Action learning – helping to deliver new technology projects

The impact of new technology can have a huge effect on management and staff. Dealing with change, learning new ways of working and collaborating as a team are challenges felt at all levels.

The success of its implementation relies heavily on the co-operation of all involved, from management and leaders through to everyone involved in delivering the project on time.

Domino UK is a global technology company, relying heavily on the success of its projects to maintain its market share. We were approached when they were preparing to migrate a whole new technology platform for a customer. This migration had the potential to impact a wide range of its core products.

Project support through action learning sets

We had the opportunity to support team leaders of this project using action learning sets. Everyone on the project team with functional responsibility was invited to take part. The head of software supporting the new technology, the chemist leading ink development, head of diagnostics, mechanical engineers and so on.

These people were responsible for complex areas of work and had teams reporting to them to deliver the new technology within tight deadlines and in a range of global markets.

The project leaders came together to work in classic action learning sets on the issues and challenges they faced in delivering such an ambitious project in a competitive business environment.

Collaboration, co-operation, communication

The time and space given in the action learning sets allowed the participants to listen, to understand often complex problems, and to offer support to one another to help move the project forward. They took time to respond to open questions, to reflect on assumptions they were holding and gain new insights. Where there may have been barriers to integration, these were explored, solutions agreed and each participant went away with new actions.

As a result of the action learning sets, the project team worked together with a better understanding of the requirements of other functions and a clearer appreciation of the impact of their teams’ work on others. There were notable occasions when one participant identified a resource challenge and another team member was able to release some resource to respond.

While this project was being managed already using the classic PRINCE approach which kept stakeholders updated, identified red flags etc. the action learning element improved the project functioning and team communication at senior level. The project became more fluid and dynamic and there were less hold ups as departments worked in alignment with one another.

As the benefits of the action learning sets became clear, the leadership heads decided to carry on meeting to continue working together in this deeper and more significant way. They commented that this was preferable than the way they had worked previously and noted the different, more progressive project culture emerging – one of co-operation and ‘can do’.

Action learning – helping when the stakes are high

When there is no room for error, when large contracts and reputations are at stake, it pays to invest in a team culture of co-operation. Action learning helps to integrate teams so that they work together as one. It breaks down barriers of communication, enlightening participants on how their contribution to a project is part of a much bigger picture.

At Domino UK, results of action learning were evaluated. Strengthened relationships were reported, alongside increased ownership of tasks, improved communication and eradication of silo working.

For more details about our work with Domino UK and how action learning sets may help your teams, please get in touch, for a no obligation conversation.


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