Running Your Business Like A Restaurant
Early in my career at Kenway, I learned that we break our business offerings down into three main capabilities that bring focus to our various practice areas. As I began familiarizing myself with each, our Enterprise Program Leadership capability struck me as especially interesting.
I asked my project lead to give me a simple, day-to-day analogy to help translate the business terms into something easier to digest. What I learned is that the approach we take at Kenway can be compared to running a restaurant.
From the creation of the recipes and menu to the final sensorial experience diners encounter, the process of running a restaurant – much like Kenway’s approach to transformational initiatives – involves many strategic steps and coordination across people and technology:
- The menu is created using a variety of recipes that provide a set of rules and requirements.
- The executive chef and expeditors ensure everyone involved is aligned on the desired eating experience.
- Each chef or cooking team is in charge of a specific menu item or plate.
- Waiters communicate to customers about what they are eating and how to best mix various things on the plate to ensure that the experience is pleasant.
Let’s dig in…
Menu and Recipes
Like a menu in a restaurant, an IT Governance model is the first thing an organization should have in place when considering projects or programs.
IT Governance is the starting point that defines the decision rights within the organization as well as accountability frameworks. Our IT Governance model defines the processes necessary to align on prioritizing initiatives, and the approvals necessary to move ideas from vision to tangible reality. IT Governance also includes transparency around the progress of efforts to ensure all voices are heard, and validates that milestones are being met.
And just as a menu is created from many recipes, an organizational IT Governance model must also be multi-faceted and scalable to support initiatives of all sizes and projected impacts. Bringing all the ingredients together and agreeing on the steps needed through the process is a critical aspect to providing consistency across all facets of the menu. All of this drives activities to happen at the appropriate time and align to budget, as IT Governance enables an organization’s effective and efficient use of IT investments to achieve its goals.
Executive Chefs and Expeditors
Similar to a Project Plan or a Program Plan, a menu begins with a goal and a vision.
The visionary recognizes the need to bring others on board to align and believe in that vision, and generates momentum toward realizing it. There are many drivers fueling the need for change including, but not limited to, profit, process optimization and enabling adaptability/flexibility. But, regardless of the driver, the single most common thread is a person or group of people with a vision, the innate ability to generate enthusiasm around that vision, and the dedication to drive the vision to a reality.
Executive chefs and expeditors are in charge of the early stages of menu planning when momentum requires discussing the overall objectives and requirements, reviewing potential designs, and understanding how to implement a collaborative environment where ideas can be discussed, challenged and reviewed. Similarly, a Project Management Office (PMO) framework helps companies keep track of requirements, changes required, risks to achieving the goal, and major decisions, while also helping to monitor and support progress for each of the individual projects.
Kenway’s PMO Enablement service helps to define and manage the key processes and procedures required to enable and deliver core programs for our clients in an effective and transparent manner. PMO Enablement aligns the overall strategy and objectives of the organization, as executive chefs and expeditors would do for a menu when preparing it.
Chef or Cooking Teams
Every restaurant has different chefs or cooking teams in charge of multiple recipes during a meal service. These teams always need to ensure that the recipe meets the menu (IT Strategy) and executive chef requirements (PMO), while managing all the challenges, changes and risks that may come from their own teams as they progress towards the final delivery.
Throughout the meal service and preparation of the menu, changes to the process may take place. Changes in a restaurant can result from running out of an ingredient, burning something, or missing one of the steps from the recipe. Similarly, changes often happen in projects as requirements are refined, solutions are designed and challenges are identified, or execution runs into blockers that need to be mitigated. Identifying these changes, working through them, understanding the impact to the overall project, and mitigating any risks which may result are critical to managing a project. Such flexibility includes having in place the right processes and procedures for tracking changes, and ensuring the appropriate communication model is in place to keep the correct parties informed.
Kenway’s Program Management & Delivery function helps our clients to orchestrate large, multi-project initiatives through integrated tools and methodology by aligning delivery approaches across projects and workstreams. Program Management & Delivery provides synergy and transparency across projects, promoting early issue identification and mitigation through swift and effective management and communication. In a restaurant, any risk of failure on the whole process and menu will be raised by chefs, just as the Program Management & Delivery lead will help identify those risks and tackle them before the program suffers.
Cooking a large menu is indeed a huge feat to be proud of, but represents only the first steps. Ensuring that customers enjoy and understand what goes into the actual plate is also a challenge. Are the right processes and procedures in place to facilitate the understanding and experience for customers, and to allow them the flexibility to make an experience their own? Waiters are in charge of this in a restaurant, and it is their job to make sure proper communication takes place from the start so that customers’ expectations are met.
Kenway’s Change Management service is predicated on our early engagement so we can understand end user expectations, incorporate feedback early in the process, and enable a smooth transition to a new way of doing things. Understanding who will be impacted by the change, how the change will impact them, what blockers exist for user adoption, and what new skills they may need to make the new process or procedure a part of their daily operations is critical. Once all of this is clearly understood, trainings and communications can be built to get users engaged from the start to understand their expectations, identify gaps, and mitigate any risks accordingly. Setting the right expectations in advance is key to driving adoption.
The next time you find yourself in a restaurant, take a look around. Note that everything you see required careful planning, precision and execution to get completed. The right people, at the right time with the right skills.
At Kenway, we understand that bringing together a team to meet the objectives – and doing so within a certain budget and timeline – takes the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, and for the right duration. Our Enterprise Program Leadership capability helps enable business transformations through IT Governance, PMO Enablement, Program Management & Delivery, and Change Management expertise, while also providing a scalable and flexible model that allows organizations to deliver and deploy changes across the enterprise.