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Think Of Successful Project Delivery As A Symphony

Aaron P. Mikulsky, SVP–Business Transformation & Operational Excellence, Employers Insurance

Aaron P. Mikulsky, SVP–Business Transformation & Operational Excellence, Employers Insurance

Within the last year, Employers Insurance has begun implementing our Continuous Delivery Model (CDM) and Business Enablement House (BEH), which supports the execution of our strategies, establishes the foundational platform to enable success, and aids us in completing Key Strategic Initiatives more effectively. The goal of our Continuous Delivery Model is to make our product and system development processes as efficient and repeatable as possible. The goal of the Business Enablement House is to improve collaboration and communication from the executive team to the business, the IT development teams, and the data and analytics group


Whereas our executive leaders and Strategic Councils establish our vision and our roadmap, the BEH clarifies who is involved with the execution of our initiatives and their respective roles and responsibilities. We also have created a continuous learning forum for these individuals – both Process and Product Owners - to increase their effectiveness and success.

The CDM entails four phases and displays an end-to-end depiction of how and when we deliver our work products:

The Inception phase identifies and prioritizes projects that will help deliver on the company’s multi-year strategic roadmap. Projects are selected to provide maximum value to the organization and our customers. Inception begins with a Project Concept Proposal and ends with the Executive Leadership team(EPMO) prioritizing Key Strategic initiatives.

Discovery is the phase in which detailed analysis takes place around a project’s feasibility and impact. The Project Management Office (PMO) is tasked with demand management activities, including submission of the budget to the planning office, while the Operational Excellence team drives the Blueprint process. The phase concludes with a Go/No Go decision from the EPMO to determine the future of the project’s activities.

Delivery is when the actual project development occurs. The project management tollgates are built into this phase, change management activities begin to ramp up, and the finalized CostBenefit Analysis (CBA) is created. This phase ends with the Golive of the project and transitionary tasks to Sustain.

Sustain emphasizes post Go-live activities, monitoring project success metrics, performing an after-action review on the project, creation of a lookback CBA, and continued grooming of backlog for future improvements needed to drive continuous improvement within the project. Embedded within this journey is understanding customer needs, change impacts and management of such, and risk and legal evaluation. The CDM articulates engagement points along the process to ensure each project team does not overlook any critical matters, asks better questions, and engages the right people earlier, thus reducing risk and possible re-work. It is a balance between delivering a quality end product and speed-to-market. We’ve worked hard to create just enough discipline and rigor without being too bureaucratic. Like a fine orchestra, all components (instruments) must be in synch and finely coordinated. Although we are early in our maturation, we have already experienced much success. And, as we progress and focus on continual improvement, we will only get better and more innovative.

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