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Stu Charles | CIO at WCB Manitoba

WCB Manitoba won the province’s 2015 PMI Project of the Year for its “Optimal Project”. Video

StuCharles-Jul15Stu Charles, CIO and Alice Sayant, VP Strategy and Assessment Services (ASD) were co-executive sponsors on “Optimal”, a complete organizational transformation based on the needs of customers. Charles says, “As we worked on improving our customer service numbers, we identified opportunities for efficiencies across departments that worked to the benefit of customers and the organization. The Optimal team introduced a series of enhanced service options for employers and a new “state-of-the-art” application to manage employer accounts for WCB staff.

In managing a project of this magnitude, we faced the usual challenges: resistance to change; scope creep; the need for re-alignment and integration with all existing systems across the organization. We applied the business process re-engineering model and project management practices that we use for all our major projects.

What were the Secrets to Our Success?

Knowing what the customer wants/needs. We knew that our customers, the employers of Manitoba, were largely smaller enterprises:

  • They needed more service options and the ability to conduct business outside of regular business hours
  • They needed flexible payment methods
  • They needed payroll reporting processes tailored to their needs

The team came up with some great innovations in collaboration with the other stakeholders. In serving the customer better, we were also able to increase operational effectiveness and enhance customer satisfaction.

We had a clear vision and realistic expectations about the amount of change we were introducing to the organization. A phased approach allowed us to implement changes gradually, with collaboration at every step.

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. As my colleague, Alice Sayant says, “you can’t overdo the communication – to the project team, to the business, to the IT staff, to the executive and the board. We need to ensure that they’re informed of progress and feeling comfortable.”

Role Clarity and Accountability. We needed to be really clear about what the roles were for the project team and the various departments involved, and what their accountabilities were.

Celebrate Success. We celebrated success along the way and had a great party at project completion. Some of our staff members delayed their retirement – they were so engaged with the project – they wanted to see it through to the end.