A Word from the President – 2018


I had the opportunity to spend some time during the holidays with my family and friends. During this time, I had the opportunity to reflect on different subjects that I want to tackle this year, most notably the future of contact centers.

For inspiration, I read an excellent book on entrepreneurship by Francois Lambert, À prendre ou à laisser. From his notable days as a leader on the popular T.V. show, Dans l’oeil du dragon, Mr. Lambert has always impressed me with his convictions, more so because he too started off in the contact center environment.

 

My Own Traditions

For the past 20 years, my husband and I share a unique supper where we have a year-in-review. We write down on a piece of paper what we want to accomplish for the upcoming year for our professional lives, as well as our personal and family goals.

For the past 20 years, we rediscover this famous little piece of paper. Sometimes, we find some surprises, both good and bad, towards our goals and objectives. Sometimes, we are forced to admit that our initial needs and desires have evolved or are no longer relevant one year later.

Year after year, this special supper is essential in permitting us to better prepare ourselves for the coming year, as well as to help us celebrate what we have accomplished over the previous twelve months.

This is our plan, sort of like our own personal business plan. Entrepreneurs and leaders know that without a business plan, it is difficult to accomplish anything.

For the first time in twenty years at the end of 2016, we forgot our traditional yearly retrospective and forecasting for our future.

I am convinced that this omission had a direct impact on the direction of the last year. I promised myself to never neglect this again.

 

Create your own business retrospective

 

Word of the President- Help - 300 x 350If being overworked led me to neglecting this strategic planning of my life, then what does this mean for businesses submerged in projects and operational issues?

Do business directors and managers create their own yearly retrospective before embarking on a new year?

Do they have a retrospective on their employees?

Do they plan their yearly objectives?

I know that every organization has a yearly budget plan, but what about a retrospective, a mea-culpa, or praise? Are we simply satisfied with respecting a budget or rather yearly accomplishments?

 

My observation on 2017

In 2017, we completed many projects for different organizations, from diagnostics, to implementation of recommendations, process and procedure revisions, accompaniment towards changes, as well as optimizing use of tools and analytics. It is evident that businesses want to change and get better at what they do!

None the less, it is rare to find anyone who does a retrospective once changes have been applied in order to analyze what was successful, and what wasn’t. Were changes really made? Do the famous “Return on Investments” actually return on investments?

In his book, François Lambert mentions that having a Plan B is counterproductive, if Plan A isn’t working. We create a Plan A because businesses must succeed. The more I think about this, the more I agree with this statement, and this doesn’t only apply to entrepreneurs.

Think about it, if each manager only had a Plan A, they would be obligated to revisit their plan, to share the positives and negatives, and to explain and share it all to upper management, to planners, to team leaders, as well as with the agents who are affected by those changes. Changing your plan to create a new Plan A shouldn’t be seen as a failure. On the contrary, it permits you to create a quick retrospective and allows you to modify the direction of the project in order to succeed.

A study conducted by PMI: Project Management Institute, as well as PlanZone.

In general, the failure rate for projects is high. The more complex and the bigger a project, the bigger the risk of failure. Sounds logical. Lude

Large projects have double the risks of being delivered late, to surpass budgets, or to not include essential functionalities compared to smaller projects.

A large project has 10 times the probability of complete failure, which means there is a potential of the project being canceled, or that it will not be used because it has surpassed the requirement to have such tools before it has been implemented.

  • 39% of all projects are completed (delivered on time, on budget and with all required features and functionality),
  • 43% are delivered but have problems (late, over budget and / or with missing features and functionalities),
  • 18% fail (either canceled before being completed or delivered but never used). [1] [2]

Only 64% of projects meet their objectives.

 

2018 – Take the time

My advice for this year, take the time. Take the time to plan things out. Take the time to prepare your Plan A, and start the year by creating your very own personal retrospective, including both what has been a success, and what has failed from the past year, and create a new Plan A for 2018.

Take the time to meet with your managers in order to share your plan, and most of all, take the time to meet with your agents and share your goals and make sure they understand the vision of your organization and the paths that have been taken up to now in order to share your new Plan A.

According to another study conducted by CHAOS [3], the top 10 reasons that projects fail are:

1- Changing priorities within the organization
2- Inadequate requirements gathering
3- Change in the objectives of the project
4- Unidentified risks or opportunities
5- Poor or lack of communication
6- Project objectives are vague
7- Bad cost estimations
8- Poor estimation of time per task
9- Dependence on resources
10- Improper Change Management

 

Is it possible in contact centers?

Many people have said this is easy to say, but not so easy to do when it comes to contact centers. So here is how we can accomplish this in 2018:

Within the contact center environment, we are submerged in calls, emails, chats, sales, and customer service is always a priority. Surely you think it’s utopian to take the time in this era of real-time management?

It is possible to get there, and it is twice as important to accomplish with the statistics mentioned above, because only 64% of projects are able to meet their objectives. That being said, only 36% of projects are not completed in contact centers, and this should not be permitted, because all projects, whether big or small, have a direct impact on your agents, and your customers.

Enjoy your retrospective and here’s to a successful Plan A,

 

Marie-Hélène Savard
President and founder of LOEM


 

SOURCES

 

[1] PMI’s Pulse of the profession study « Capturing the value of project management » 2015

[2] Planzone (2017) 28 statistiques sur la gestion de projet qui vont vous surprendre, https://www.planzone.fr/blog/statistiques-gestion-projet-surprenantes

[3] The Standish Group – CHAOS Research Report 2013