Alignment on the Digital Transformation Journey

By Suanne McGrath-Kelly @PlanInMotion

Alignment on the Digital Transformation Journey

Inspired by geese flying south this time of year, I looked at the lessons we can learn from their impressive migration patterns. When undertaking a digital strategy and transformation project, everyone must be aligned on project goals and apply structure to mobilize teams to reach these goals. Here are a few considerations:

  1. Know your Destination  – There is no doubt where the geese are headed and why they are going there

What is the purpose of the digital project?  Define the goals, metrics and outcomes you expect and make sure everyone is aware of it.  Clearly outline the benefits that will be achieved.

Many organizations get stuck on this step or skip it all together.  I suggest an alignment workshop to articulate the vision and set the team in the right direction; this includes Guiding Principles and Roadmap.

  1. Build an Effective Team Structure  – The v formation is efficient use of geese resources on the long journey

A team is more likely to trust a process that has a good plan and structure. The project is more likely to succeed when the team is aligned on the process.  Timelines are more likely to be met when the team is empowered to make decisions and committed to keeping momentum going.  Ensure the team members know what is expected of them and are equipped with the tools they need for successful execution.

An Operating Model is a key tool to communicate scope and structure. I suggest you establish a good first version during the initial workshop and allow flexibility to iterate as the project evolves.

  1. Share Responsibility  – The geese each have a role in the formation and rotate the lead

A cross-functional team with different skill sets and view points will represents the diverse interests of the organization during the digital transformation. Ensure the team knows the expertise of its members and assess the need to fill or develop roles where there is a skills gap. Allow for opportunities to share leadership in different phases to promote team accountability and shared responsibility.

A high-level Resourcing Plan that is aligned with Operating Model processes is a good place to start. The plan should identify key process areas being addressed, who will be representing the process on the team and how they will be measured.

  1. Provide Support  – The geese honk to encourage lead to maintain speed and help those that fall back

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Keeping the team together, managing differences, encouraging each other will benefit the project in the long run.  Ensure the procedures are in place to support decision making, manage conflict resolution, measure project success, and provide feedback.

When the other elements are in place, it is time to work out a Governance and Communication Plan. The first step is to identify the key stakeholders, their impact and influence, and how you will communicate with them throughout the project.

  1. Maintain Momentum  – When a goose goes out of formation, it quickly recovers and rejoins the group

When we understand the importance of the team moving forward together, we must provide supports to keep the project on track. This includes keeping a close eye on the barriers to manage risk and focusing on the enablers to encourage success.  Focus on teamwork and collaboration, deal with the concerns and keep the team energized by celebrating successes.

Identifying project barriers and enablers at the start of the project is a great way to get this process started. I suggest you celebrate wins along the journey with a Benefits Tracker and mitigate risk (or better yet avoid them), with a Risk Register.


It is important to start your project off in the right direction. Plan in Motion can help you with all of the activities listed above when embarking on digital strategy and transformation projects, such as ERP or HRIS. We can help you navigate that journey with group facilitation, program management, strategy and roadmap development.




Suanne McGrath-Kelly is President of Plan in Motion Inc. in Toronto. Her passion for problem solving and commitment to help clients achieve successful outcomes has made her a trusted executive advisor. She is a known thought leader and mentor in the business community with active involvement on boards and professional associations. She has published dozens of business technology blueprints and has presented at international conferences on the topics of Digital Transformation, C-suite Alignment, and Women in Technology. Beyond her love of all things strategy, she enjoys design, writing, cooking and the great outdoors.  Contact me at or via LinkedIn®

 *Image content adapted from site: Leadership Lessons from Geese Continue reading “Alignment on the Digital Transformation Journey”