One frustrating thing with digital technology is that it’s always changing and evolving. The answers to your business challenges today are probably not going to be the answers ten years from now. Unfortunately, that means there is no final destination when it comes to digital transformation. That may feel uncomfortable, but the good news is that there are ways to measure progress and make sure you are on the right path.
Assess Where You Are
One of the most important steps in any digital transformation process is to take a snapshot of where your organization currently is in its IT maturity. This first step is critical because it gives you a baseline measurement and will allow you to see progress as you make your way to higher levels of maturity. Seeing how far you've come can be a positive affirmation on the days when it seems like you are standing still or not making progress at the speed you'd like.
Prioritize Your Goals
After assessing your current state and finding out where you need to focus attention, you need to prioritize your efforts. No organization can handle an enormous amount of change all at once. In fact, the odds are that some issues you identify in your assessment will go unaddressed for long periods of time simply because those issues don't have a critical impact on your core business. Not only is it fine to put off certain problems for a future day, it's absolutely necessary to do so. Your organization should focus its attention on achieving the goals that are either causing the most pain today or that lay the foundation for moving your business forward in the future.
After you've set your priorities, you should aim to organize your goals into individual projects and break down the larger and more complex projects into individual milestones. This type of organization is critical so you can see progress over time. There are many tools out there to keep track of your project portfolio. One simple method is to use a whiteboard with sticky notes to make a Kanban board. If you are like me, you'll find great satisfaction in the act of moving projects from the "not started" column to the "in progress" column and finally to the "complete" column.
Organize Your Goals into Projects and Milestones
Celebrate Your VictoriesWhen you are working to make any change, often one of the biggest challenges is to avoid burn out or fatigue. Inevitably, there will setbacks and your digital transformation progress won't always be linear. To maintain a sense of optimism and purpose, it's important to celebrate the incremental victories along the way. Develop some sort of celebration when you complete one project or milestone. The celebration can be as simple as sharing donuts or cake, or for bigger projects it can be a team outing or award ceremony. The important thing is to mark the occasion and take stock of what went well and document your lessons learned.
Hopefully you are feeling a little more positive about the uncertain future we are all facing. To transform your association, you will need to get comfortable with some ambiguity. Change will be the one thing we can all count on. That doesn't mean that you need to give up. You just need to get started on the path to your organization's new future.
Tom was a guest on DelCor's Reboot IT podcast, Episode 6: Defining Digital Transformation.
More Digital Transformation blogs from Tom Jelen: