Often and surprisingly one of the “rewards” for success is problems emerging from seemingly nowhere. Sometimes these problems are flat-out nasty! They make it difficult to restore profitable growth. In fact, they can be so difficult they are called wicked problems because of their very nature:
- marbleized throughout your organization
- excessive overtime required to meet client needs
- missed end dates,
- cost- and time overruns
- resistant to root-cause analysis
- compartmentalized efforts to improve the situation in a given area of the company repeatedly fail
The list goes on-and-on.
The key to success in order to restore profitable growth is to get back on track with reproducible, sustainable, reliable methods. This can take some doing since your methods may not only be derailed they may, even under the best of circumstances, be sputtering and starting to fail.
To get back on track the key is to get focused and keep it through all the distractions, clouded thinking, frustrations, increased risks, and concerns about where things are going.
Once you get focused you can implement changes that “move the boundaries” and change the thinking to something more productive, bringing you and your team to a new state, a new paradigm. A paradigm that fits with and drives the profitable growth.
To Implement Changes you have to be organized. That organization is best expressed through a credible, realistic schedule. A schedule derived from sound project management whether it’s traditional waterfall approach or an agile method.
To be effective the schedule must drive to a clear, appropriate, well-defined goal. Consequently, the technical goals, test plans, and design need to be clearly defined.
All that technical specificity in the technical goals, test plans, and design need to be grounded in a comprehensive, all-inclusive project plan – the Project Scope of Work. This Project Scope of Work contains everything that needs to be completed in order to achieve the desired goals. This includes how the work will be integrated into the organization and any associated organizational changes. The Project Scope of Work is broken down into the work packages that need to be completed with these packages indicating who will perform the work.
The Project Scope of Work is driven by the functionality needed to achieve the goals in the Business Plan. This is where the User Acceptance Test (UAT) comes into play. This literally defines the inputs, actions, and outputs an end-user will experience when the system is running effectively. With a clear audit trail to the goals of the business plan the User Acceptance Test makes the intangibles in the Business Plan real.
The Business Requirements comprise the “reason-why” behind the UAT. The Business Requirements set the stage for the goals of the business case crossing over into the needed functionality.
In order to generate the Business Requirements a mini-project is needed. The goals in the business plan need to be put into action. To do that each function in the business must be properly represented and those representations must mesh with each other. This is why a mini-project is needed to flesh out the Business Requirements in a way that is clear and cohesive across the entire organization. This includes vendors and key stakeholders. This mini-project is based on a plan, the Requirements Work Plan (RWP).
The Requirements Work Plan has 2 main functions: an action plan to gather a balanced set of business requirements and a negotiation plan to bring about the balance needed among all the stakeholders.
Each stakeholder states what requirements and changes they are willing to make and believe are needed to achieve the goals in the business plan and trade-offs are made until a unified, balance set of Business Requirements are generated.
The Vision — the dreams and excitement associated with goals stated in the Business Plan — need to match the resources available.
Consequently, the Vision must have boundaries. This is where the Solution Scope of Work comes into play…so everyone knows the limits.
This work is combined into the Vision and Solution Scope of Work document. It is a clear narrative that describes both the vision and, in a general way, the functionality required that anyone in the given industry can understand without having detailed technical knowledge other than the performance required.
At the core of all the work described above is the major source document, the Business Plan. Among other things, it describes the future state of the company in terms of goals and associated functionality.