Our Thinking

Where is Your Organization Going and How Will it Get There?

Posted by Paul Blackburn on Mar 12, 2013 2:22:50 PM

Management today frequently ask themselves these questions:

  • Are the multiple projects we have underway really aligned to helping me achieve my strategic goals? What projects should I accelerate? What should I slow down or stop?
  • We seem to have so many related projects that compete for the same resources. What should I focus on? Where’s my optimal path to value?
  • I need to trim my discretionary project expenses. How do I cut costs without cutting my throat?
  • I need to simply articulate our business strategy and get everyone “on the same page.” How can I do this quickly?

Outcome Based Roadmaps

Senior executives and senior program managers need to be engaged to address these concerns and answer these questions. An outcome-based roadmap of your business or program area can be developed through strategic conversations, typically over a two- to three-week period. This roadmap would show where you are going (e.g. outcomes,) what you need to do to get there (e.g. contributing initiatives) and most importantly, what risks you face in successfully achieving your business objectives. It accomplishes this via a simple visual that can be used to track and report progress, sustain strategic focus or take corrective action. It is your roadmap to help you navigate in these uncertain times.

The Outcome Roadmap is a time-proven modeling technique that distills the essence of an organization’s strategy and puts it on a single page. This technique captures the outcome logic for an organization’s strategy and/or change program. It starts by focusing on what the program or strategy has to achieve (outcomes). It then uses the notion of contributions to link the work done (referred to as initiatives) to those strategic outcomes. Strategy and/or business change programs typically involve a complex set of interactions amongst intermediate and end outcomes. The Outcome Roadmap captures these interactions and surfaces the full scope of work needed to bring those outcomes about – what we refer to as “BTOPP” – i.e. Business, Technology, Organization, People/Stakeholder and Process work. We capture this understanding in a roadmap.

Online typically uses structured interviews and two or three workshops to develop the roadmap for clients. Once complete they have a graphic visualization that helps all of their stakeholders form a common understanding of all required initiatives for a successful change.

It also fosters consensus amongst the stakeholder groups by surfacing differences in understanding and/or assumptions related to the strategy and its subsequent implementation. All too often strategy is fuzzy and/or one dimensional (e.g. if we do this, then this happens…when in reality there may be many inter-dependencies). This technique fosters a much tighter linkage between outcomes and all the associated initiatives required to deliver business results from strategic investments. It also recognizes that implementing an IT system (for example) is quite different than actually getting stakeholder adoption and benefits from the deployed technology and IT investment.

Benefits Register

The Benefits Register is part of the benefits plan for achieving the outcomes of a business change program. Building on the key outcomes from the Outcome Roadmap, it contains the metrics (units of measurement) and targets (specific values over time) to be used to track achievement of those outcomes. It also captures who is accountable for achieving outcome values during the program. The register can also include how the outcome target data is to be obtained, on what frequency it is to be reported and for how long, and the tolerances for achievement outside of which remedial action should be triggered. The Benefits Register timing and targets must be integrated with the program initiatives plan to ensure that the right work is being done at the right time to achieve the desired outcomes. It is the Benefits Register that drives measurement and accountability for the results of a program and which can be used to answer the critical question: “Have we achieved success for the Program – and how do we really know?”

These are two components needed to fully describe an organization’s strategy and/or business change programs.

Managing Benefits and Change Concurrently

These two components are used across the program lifecycle and get updated as the program advances. The point being, organizations need to have line of sight to the benefits and change from the earliest point in a program. Experience has shown that benefits are rarely realized unless there is well understood and accepted change. Change cannot be sustained unless there are accompanying benefits. Benefits and change, therefore, need to be managed concurrently.

The Approach

Companies are under extreme pressure to make the most from their business change investments and demonstrate measurable results. Resources (financial, people, management bandwidth) are extremely scarce and they need to be directed with precision at opportunities that will yield optimal results in line with organizational strategies and priorities. The Outcome Roadmap provides a roadmap to where you are going and how you will get there. Missing, redundant or duplicate initiatives are easily identified. The roadmap provides confidence that the full scope of work is understood and resource estimates are realistic. The Benefits Register sets the foundation to drive increased outcome measurement, reporting and accountability for key programs contained within the roadmap. The roadmap acts more like an organizational compass - helping you make the necessary course corrections as conditions change. It is much more than the traditional, static plan that quickly becomes out of date and/or irrelevant in today's changing business environment.

Outcome Roadmap and Benefits Register Outcome Roadmap and Benefits Register: Coherent view from a business outcome perspective

In uncertain times, these conversations and supporting techniques are vital to rapidly bring diverse stakeholder groups to a common understanding of a company's strategies and actions. Everyone focuses on what is called “full-cycle governance”– namely, doing the right thing, doing it the right way, getting it done well, and getting value. Doing well that which should not be done, clearly doesn’t make a lot of sense! Everyone understands the critical programs that need to be undertaken and how IT needs to contribute. Overall investment decision making and governance are improved – areas that senior executives are increasingly paying attention to in these uncertain times.

Below is an example of a strategic level roadmap illustrating the logic of outcomes (circles) to deliver improved coordinated and personalized patient-centric care and the 11 associated initiatives (squares) currently in-flight. The metrics tied to these outcomes and accountabilities would be contained in a related Benefits Register. This high level view defines the context and scope for this complex, multi-year, multi-stakeholder program. The roadmap also allows for proactive Governance in terms of tracking progress against these outcomes, metrics and initiatives. It is in effect, the organization’s Clinical Integration “Strategy-on-a-Page.”

Example of a strategic level roadmap

Conclusion

Online has helped many companies address their concerns about where they’re going and how they’re going to get there. How can I better align my strategy and inflight projects? Are you asking questions like these?

  • Are the multiple projects we have underway really aligned to helping me achieve my strategic goals? What projects should I accelerate? What should I slow down or stop?
  • We seem to have so many related projects that compete for the same resources. What should I focus on? Where’s my optimal path to value?
  • I need to trim my discretionary project expenses. How do I cut costs without cutting my throat?
  • I need to simply articulate our business strategy and get everyone “on the same page.” How can I do this quickly?

If so, contact me and we’ll start addressing your concerns via an outcome-based roadmap!

 

Topics: Management Consulting

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