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Facilitating Complex Projects

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• Collaborative Planning Processes • Facilitating Complex Projects

We facilitate complex projects

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Projects are people. After all the plans, designs, PowerPoint decks, schedules and project management tools, it’s up to people to make things work. The more complex the project, the more important it is for all of the people involved to be aligned to each other and to the objectives of the project. The greater the challenge, the greater the need for good ideas. And in complicated projects, the best ideas must emerge from cross-stakeholder collaboration.

We work with the project leadership team and project management specialists to design and facilitate the kind of collaboration that aligns and energizes all of the project’s players. We know how to use collaboration to create the best, most practical and most innovative ideas. And we have used our collaboration tools in hundreds of cases to accelerate the project timeline as well.

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Here’s a description of the kinds of projects we are best at:

  • They involve multiple stakeholders who often bring different agendas to the project and may not all report to a common leader.
  • There are no easy answers or obvious solutions.
  • They are potentially transformative in nature and require new thinking.
  • There are large stakes, yet there’s no possibility of looking back or retreating to a safer position. Failure is not an option.
  • They are often resource intensive and may have a duration of many months from initiation through implementation and closing.

How we work

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We provide an additional resource to your project leadership team that’s completely focused on the human element of collaboration. We augment your existing program management and project management capabilities during the initiation, planning/design, executing/monitoring and closing activities of the project. In particular, our clients often call on us to offer the following services:

  • Generating attention, focus and support during the initiation or kick-off stage.
  • Accelerating and increasing innovation during the design stage.
  • Generating alignment during the planning stage.
  • Providing an intensive, successful workout process for those inevitable challenges experienced during the execution stage to get things rapidly back on track

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Our processes encompass both face-to-face collaboration sessions and virtual collaboration exercises. We work with groups from a dozen to thousands in size. We can mobilize our teams and capabilities anywhere in the world in a few days.

What a Typical Project Looks Like

At several points during a project there arise specific needs for the project to be accelerated, for the people working on the project to be aligned into a better community or for innovation and problem solving in design and execution. A project is like a finite duration, ad-hoc enterprise. Because it is a one-time affair, a complex project can be accompanied by greater risks and uncertainty than more traditional, recurring operations. Therefore, it can be valuable to guide these project enterprises with a combination of project leadership, project management and project facilitation.

We work closely with the project leadership and project management team to find those opportunities to bring acceleration, innovation and alignment to the project when it is most needed. At each opportunity we rapidly develop the scope and objectives of the opportunity and design the intervention. Then we move to execution with the deployment of a combination of virtual tools and face-to-face facilitated workshops or labs. In this way we can include as many people as necessary across the world but also bring sharp focus to any smaller subset of the group that can benefit from intensive interaction.

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All along the way we carefully document the results of the intervention, working with the project management team to fit it into the project’s knowledge base so that none of the decisions or the thinking behind them is lost. At the end of the intervention we evaluate the results in terms of its effect on the project.

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