Blog Innovation culture and frameworks.

Blog Innovation culture and frameworks.

How to make innovation happen: innovation culture and frameworks 

In today’s rapidly developing world, it is a must for organisations to embrace innovation. However, innovation is a subjective concept that can be challenging to comprehend and implement. Today, we outline some valuable tips on how to effectively incorporate innovation within your organisation. This can be achieved by fostering a culture of innovation and implementing innovation frameworks. 

 

1. What is an innovation culture  

When we talk about creating an innovation culture, we are talking about building an environment which supports innovative thinking and promotes creativity. An innovation culture is built around the belief that new ideas can come from any member of the team, not only from those on the top of the organisation’s hierarchy.   

 

In an innovation culture, team members are encouraged to question the norm, take risks, and learn from their experiences. Collaboration and open communication are two essential practices to create a successful innovation culture.  Three of the main pillars that support an innovation culture are:   

    • Sets goals and focusses on reaching them.  
    • Encourages learning.  
    • Understands the importance of taking risks and learning from failures.  

 

Figure 1 | Quote by Tony Robbins 

2. Benefits of having an innovation culture

 

Motivates employees and increases engagement:

Fostering an innovation culture empowers employees, boosting their satisfaction, productivity, and ultimately, increasing employee retention rates. When ideas are listened to and valued, employees are motivated to participate in the growth of the organisation. 

Strengthens the organisation’s community:

An innovation culture creates a sense of teamwork and engagement among employees, leading to a more cohesive workplace. When employees feel like valued members of a united team working towards a common goal, their engagement and commitment to their work grows, which consequently increases productivity too.  

Fosters adaptability:

An innovation culture promotes adaptability, allowing organisations to quickly respond to market changes and trends. By embracing experimentation, organisations are better prepared to adapt to uncertain times and change.  

Encourages continuous company growth and improvement:

Innovation not only encourages big organisational changes, but also small and continuous improvements. A culture of innovation fosters a progressive pursuit of improvement, motivating employees at all levels to generate and implement new ideas, no matter their size. 

Competitive advantage:

Companies with a strong innovation culture stand out from their competitors. They are better prepared to adapt to market changes, anticipate customer needs, and create disruptive solutions.

These are just a few of the many benefits that an innovation culture can bring to your organisation. In order to put it into practice and have the possibility to benefit from them, we have outlined several tips or steps that can be followed to motivate the transition to an innovation culture: 

3. Tips to create an innovation culture   

1. Embrace a culture of upskilling and encourage learning:

Upskilling involves developing employee capabilities and employability by providing the necessary knowledge, skills, and mindset to enhance job performance. To cultivate this culture, identify key skills, create training programs, and support employees in learning while fulfilling their regular duties.

2. Motivate open communication and collaboration:

To encourage employees to exchange ideas it’s fundamental to motivate an open communication between the whole team. By creating a safe environment, the organisation enables everyone to comfortably share new and innovative solutions. In this context, feedback is not only accepted but also embraced.  

3. Systematise the idea generation process:

In an organisation, new ideas play a crucial role in driving growth and should never be overlooked. Therefore, it is vital to establish a system that democratises the generation and management of new ideas, enabling their monitoring and rewarding innovation accordingly.  

4. Reward creativity and innovation:

Create a system that rewards innovative and creative thinking. It is important to publicly recognise those who have made contributions to the organisation’s innovation initiatives. This system will make employees feel valued and will motivate future ideas.  

5. Provide constructive feedback – celebrate and learn from failure:

Within the established safe environment, failures should be viewed as valuable learning opportunities rather than mistakes. Encourage employees to analyse them and apply the lessons learned to future projects.   

6. Establish a general mindset of curiosity and open-mindedness:

Encourage team members to question the norm and explore new ideas. An innovative culture needs to value experimentation and risk-taking

7. Leaders must be an example:

Employees will feel more motivated to think outside the box if they see their leaders doing the same. They must show a strong willingness to embrace change and actively drive innovation within their organisation. 

In addition to implementing an innovation culture in your organisation, it is necessary to approach every project from an innovation perspective. One way to systematise this process is through the use of innovation frameworks. 

4. Innovation frameworks  

An innovation framework is an organisation wide approach to drive innovation performance. It’s an organisation wide approach to drive innovation performance, a structure that creates a shared understanding of how innovation happens in your business. An innovation framework encourages staff to focus on the ideas that matter and helps organisations deliver faster by setting the who, where, what and how the organisation innovates.

Our way to develop innovation frameworks is based on four steps: 

  

    • Discover: Following discovery, in this step we deliver an Innovation Maturity Assessment, an Innovation Roadmap and an Innovation Change Strategy.   
    • Design & Build: We work with our clients to create a personalised solution that will take their business to the next level.    
    • Pilot: In this part, we focus on testing how the solution that has been tailored fits in the real world. To do so, we carry out innovation skills classroom training and team building exercises.  
    • Grow: We follow the organisation’s transition to make sure that changes are being effective and that the company is correctly adapting to this new innovative framework. 

What you will get with an innovation framework:   

    • Ideation: A common approach to spark, shape and evaluate ideas  
    • Execution: Match delivery effort to risk, aligned to organisational approaches  
    • Extension: Maximise investment using change, measurement, sharing and reflection  

These structures are fundamental to maximise investment, reduce time to implement ideas, reduce burnout and get better, more aligned initiative outcomes.   

 

Figure 2 | What is and how to implement an innovation framework

Consulcad helps innovation happen in your organisation through the help of our PMO professionals, best of breed PM Toolkits, and award-winning Project Portfolio Management (PPM) tools.  

If you need assistance with Innovation and Project Management, contact us.  

Blog the future of Project Management: 5 trends of 2023

Blog the future of Project Management: 5 trends of 2023

The future of Project Management: 5 trends of 2023. 

In a world that is constantly changing, it is crucial to embrace the new innovations and adjust to changes in order to assure long-term growth. Today, we introduce some of the most innovative trends that will shape (and are already shaping) the future of project management: 

1. Adoption of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation 

Artificial Intelligence will change the game of Project Management, and it already is. 85% of CEOs worldwide believe that AI will drastically impact their business, and 63% believe this change will be even more impactful than the advent of the internet. (Monday.com) 

The Institute of Project Management Ireland has already analysed this phenomenon by testing how helpful can Chat GPT be for project management. The research found that Chat GPT could be helpful with tasks like information gathering and research, task delegation and management, planning and strategy development, communication and collaboration, task assignment, etc.  

Many organisations have embraced the use of AI in project management to automate tasks that traditionally demand human effort. However, this impact goes beyond the automation of simple tasks, as AI also has proved to be a great tool for collecting valuable performance insights 

 

2. Increasing demand for advanced Project and Portfolio Management tools and automated data use 

Over time, projects have grown in complexity. That’s why it is essential to use the right Project and Portfolio Management tools to get the best results.  

A recent study found that only 35% of project managers were “somewhat or very satisfied” with the systems used in their organisation. What’s more, the study showed that only 1 in 4 organisations use any kind of project management software. Most of them remain stuck in traditional methods like Excel, paper or basic tools for data collection and organisation.   

As time goes by, these traditional approaches are no longer effective in managing today’s complex projects. There’s an increasing need to gather accurate data to apply key performance indicators (KPIs) and evaluate project outcomes precisely. 

Figure 1 | Use of PPM tools

That’s exactly what PPM tools allow you to do, they help you have a clear oversight of your project. They allow you to crowdsource ideas from employees and implement them in an effective way. With these tools you can increase revenue, reduce costs, engage employees, take control of resources, etc. In other words, with PPM tools you optimise results.   

Talk to us today to find out the best PPM solutions for your organisation.

3. Rise of remote working and flexible environments 

Today, remote working is the norm. The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us how to adapt to changes, and now we need to learn how to get the most out of these changes. 

We need to embrace the advantages remote work offers. It enables a flexible work-life balance, reduces costs by eliminating the necessity of a physical office, facilitates real-time collaboration through innovative tools, and enhances employee motivation, ultimately resulting in improved productivity.  

Project management tools play a crucial role in remote work, they make sure that all team members are aligned with the project’s objectives. These tools serve as a means of maintaining cohesion, transparency, and effective communication among the team. 

 

 

Figure 2 | Remote work frequency before and after Covid-19 (Via Statista)

4. Growing need for emotionally intelligent leaders 

Soft skills are in greater demand than ever. 

Some organisations look to recruit individuals who score higher emotional intelligence because of their ability to understand and empathise with others’ feelings and connect, leading to a more positive work environment. The demand for such profiles has grown significantly, as organisations understand the positive impact emotional intelligence can have on overall team dynamics and individual well-being. 

Remote work has also driven this trend. Now that communications don’t always take place face-to-face, it is essential to actively listen and show empathy to correctly understand each other, considering the personal circumstances and challenges of each employee. This encourages inclusivity, trust, and understanding within organisation, leading to an improved environment and productivity among remote teams. 

 

5. Incorporation of Hybrid Project Management approaches  

Since the pandemic, organisations are looking for better methodologies to successfully deliver projects. Nowadays we understand that not all projects have the same nature and cannot be approached in the same way. It’s no longer only about applying exclusively Agile, Waterfall, Scrum or other methodologies; but rather about combining specific attributes of each of them to enhance flexibility in the development of the project. This approach allows organisations to develop customised methodologies that align with the unique requirements of different industries and projects. 

 

For example, one popular hybrid approach involves combining Agile and Waterfall project management methodologies to address the project (Click here to learn more about these practices). Waterfall and Agile project management offer different approaches for different project types, and in some cases, they can be combined in a hybrid approach giving you access to the benefits each can deliver. 

A hybrid approach uses Waterfall to manage strategy, phases and upper-level decision, Agile is used to break of those phases into smaller delivery sprints. 

Figure 3 | Hybrid Agile-Waterfall PM

A hybrid approach provides stakeholders with the opportunity for involvement in responsive design and development activities and continued improvement feedback loops. The result being product is released faster and benefits realised earlier. 

If you need assistance with Innovation and Project Management, contact us.  

Blog Waterfall and Agile PM

Blog Waterfall and Agile PM

Agile, Waterfall and Agile-Waterfall Hybrid Project Management: Characteristics and tips for implementation. 

The two most used frameworks for project delivery are Waterfall and Agile Each has benefits, however, how you apply Waterfall or Agile will depend on the nature of the project and the requirements of your organisation. They can be used either independently or combined in a hybrid Agile-Waterfall project management model. 

Waterfall Project Management

The Waterfall project management methodology gets its name from the way phases and tasks are organised and managed, they resemble the linear flow of a waterfall. It follows a sequential process that moves from one project phase to the next.   

Waterfall PM is the traditional process of breaking down project activities into linear and sequential phases. Each new phase can only begin when the previous one has been completed. 

Typical Waterfall methodology includes phases, such as:

Analysis – Planning – Requirements – Design – Build – Test – Maintain   

Figure 1 | Phases of Waterfall Project Management

BENEFITS: 

  • Defining the project ensures that everyone is on the same page, it helps prevent delays and misunderstandings.  
  • Mapping out the phases of the project makes it easier for managers to set the resources needed and how they should be used.  
  • Estimating project costs helps managers identify over-budget activities and rectify before actions carried out.  
  • Monitoring and controlling allows to spot small problems before they turn into big ones.  
  • Following the closing processes ensures that all project-related activities are properly recorded. This record can also be very helpful for future projects.   
  • Applying the Waterfall project management guidelines eliminates the need to reinvent the wheel every time you begin a new project.  

 

Agile Project Management

Agile project management is an iterative and adaptive approach to delivering a project throughout its life cycle. In contrast to the Waterfall projects which generally follow a single major release, Agile follows a non-linear flexible process in which user feedback is incorporated in a multi-release approach.

 

It’s an iterative and adaptive approach to delivering benefits throughout the project rather than only at the end, which allows greater flexibility and considers users’ feedback. 

The typical steps that are constantly repeated in Agile project management are:

Evaluation – Analysis & DesignDevelopmentImplementation  

Figure 2 | Phases of Agile Project Management

BENEFITS: 

  • Faster problem detection and resolution.  
  • Greater flexibility and adaptability to changes  
  • Resources are used more efficiently and deployed faster.  
  • Enhanced team collaboration.  
  • Get access to product faster 

TIPS TO IMPLEMENT AN AGILE PROJECT MANAGEMENT MINDSE

Agile Project Management is fundamental nowadays to iterative solution delivery. One of the main problems organisations face when implementing Agile methodologies is that they forget that they need to be Agile before doing Agile. This means your leaders need an Agile mindset first before they can successfully drive adoption in your organisation.  To drive this transition to Agile Project Management, there are a series of actions that can be considered: 

  • Establish iterative development: break down big projects into smaller ones.   
  • Hold daily stand-ups: teamwork is the key to success, therefore meetings are too.  
  • Use Project Management tools: this will allow you to better structure work and improve team communication.   
  • Set communication guidelines: ensure that every member of the team speaks the same language in terms of tasks, goals, project standards, etc.   
  • Visualise workflows: this makes it easier to keep track of tasks and the overall status of the project.   
  • Limit work in progress: Agile PM aims for constant development, that’s why it breaks down tasks to be completed in shorter periods.   
  • Allow continuous feedback: to ensure enhancements or new features can be included early in development.  
  • Test-driven development: to reach the best solution, Agile PM is based on trial and error.   
  • Small releases: delivering functionality sooner and providing teams with a clear idea of how the final product is coming along.  

Agile-Waterfall Hybrid Project Management

As we have seen, Waterfall and Agile project management offer different approaches for different project types, in some cases they can be combined in a hybrid approach giving you access to the benefits each can deliver.  

A hybrid approach uses Waterfall to manage strategy, phases and upper-level decision, Agile is used to break of those phases into smaller delivery sprints. A hybrid approach provides stakeholders with the opportunity for involvement in responsive design and development activities and continued improvement feedback loops. The result being product is released faster and benefits realised earlier.  

The Agile approach is used at a delivery level, while the Waterfall is at the organisation level. Specific development phases use agile techniques to integrate user feedback and deliver benefits along the established waterfall stages.

 

Figure 3 | Agile-Waterfall Hybrid Project Management video explanatory

BENEFITS: 

  • Improves the ability to respond to feedback and changes in a timely manner.   
  • Allows for greater flexibility while following a secured established path.  
  • Improves predictability.  
  • Better team collaboration.  
  • Sets a general project schema.  

HOW TO IMPLEMENT AGILE-WATERFALL HYBRID PROJECT MANAGEMENT  

If Agile-Waterfall hybrid PM is the right methodology for your organisation, you need to consider your PM Framework, PPM tools and training requirements to support this. The general steps to follow include:

  • Design a scalable PM Framework that describes how an agile-waterfall project management will work in your organisation for your projects.  Define how it will be applied to different projects based on sizes, type and complexity.   
  • Standardise and automate with the help of a PPM tool. A good PPM tool will help your organisation follow a standard process and empower you project team to collaborate, be more efficient and deliver their tasks and projects with clarity.  
  • Provide training and support so your project teams can adopt the new way of working and work together with the same standards and processes.  
  • Launch your new PM Framework and Tools.
  • The final step… Celebrate!  Change is hard, take time to celebrate the wins and celebrate with your team. 

We understand it’s not easy to determine which is the best framework for your organisation, that’s why at Consulcad we work with our clients to design and build scalable project management frameworks to meet your unique requirements. Click here to get in touch!

Blog Innovation Management Maturity Model

Blog Innovation Management Maturity Model

Innovation Management Maturity Model: Guide to improving how your organisation manages innovation. 

Does innovation only happen on the fringes of your organisation? Do you feel that your organisation should be doing more inventing and less improving? Are fresh ideas struggling to be translated into action? 

Today, we’ll be introducing Consulcad’s Innovation Management Maturity Model. This framework helps to benchmark how well your organisation manages innovation, building a deeper understanding of where you are and where you want to be on your innovation journey. Our Model describes the tools, people and framework needed to reliably deliver outcomes.  

But first, it is important to understand the difference between innovation management and maturity: 

What is innovation management? 

Innovation can happen in organisations either through accident or design. While there’s always someone who will argue that you can’t force people to be innovative, the research shows that a company-wide approach drives innovation performance.  

Designing how your organisation innovates, also known as innovation management, focuses on having a fit for purpose approach to how you plan, organise, monitor and control invention and improvement activities. Innovation management has three key building blocks – tools, people and frameworks – that are made to stick through effective organisational change. Getting it right is important as it enables your organisation to stay relevant, engage employees meaningfully and deliver better products and services. 

Figure 1 | Great ideas need an innovation culture to stick 
Figure 2 | How we bring innovation management to life 

What is innovation management maturity?

For most organisations, innovation happens through a mix of accident and design. There isn’t a straight path from ‘command and control’ ways of working formed over several decades to the ‘inclusive and iterative’ approaches that today’s biggest challenges demand. To make this path easier, Consulcad has designed an Innovation Management Maturity Model. Capability maturity models are a well-established benchmark for comparison – a way to understand where your organisation is, where it wants to be and how it might get there.  

The first capability maturity model was developed using research conducted by the US Department of Defence during the 1980s and has since been adapted to a number of different other industries and challenges. Our model, informed by comprehensive research and experience solving innovation challenges, provides a structured set of maturity levels that describes the people, processes and tools needed to reliably deliver outcomes. The higher the maturity, the more consistently you organisation can deliver outcomes 

 

Figure 3 | Consulcad’s innovation management maturity levels

Why does innovation management maturity matter?

Understanding your organisation’s maturity isn’t just an academic exercise in benchmarking. There are many benefits to knowing how you stack up. The top three are to:  

  1. Support the case for investment: Maturity models show the benefits that are unlocked at each leap of the maturity journey. Buy-in is built through meaningful conversations that are sparked by the innovation management maturity review process, whether that be one-on-one interviews or review of the findings.  
  2. Provide confidence that you are headed in the right direction: Maturity assessments help to chart a course for how you will get from where you are to where you want to be. It creates a shared understanding of the pace of change, which smooths the way for making decisions about people, structures, approaches and technology.  
  3. Measure success: Maturity scores can be used to set baselines and targets for individual and team key performance indicators. For those that are competitive at heart, having a score that needs to be improved is a great motivated. 

 

How do I do an innovation management maturity assessment?

To create an innovation management maturity assessment there are three main steps to follow: how it is designed and how it is completed.  

STEP 1: Design the assessment

There’s three main variables that need to be defined in the designing process:  

  • Area of focus: Assessments can be focused at a team, department or organisation level. It’s common for different areas of an organisation to be at different maturity levels. 
  • Resources: Assessments can either be completed by someone within your organisation as a self-assessment or by an independent third-party (hint: Consulcad does independent assessments!). 
  • Identify your maturity assessment tool: you are welcome to use ours – it’s based on the CMMI standard. 

STEP 2: Complete the assessment

Assessments are most accurate when they review published documents and interview key people in your organisation. Our approach is to:  

  1. Understand where you are today. 
  2. Understand where you want to be in the future. 
  3. Calculate your maturity score using our Innovation Management Maturity Assessment Tool. 
  4. Identify actionable steps to get from where you are and where you want be. 
  5. Share insights and seek buy-in for change. 

STEP 3: Translate an assessment into action

The value of an assessment relies on its translation into what it means for your organisation. Talk to us today about how we can help make innovation mainstream in your organisation with the right mix of innovation tools, people and framework. We make it real. 

Blog Scrum: What is it and how to implement it

Blog Scrum: What is it and how to implement it

Scrum: What is it and how to implement it

What is Scrum?

Today, we introduce the term Scrum, a popular agile methodology designed to guide teams in the iterative and progressive delivery of a project.  

Scrum is basically a method of getting work done in small pieces at a time (called Sprints). The project goes through feedback loops along the way that allow continuous improvement as you go. As an agile framework, Scrum provides just enough structure for people and teams to integrate into how they work, while also incorporating the right practices to optimise their performance.

The Scrum framework was first introduced in the 1990s by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber as a way for managing complex projects. The name of this methodology comes from a technique used in rugby. In this sport, scrum refers to when the team works together to move the ball forward, which in the context of project management would be to move the project forward.  

Scrum is an empirical method where choices are derived through experience, experimentation, and observation. Scrum is built on three main pillars: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. The main principle that connects all these elements together is Trust. A Scrum Team that lacks trust will probably experience conflict and delays in completing tasks. All Scrum Teams need to also work following the Scrum Values of Courage, Focus, Commitment, Respect and Openness. 

The Scrum framework consists of three main elements: the Scrum roles, events and artifacts.  

The Scrum Roles 

For Scrum to work, a series of roles and tasks must be assigned to the people working on the project. The team is made of: 

    • Product Owner: the person who makes sure that the Scrum Team is creating the most valuable product they can offer. 
    • Scrum Master: the person who uses their knowledge of Scrum to help the team and organisation be as effective as they can. They do so by taking approaches like coaching, teaching, facilitating and mentoring. 
    • Developers: the people on the Scrum Team who work together to create the product.

The Scrum Team takes part in five events and produces three artifacts. 

 

The Scrum Events

Scrum is designed to be flexible and adaptable, allowing teams to adjust their approach as needed throughout the project. This flexibility is achieved by using short, iterative work cycles called Sprints

    1. Sprint: short cycles that last less than a month where all the other Scrum events take place. During each Sprint, the team works to complete a set of tasks that have been identified. At the end of the Sprint, the team reviews their progress and adapts their approach as needed for the next Sprint. 
    2. Sprint Planning: event that happens at the beginning of each Sprint where the team collaboratively plans the work that will be delivered along the cycle.  
    3. Daily Scrum: An every-day short meeting where the team synchronises their work and inspect the progress towards the goal, readapting the work If necessary.  
    4. Sprint Review: event that takes place at the end of the Sprint, it’s where the team reviews the work they completed during the Sprint with the stakeholders and work on the adjustments needed. 
    5. Sprint Retrospective: meeting held at the end of the review where the team reflects on their performance during the Sprint and identifies ways to improve. 

In summary, Scrum events are a set of brief meetings that help the team plan, synchronize their work, review their progress, and continuously improve towards the project goals. One of the key benefits of Scrum is its focus on collaboration and communication. By working together in short, focused Sprints, teams are able to stay aligned and make rapid progress towards their objectives. 

 

The Scrum Artifacts

In Scrum, there are three main artifacts that help to ensure transparency, inspection, and adaptation throughout the project

    • Product Backlog (Product Goal): it’s a list of tasks ordered by priority that the development team will work on. It’s managed by the Product Owner who ensures the tasks align with the product vision and provide value to the customer. The Product Backlog outlines whatever is needed to improve the product.  
    • Sprint Backlog (Sprint Goal): it’s a part of the Product Backlog that the development team aims to complete during the current sprint. It’s created during the Sprint Planning meeting and can be updated as the team progresses through the sprint.
    • Increment (Definition of Done): It’s the combined result of all the product backlog items completed during a sprint. It represents a working version of the product that can be shipped and improved with every sprint. It’s evaluated during the Sprint Review meeting to measure progress and plan the next sprint. 

 

Agile Project Management vs Scrum

As we’ve mentioned, Scrum is an agile methodology, but these two frameworks are not interchangeable. 

The main difference between the two methodologies is that, while Scrum is a framework for successfully managing project work, Agile is a philosophy. For an organisation to become Agile, the whole team must change its delivery dynamics. However, the Scrum framework can be used for specific projects and as a way of initiating the transition to an overall agile philosophy.   

They both share similar methods, but they are built differently. While Scrum is divided into small rigid cycles, Agile is rather a more flexible approach in which phases are not so strictly defined. To understand it better: Scrum is always Agile, but Agile is not always Scrum. This means that Scrum is always based on an Agile philosophy of Evaluation – Analysis & Design – Development – Implementation; but Agile may not share the specific same patterns as the Scrum framework. 

 

How to implement Scrum into your team

Scrum is a powerful framework for agile project management that has been embraced by organizations around the world. By focusing on transparency, inspection, and adaptation, Scrum enables teams to work together more effectively and efficiently, while providing a framework for continuous improvement. Whether you are new to agile project management or a professional, Scrum is definitely worth exploring. 

We understand that implementing a Scrum methodology is not the easiest thing to do, that’s why we help our clients make this change in the most subtle and simple way possible. That way their project performance will be enhanced without causing a disruptive shift within the organisation 

If you need help with Project Management and Innovation, simply click here and we’ll happily get in touch with you!