Master Anaplanner/Community Boss

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Change can be very daunting, but we’re right in the middle of a growing digital revolution—so we must embrace change and create excitement about the future possibilities of our technology with the Anaplan platform!

Last year, I really focused on creating the best environment for success in the Anaplan projects I lead. To kick off the new year, I want to share some vital tips from my experiences on what a project manager and Anaplanner can do to ensure they will achieve success on their projects. Here are four tips to get you started:

1. Give your project a name that creates excitement and relates to the project goal(s).

A project name can really create excitement, purpose, and action to inspire an organization’s objectives. The name creates a vision and brand identity, which really creates excitement in the face of change. Instead of seeming intimidated by change, the change is embraced as a positive.

I’ve recently been leading a project named “Storm.” The team believed that after the project—which is the ‘storm’—there would be a much calmer environment in which planning would be less manic and more clear with greater process efficiency. Now everyone in the organization talks about project “Storm,” and they are excited about the future use cases which may be named after a series of types of storms, such as lightning or typhoon. They have even opted to name the current Anaplan model “Storm,” instead of “budgeting and forecasting” model.

Naming the project really created excitement and the right environment for the project. I recommend to anyone starting a new project to use this tip.

2. Encourage regular feedback.

Feedback is vital to the success of every project—not just giving feedback, but also creating the platform to allow others to share their views. Constructive feedback is vital in creating a successful environment, boosting productivity, boosting engagement, and achieving the best possible results.

For success in a project environment, there needs to be the right level of communication and interaction. Feedback positively influences a project team’s communication by empowering the project team to share their views and opinions openly.

Major benefits of providing open and honest feedback include:

  • Reduces the occurrence of major mistakes.
  • Supports relationship building.
  • Promotes personal and professional growth.
  • Guides team members to stay on track.
  • Creates a motivating and collaborative environment.

What I have really found useful in creating success in a project is enabling the project team to give feedback on a daily basis in stand-up meetings.

3. Motivate your project team by creating real responsibility and purpose.

In every sprint of an Anaplan project, there are critical workstreams. To encourage a sense of ownership, assign a project team member to manage each responsibility and delivery of a workstream. Team members are motivated when their responsibilities are meaningful, engaging their abilities and aligning with their values. Aligning with work that allows an employee to stretch their capabilities and develop new skills can be highly motivating to team members. Anaplan is still new and unfamiliar to many people, but those that are implementing are eager to learn and develop skills. Therefore, giving the right level of responsibility at the right time is crucial in motivating your team to create that real purpose.


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4. Support innovation.

Anaplan projects are designed to be flexible using an agile project management methodology, leaving room for—and encouraging—innovation. Innovation is fueled when individuals believe they are key members of the project, critical for overall success now and in the future. Let your team know that there are no limitations and project ownership applies to everyone. Support innovation by:          

  • Schedule time for brainstorming innovative solutions together.
  • Provide examples of where pushing boundaries has led to new solutions.
  • Support all ideas regardless of personal opinions.
  • Reward creativity with positive reinforcement.
  • Take action to help bring an innovative idea to life in your organization.

2020 is underway, and I hope you’ve found some useful tips here to ensure your own project success. What project naming convention is used in your organization, and how does it help achieve your goals? How do you encourage open feedback within your teams? How do you support a culture of innovation? Take a moment and share with the Community in the comments below!


Usman Zia, Senior Consultant at LionpointUsman Zia, Senior Consultant at LionpointUsman Zia is a Senior Consultant at Lionpoint in London. Lionpoint is a global consulting firm focused on delivering operational transformation and enabling technology solutions in the alternative investment industry. Usman is a Master Anaplanner and an Anaplan Community Boss. Usman has a wealth of cross-industry experience from rail economics, FP&A, workforce planning, fund management, and asset management. He is a specialist in asset management and has helped numerous asset managers design, develop and deliver asset budget, forecasting, and planning models.

Usman is a regular contributor to the Anaplan community. He holds a bachelor's degree in aerospace systems engineering from the University of Hertfordshire and an M.B.A from the Open University Business School. 

2 Comments
Community Boss

@usman.zia  - Love the idea of project Storm!

Certified Master Anaplanner

Nice article @usman.zia 

All very valid points.

The very first one, naming a project to create excitement with goals in mind brought back some memories and made me smile. Many, many moons ago I worked on a project branded with very generic and vague descriptions. They opted for an acronym and came up with "B.A.R.B.I.E.". It was constantly derided !