This week I completed an EDRM project for a US company. This eight week engagement had me focusing on an EDRM roadmap for a complex environment. What stood out the most was a lack of governance which manifested itself as severe disconnects within the organization. Specifically, new organizations are comprised of people (generally new hires) from a variety of backgrounds and companies. Organizations such as these lack the cohesion that a strong culture brings and is almost in a state of chaos at times. As a result, its very difficult to execute within these sort of environments – for obvious reasons.

So what did I set out to do? Aside from the SOW goals of a roadmap (information architecture, data steward model and toolset recommendations), my goal was to help my sponsors be successful. After a few days onsite I realized they only way to accomplish this was an attempt to build some alignment through rigorous communication and awareness – play my cards face up as my colleague John once said. In cases such as these transparency is key to success. Why? Consultants are generally viewed one of two ways; as a threat or an ally. As a professional you have control over this perception through managing your client. Of course this skill set is developed over years of experience, I’ve witnessed many a consultant screw this up and get the boot! For me, the experience of being a customer drove this point home. Back in 95 I was a manager at a Hospital and for one of our projects had to contract a local integrator. I coached the integrator carefully so they would not screw up but you probably guessed it, they did. The so called senior consultant sent in a junior guy and when things didn’t go as planned the guy said, “we should have planned this”. My response was “ Your senior consultant did, why didn’t you coordinate with him?”. Did this win my trust? No. Did it instill confidence? No. Was this a life lesson in professionalism? Yes.

Getting back to my project, I invested about 25% of the time to alignment exercises by having informal follow up meetings over coffee, sharing meetings notes and early versions of my roadmap and trying to be as approachable as possible. The Baristas at Starbucks know me well, I’ve never drank so many lattes (No foam please). I started ordering my lattes this way after going to Australia and having Flat Whites…sorry I digress.

Did this pay off? That is the subject of another blog.