within Catalant was responsible for making our program decisions.

Implementation Teams Governance Structure

Our program kicked off with three key meetings:

  1. the Executive Committee (sets the program’s goals) Kick-Off;
  2. the Steering Committee (strategizes how the goals will be achieved) Kick-Off; and
  3. the Working Team (executes on the program’s goals) Kick-Off.

Sarah and the CX team guided me to select the members of each team. We selected each team member because of his or her functional leadership and/or unique perspective, both of which are needed to cultivate and sustain a healthy program that surfaces and exceeds the needs of different functional and operational areas inside of Catalant.

The Executive Committee and Steering Committee were instrumental in making tactical decisions that included our launch and deployment timeline, orchestrating the tone and messaging of the platform launch, generating stakeholder buy-in and alignment, and setting the vision for how the platform can be best leveraged internally. Their role as key advisors called for  5-10% of their time prior to launch — and only 5% post-launch.

Our Working Team’s contributions leading up to our launch date cannot be understated. The team assessed the current state of the business, provided input and assisted in developing onboarding decks and drip campaigns, configured our product, onboarded end users, and generated company buy-in and adoption of the platform. Choosing the right Working Team members was key for our successful deployment. Thankfully, the CX team guided me to select the right individuals.

To my delight, once we got the platform up and running, we realized that we could consolidate and streamline our governance meetings. Since launching, we’ve shifted to monthly leadership meetings, which, as Catalant’s strategic program manager, I lead.

In these meetings, we use the platform to review program updates and visualize progress against our program’s goals. Our initiative owners update the leadership team on progress against company goals and milestones, and “Off Track” and “At Risk” projects. We then open up the (virtual) floor for conversation with our leadership team and initiative owners, which helps us to actively identify risks, intervene, and funnel our efforts and resources to prioritized pieces of work.

Data Hygiene Governance

Running a successful leadership team meeting requires understanding how work is progressing in real-time. In a completely remote work environment, getting real-time updates can be challenging; the concept of ad hoc meetings or “stopping by” someone’s desk for a quick update has virtually disappeared.

Prior to implementing our software, preparing for a leadership meeting was incredibly time-intensive. At a minimum, it looked something like this:

  1. Week 1: Meet with all project owners to understand how projects are progressing, as well as the obstacles and risks that projects owners are facing.
  2. Week 2: Consolidate the updates into a report for senior leadership that shows how our work is progressing, which areas are at risk, and issues that need to be escalated.
  3. Week 3: Meet with senior leaders to review and discuss progress and make decisions about escalated issues that require intervention.
  4. Week 4: Implement next steps actions from our senior leadership meeting. 
  5. Repeat.

Preparing for just one meeting could take a month of preparation, and by the time you have consolidated the materials for discussion, the statuses of various elements of the work have likely already changed. New risks or roadblocks may have emerged that would only be escalated by the next meeting, and by the time the issue is surfaced, it may be too late to act!

The key advantage of using our own platform to manage our strategy is the ability to get real-time, accurate information about our most critical strategic work. With our software, I — and our leadership team — now have real-time visibility into the updates and progress being made against projects. This means I no longer have to spend weeks up front collecting and synthesizing information. Our powerful in-platform reporting, supplemented with off-platform business intelligence dashboards, gives me a full view into ongoing work, and I can use these data points to surface powerful insights about the state of  business to bubble up to our senior leadership team, even if the change happens 5 minutes before an important meeting! 

Pat Petitti

Co-CEO & Co-Founder

Catalant Logo

Our platform is changing the nature of our conversations. Our leadership team can be proactive, instead of reactive, about addressing what we need to do to effectively execute Catalant’s strategy. We shifted from talking about what happened in the past month to quickly identifying current roadblocks and resourcing constraints that are getting in the way of hitting our targets. We now have a way to rapidly surface and mitigate those risks.

Obviously, the process occasionally comes with challenges.

As you may have already guessed, our platform reporting is only as accurate and timely as the data entered into it. Knowing this, we established and enforced rigor around how, when, and who is responsible for updating the platform. Again, this is where our CX team brings invaluable partnership to the table.

Our structure is continuing to evolve, but here’s its current state:

  • Mondays: Project Owners (for a friendly refresher, read our initial post) are responsible for updating critical project information. This generally takes 2 – 3 minutes per project.
  • Tuesdays / Wednesdays: We are piloting the concept of Initiative Champions (meaning platform power users), who use our reporting to ensure that all project information is up-to-date and to help bubble up trends of “At Risk” or “Off Track” projects . This generally takes 20 minutes of their time per week.
  • Thursday/ Friday: Our senior leadership team can log in, assured that all information across the company is up-to-date and accurate.

This layer of accountability and structure fosters an operating rhythm that results in up-to-date, accurate information, which is essential to making good decisions and maximizing the value of our platform.

That said, every organization is unique. The role of our CX team is to partner with you and your organization to help you develop data hygiene, governance, and accountability structures that are minimally disruptive to your organization but dramatically enhance how you currently get work done.

Next up in the series, we’ll explore how we approached company-wide onboarding across a remote distributed workforce.

Explore other posts in this blog series.

Read insights and best practices about strategy execution through remote work, company-wide onboarding, and using the Catalant Platform.

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