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A lot of Homework to be done… How to structure the first 100 days

In my last blog I was talking about the challenge to create a winning IT Strategy Approach. Today I would like to go a little bit in more details – so the question is how to best structure your first 100 days.

Overall approach

The overall approach should be for sure including an Expectations Phase for the first 4 weeks and then the detailed Analysis and Strategy Planning Phase running for 10 weeks. You should go always hand in hand with a real good project management as it is absolutely important to have someone keeping an eye on every milestone and every timeline which was set upfront. This person will be your shadow for the next 4 weeks, as they have to collect the input and adjust everything on the fly if necessary.

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In addition, the most important thing for your start is to prepare the first 4 weeks ideally before your first day: ask the existing team assistants and your project
management to schedule all important stakeholder meetings within these first 4 weeks of your endeavour as soon as possible.

Only if you can manage to meet and talk to every stakeholder in that first phase, you will be able to keep track on your overall 100 day plan.

Assess the findings

Now, after you talked to your key stakeholders and received their expectations and perceptions, value their input and follow up on your joint thoughts immediately: execute the SWOT Analysis according to the results and circle back with your internal team but also with your stakeholders. Assign the findings into operational and strategic topics. The operational work, directly hand over to your existing teams: they have to take care accordingly. But the strategic topics need to stay on your agenda.

Define and Align

But now, what to do with these strategic topics? Cluster them according to different Dimensions such as Strategic Direction, Governance, Quality, Processes incl. Lean, People & Organization. Share that framework and the findings out of the interviews with your leadership team and assign leaders and employees to your workstream. Use your organization and ask high potentials to join your strategy program: it is the best way to engage their potential and to assess future leaders.

In parallel, further evaluate the IT Effectiveness and Organizational Design as of today and document that As-Is Assessment in a way that it can be used on every level afterwards. This will be a critical milestone, as every argumentation chain and decision you might require will be built upon this assessment. Right away, think of guiding principles for your Organization and build up an Organizational Blueprint.

Developing the stakeholder relationship

While you and your team is working on defining the strategy based on the findings, use the good relationship you built up in the interview phase and always circle back to your stakeholders: ask, engage and collaborate with them continuously. This will help in getting support especially in times when unpopular decisions are required.

Final sign off

After 12 weeks, you should be done with the definition of your strategy, so that you can use the last 2 weeks for final reviews, consolidation of all relevant material and for the preparation of your final sign off. This ideally should happen in an Executive Steering Committee with your Board Members. While you can build upon a broad acceptance around you, this should be a walk through in the meeting. But don’t forget to secure the required investment for your

In my next blog, I will talk about stakeholder interviews and how to get the most out of 30 minutes.

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