Managing a Transformation Across Functions

Projects that have a goal of transforming some aspect of an organization need to be managed across various functional groups. Despite the importance of the transformation, inertia and competing priorities will require extra effort to move the project forward (since the transformation is often viewed as just another task on the list…). It is not enough to have an overall project plan; daily follow-up is often required to ensure next actions happen. This article shows how mind maps can be used to help connect the project plan with next actions from each of the functional groups.

Building the Mind Map

Start by creating a mind map that has the transformational goal on the left side and each involved functional group on the right:

ManagingFunctions_Goal

You’ll spend most of the time working with the nodes representing the functional groups, but it can be handy to have a reminder of the goals right in the mind map.

Next, add the immediate projects (i.e., tasks requiring multiple steps to complete) for each functional group:

ManagingFunctions_Projects

Use your overall project plan (typically a Gantt chart) to determine which current projects to include- there is no need to add projects that won’t start for the next few weeks. Remember that the point of the mind map is to link current projects in the overall plan to their next actions.

Once you have captured all the current projects (and perhaps relevant supporting tasks), add the next actions required for each of these:

ManagingFunctions_Tasks

Note that each next action starts with ‘*’ and has it’s owning functional group name after the ‘@’, following FreeMind|GTD conventions. Capture all the next actions for each group and then run FreeMind|GTD to generate the list of next actions sorted by functional group:

FunctionalNextActions

This table can form the basis for group reviews. In the above example, due date were not assigned, but would be in practice by adding ‘[<date due>]‘ to the next action text. You should also identify an owner for each next action within a functional group. Normally, this would come after the ‘@’, but since functional groups are using this already, simply add the owner’s name in parenthesis (don’t use square brackets which are reserved for due date).

Over the course of the overall transformational project, functional projects will dropped off the mind map as they are completed and new ones added as required. The mind map helps you to translate the timeline-driven Gantt chart plan into next actions that can be reviewed for follow-up.

Here is an example mind map. Give it a try!