Sometimes business is a beast. Sometimes you have too many things to manage at once. Sometimes there are not enough hands, eyes, or knowledge to do everything that needs to be done, making success harder to accomplish and pushing stress levels to the maximum. If you are tired of trying to keep all the plates spinning, it might be time to consider a Center of Excellence.
A Center of Excellence (COE) is a management assistance approach meant to drive a business or organization toward a unified and centralized method of operation and leadership. Too often, disparate voices and disparate directions can fracture a company’s goals, create overly complex processes, and block the pathway to success. A COE is a team of experts who can come into an organization, bringing with them their skills and know-how, taking a load off of project managers and project teams, and lead the charge toward improving, streamlining, and problem solving throughout the company.
A Center of Excellence (COE), and its successful execution, can provide businesses with the ability to:
- Centralize leadership. When an organization has several layers of leadership, or several different projects happening across multiple divisions or focus areas, it is easy to lose track of who is doing what, why, and how. Each person in a leadership role may have a unique approach to accomplishing their project mission, but when it comes time to communicate with each other, or for a project to shift ownership, if the leadership directions are not in synch or if mixed messages are being sent, the challenge becomes how to unify disjointed teams or a larger workforce. The COE can be the unifying force that brings the organization’s goals into focus and provides a common trajectory for all projects to arrive at the same destination.
- Define and implement best practices. The COE, with their combined knowledge and expertise, can bring with them best practices, identifying the primary needs of each company, and providing clearly defined processes and instructions to follow throughout project lifecycles and beyond. As a dedicated entity with the bandwidth to define best practices, that stress is removed from a project team. And with standardized implementation guidelines, guesswork is reduced (as is the trial-and-error process), leading to faster delivery and less confusion.
- Coordinate internal organizations. Business is busy. When a company is struggling with disconnected teams, however, the busy-ness is multiplied by that decentralization. The COE is the common connector between each internal team, keeping the lines of communication open and cooperative.
- Support projects and initiatives with proven solutions. At the outset of COE Team involvement, the first charge of business is to identify any bottlenecks, disconnects, or other fulcrums of failure that need to be addressed and rectified first. Company leaders and employees may be surveyed to identify what those “on the inside” may already know to be issues in need of addressing. A systematic lessons learned process will be established, as well as regular project audit procedures, in order to uncover more than overarching reports can provide. Once issues are identified and confirmed, the COE will begin to identify potential solutions.
- Research solutions to specific business challenges. No one can anticipate every problem that may arise, nor is it guaranteed that a single collective of experts have experienced the issues that a particular company or project may face. However, a COE with a wide breadth of experience will have the skills necessary to research, analyze, test, and apply solutions to any particular problem that may arise. Having the COE do this work means that companies can continue moving forward while the COE Team is working behind the scenes to find solutions, reducing downtime and maximizing capabilities.
- Provide training for particular focus areas. Since COE teams are comprised of people with in-depth knowledge across several fields of expertise, they may also serve as trainers who can disseminate experience, skills, and industry insights to the workforce. Not only does COE enable employers to enrich their staff’s skillsets, but it also fosters an attitude of constant improvement that each person receiving the training will embody and apply to their work. Additionally, the COE serves as Adoption Leaders, who introduce solutions to the workforce so that they may be applied and utilized as designed.
- Guidance of projects through the entire development cycle. Once the COE has established the guidelines for moving forward as a unified team, and once training has been completed, it is time to get down to work. A COE does not function only at a high-level, oversight position. It’s a “roll-up your sleeves and dig in” kind of operation that will bring objectivity to projects, interacting with individual project teams and the folks who know how to get the work done. The COE team members act as mentors and problem solvers, identifying process improvements, opportunities for reuse, and project solutions that can be applied across the projects.
ArchiTECH Solutions has developed a Pega COE Solution meant to guide new Pega clients toward establishing a new BPM practice, meshing this new practice with existing systems, and working toward success from the onset with its team of experts to show the way. Each of these seven aspects of work can tame the business beast by using BPM methodologies, proven solutions, and the wealth of knowledge provided by an experienced COE Team.
Let us be your plate spinners! Contact ArchiTECH Solutions for more information about the Pega COE Solution by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling us at (703) 972-9155. Check us out at PegaWORLD 2014, too.
Amy Barth is a Senior Business Analyst at ArchiTECH Solutions.