Establishing a center of excellence (COE) holds the utmost importance for any organization venturing into automating business processes using the Pega Platform. A robust COE plays a pivotal role in providing effective leadership for establishing and enforcing best practices related to architecture, user experience, code reusability, training resources, project roadmaps, testing, and other standards. By facilitating the journey of complex projects from initiation to successful completion, a well-managed COE also enables continuous improvement of processes over time.
One of the most prevalent hurdles faced by enterprises is the establishment of a center of excellence when none currently exists. Knowing where to begin becomes challenging, especially considering the unique requirements and resource limitations of each organization. The COE comprises numerous crucial components, which can often be overwhelming, leading to a sense of paralysis when attempting to bring everything together simultaneously. That’s why, adopting a design thinking approach is a viable solution to initiate the COE effectively.
To kickstart your Center of Excellence (COE), the initial stage involves identifying a capable COE manager and assembling a group of leaders for each crucial domain. The COE manager holds the responsibility of establishing the COE and forming a leadership team that comprises individuals from both the business and technology realms. This inclusive approach guarantees that the solutions devised are tailored to meet the requirements of end users, ensuring their practicality, technical feasibility, and adherence to technical standards.
After establishing your team, it is crucial to collectively identify and address the major challenges faced by your organization. Avoid assuming that your leadership team is aware of all the challenges; this is rarely the case. To gain a comprehensive understanding, it is essential to engage with the individuals actively involved in the work.
As a team, create a comprehensive list of individuals representing various aspects of your organization’s scope. Aim to include at least two representatives from each area of your Center of Excellence (COE). While this list may be lengthy, typically ranging from 25 to 30 people, it allows for diverse perspectives on the most pressing challenges faced by your organization. The COE manager and a business analyst should conduct interviews with each representative, encouraging them to express their thoughts freely and without fear of repercussions. It is recommended to allocate 30 to 45 minutes per interview, ensuring that honest opinions about current successes and shortcomings are captured.
Once all the interviews have been conducted, consolidate the comments into a single document, grouping the issues into relevant categories. During this process, you will likely observe that certain categories have significantly more comments than others. These categories should be prioritized as they represent the issues that need to be addressed first.
To define the ‘Minimum Lovable Product’ (MLP) COE, the COE leadership should consider utilizing five to six of the key challenge categories. Setting these categories via the Pega platform serve as a foundation for identifying the essential components required to deliver value to project teams. By leveraging these categories, the goals of the MLP COE can be established.
During our COE vision workshops, we often encounter the following categories:
It’s important to note that the goals of the MLP COE may vary for each organization, depending on the experience and maturity of their project teams.
To ensure the successful completion of each goal, it is important to establish a comprehensive list of tasks.
A productive approach is to conduct a workshop involving the COE leadership team, where collaborative brainstorming will help identify the necessary actions. There are two options for this workshop: utilizing a digital workspace or employing a physical setup with large paper sheets representing each goal.
During the workshop, each participant can contribute by adding small sticky notes, representing tasks required to achieve each specific goal. Allocating approximately 30 minutes for each goal allows sufficient time for fruitful discussions. Once all the sticky notes are in place, the team can collectively review and deliberate upon each goal, ultimately determining the final list of tasks for each one.
Having gained an understanding of the goals and tasks involved in establishing your MLP COE, it is time to take action! Begin by developing a COE goals dashboard that enables you to monitor your progress. Delegate each task to the appropriate team member and provide them with a deadline. Additionally, set up a weekly cadence call for the COE leadership team, using the dashboard as a guide for the agenda. Feel free to set ambitious deadlines to ensure the swift establishment of your COE.
After completing this process, you will have your ‘Minimum Lovable Product’ Center of Excellence (COE). However, it’s essential to remember that this is just the minimum stage. It’s crucial to keep building and enhancing it until you achieve a mature COE. To achieve this, it is recommended to conduct COE workshop activities every four to six months. During these workshops, utilize the initial outcomes to establish a COE Roadmap and gather feedback from project team members on the MVP COE as well as any new challenges that may have emerged.
By consistently advancing and iterating, you will soon realize that you have successfully developed a mature COE.
Do you have a Center of Excellence, or are you currently in the process of establishing one? Speak to our experts for guidance.