Swift Teams

by Tom Reeder

We believe Swift-Teams exemplify the fusion of proven traditional change management and program management techniques enabled by emerging collaborative tools and methodologies, grounded in a “fail-fast-forward” philosophy.

As an engine for driving process and behavioral change into the organization, Swift-Teams provide short-interval deliverables, typically within three to four weeks. Each team’s work is sequenced with other on-going initiatives, and is managed via an integrated plan that lays out the scope and sequence of work/team modules.

The Swift-Teams are flexibly resourced from throughout the enterprise, supplemented as necessary with external experts, customers and partners. At the completion of each Swift-Team cycle precious resource assignments and individual projects may be efficiently adjusted. Team characteristics include:

  • Client led
  • Collaborative (ValueRoleSM supported)
  • Solutions driven
  • Visible and transparent
  • Iterative and adaptive

Swift-Teams are applicable to both leadership-driven strategic initiatives as well as smaller, tactical efforts with little or no leadership oversight. The corresponding level of project management and program management is matched to a combination of task complexity, resource investment, and the implications of a Swift-Team’s failure to achieve their business objective/outcome.

Many organizations have had success with traditional cross-functional teams (e.g. Natural Work Teams), but consistency of implementation falls as the scope and duration of the team’s charter grows. For example, resources appropriate for the beginning of the effort may not be right for subsequent activities, “insider/outsider” perceptions reduce ownership of the results, and the results-focus is weakened by time and changes. The principle change with Swift-Teams is to design the work-break-down structure work packages with whole digit multiples of scheduled Swift-Team cycles (e.g., 3 weeks), to allow defined integration-points/milestones for hand-offs and resource adjustment.

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