In helping you get focused, get on track, and get back to profitable growth this blog is part 10 of a 12 part series providing more detail supporting the Business Change Flow presented on my web site, Center for Managing Change.

The previous blog in this series talked about building a Bridge From Business Needs to Profitable Action With Business Requirements. Now, let’s turn our attention to 2 Key Steps Building A Requirements Work Plan To Implement Your Vision.

You and your team have your Vision Statement as to how to move the company towards more profitable growth. You’ve even added realistic boundaries at the strategic level to maintain a realistic focus. But now it’s time to take specific action and get buy-in at a detailed level from all of your team members and the functions they represent.

This leads to the creation of the Business Requirements Document (BRD) which lists the state and operations of all the business functions changes will bring about. This needs to be arrived at in a balanced, agreed-upon manner.

In order to create the BRD a mini-project plan is needed to go about gathering all the requirements. This mini-project plan is the Requirements Work Plan (RWP).

The RWP is the plan you will use to get agreement from your stakeholders at the detailed level as to all the business requirements that must be met for the desired change to be effective.

Here I’ll talk about 2 considerations needed to put together a credible RWP.

A successful RWP has two main functions:

  1. Action Plan. It comprises a list of all the actions that need to be taken in order to create the BRD, and;
  2. Negotiations Plan. The RWP addressed the political considerations necessary to achieve balanced trade-offs from all the key stakeholders.

These functions work in parallel because of the nature of the situation. They also will, in all likelihood, be run iteratively before the BRD is produced. Let’s look in greater detail.

Action Plan. As an action plan the RWP comprises all the work necessary for a thorough business analysis. This can have some challenges associated with it if current methods are rather informal and people learn-by-doing. An allowance has to be made for getting all the necessary information documented properly.

This can be compounded if your functional managers aren’t that fluent in each others principles and methods. (This behavior can be one of the main contributors to the challenges being experienced, i.e., the company is having a hard time expanding.)

Negotiation Plans. Another criteria associated with a good RWP is allowance for the behaviors mentioned above and the inevitable back-and-forth that occurs when looking at changes. This is where the people-and-politics component starts ramping up.

When speaking in a general sense people can buy in to the strategic statements. As you work on a detailed business analysis via the RWP tensions can start ramping up. You may hear statements such as:

“When I agreed to the new plan I wasn’t expecting to have to execute it with the same number of people.”

“In my department the methods we’ve been using since this company started have worked just fine.”

“Come back and talk with me after you’ve talked with everyone else and they’ve committed to the changes they need to make.”

The list goes on-and-on.

It gets especially touchy if you, as the leader, are going to have to distance yourself from some of the people with whom you’ve worked side-by-side for a long period of time in order to effect the needed changes.

In its own rite, when putting the RWP together, then, you have to consider all 3 components of the Business Triad – The business component, the project management involved, and the people and politics.

From the above you can see putting a solid Requirements Work Plan together requires the ability to juggle the different components involved to end up with a plan that is realistic and will, when implemented, provide a thorough business analysis that leads to a solid, agreed-upon Business Requirements Document.

The foundation for a credible, realistic Requirements Work Plan is a clear Vision and Solution Scope of Work. To learn more read the next blog in this series, 6 Criteria For Creating A Successful Vision and Solution Scope of Work.

Also, for more information regarding change management and how you can get your arms around it download my free e-book, Mindset – 5 Simple Ways To Look At Complex Problems.