Project Journey Embassy: Foster the continuity of multidisciplinary collaboration in an IT consulting service towards problem-solving innovation

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The application of multidisciplinary collaboration has become a trend to prevent knowledge isolation obstructing business development (Schaubroeck, Tarczewski, & Theunissen, 2016), particularly in the IT industry as it pursue problem-solving innovation.

An IT service company is currently striving to transform into an IT innovation consultancy. Despite having a full-functional workforce and the Project Journey model, it is challenging for them to sell and conduct problem-solving projects to their clients. Not every employee from various disciplines is ready for multidisciplinary collaboration.

The project went through a variant Double Diamond process. The initial assignment was to mitigate the potential misunderstanding between different disciplines. After the generative design research to investigate the context and identify problems, the researcher concluded with a reframed problem as an essential need to have a continuous and concrete guideline for the company’s multidisciplinary way of working (WoW).

The conceptualization process commenced with two co-creation workshops involving frontline workers. Subsequently, the solution is refined based on the insights from previous research and feedback during the sessions. The researcher also drew inspiration from established literature, such as the classic RACI model for multidisciplinary project management and the organizational change management model Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA). The final solution comprises three components.

Firstly, as a multidisciplinary WoW framework, Project Journey Blueprint was outlined under seven factors in the service blueprint format. It is more concise, intuitive, and actionable than the classic RACI matrix, with an emphasis on value-based illustration. It reduces misunderstandings between different disciplines and fosters a more efficient and effective multidisciplinary collaboration.

Secondly, a co-creation toolkit called Project Journey Embassy was developed to facilitate the Project Journey guideline development with the aim of evoking ownership and mutual understanding. It includes a generative workshop within each discipline and an alignment workshop across all the disciplines, resulting in a consensus on the multidisciplinary WoW guideline. The guideline includes the ideal team configuration and a Minimum Viable Team (MVT) for future projects.

Last but not least, a three-stage implementation approach was introduced to bridge the guideline into practice. The process begins with the bottom-up co-creation, followed by a circular organizational-level PDCA, where the Project Journey Blueprint is executed and updated quarterly. The third stage employs project-level PDCA where insights will be reported to discipline ambassadors and discussed in organizational 'Check' moments. The ongoing cycle ensures a resilient continuity of the multidisciplinary WoW.

The three-fold solution provides a clear path to foster the transformation towards problem-solving innovation by enhancing multidisciplinary collaboration. It can apply to a broader scope, as there is a common structure and similar project flow across the entire IT industry.