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Blog

Date Posted 6/19//2018
By Kevin Carpenter, contact: kcarpenter@kca-us.com

IDM™ Blog 1C

Reminder

Today we continue our series on applying IDM™ to your business. In this series, I’ll take you through the process, the approach and the lessons I’ve learned applying IDM™ to Technology projects across industries.

Over the next few months I’ll discuss the steps of the IDM™ process in sequence, with the associated tools and techniques, as well as how we’ve applied IDM™ to technologies impacting Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Commercial Activities, Information Technologies, Business Growth Strategies, and more.

The top of each blog will have a number and letter so if you save these to your computer or print them to OneNote, you can easily keep the order of the flow.

 

IDM PROCESSContinuing with Clarify

In the last blog, I talked about the first four tools on the Clarify step in the IDM process. Today, I’ll explore the next four;

· Vision

· Scope

· SWOT

· Issue Raising

At this point in the ClarifyClarify step, the team has a common understanding of the opportunity, how it fits with the various levels of the organization, and a clear definition of what exactly the project team is trying to answer.

 

Vision of Success

Visions of Success are oftentimes written at such a high level they become impossible to measure and difficult to believe. Instead, focus the vision to specific changes and the results they create.  For a technology project, tie the vision to measurable business results.  Don’t be satisfied with stopping at the technology impact.  Some examples:

 

“When implemented, the entire North American enterprise will have wireless access throughout our multiple facilities” – Not a great statement.

“By 2019, Moving our assets and applications to the cloud will increase reliability, bring new features to all users, and improve the security of our files” – Better as it begins to speak to the benefits.

In 18 months, we will have replaced our servers with new technology and triple our ability to process seismic data.  This will enable us to review 3 moderate plays and 1 large play each year, potentially creating hundreds of millions of dollars in energy reserves” – Great – tied to the business value and direct financial benefit!

As you can see, the Vision of Success should tie the action and the deliverables of the project to the business impact and long-term results.

 

Scope

Teams often confuse Scope with the set of alternatives to their opportunity or problem.  The alternatives are generated further in the process when we work through the Strategy Table.  The Scope as used here is to be a set of boundaries of what will be considered, what will not be considered, and what might be considered.

The items placed in these lists can be high level (reorganization, infrastructure changes, office locations, new business entries) or at a more detailed level (technology platforms, outsourced roles, corporate v field offices)

Remember, the purpose of the Scope is not to box the team into a single solution, but to outline the boundaries for things considered.

 

SWOT

The SWOT is one of the most mis-used tools in business today.  We’ve seen so many teams fill out a form of their internal Strengths/Weaknesses and external Opportunities/Threats only to put the page into a presentation and never consider the implications to the business.

A SWOT should stimulate a discussion on action.  The components can be valuable as a source for creating alternatives, such as creating an alternative that leverages our strengths or eliminates the gaps in our weaknesses. Or it might be a strategy to block a competitor, identified from the external threat.

Sometimes we take the SWOT one step further and ask, “Given what we know from this exercise, what could happen, internally or externally, to make us double our team’s efforts?  What could happen that would make us stop our project completely?”

 

Issues Raising

The Issues Raising is a tool that serves two key purposes.  First, it allows all team members to voice their concerns in an open, non-judgmental forum.  Hidden issues that are NOT raised will often pop up later to can cause delays if not a complete derailment of the project. You may have been on a project where they are halfway through implementing the solution and they hit a snag only to have a team member say “HA!  I KNEW that was going to happen, you should have listened to me”.  The Issue raising would get this potential snag identified early on, long before the solution alternative was even selected. 

Also, by having everyone raise their issues and concerns in the Clarify step of the process, interesting, new, and insightful points can be discussed that could otherwise be missed entirely.

The second key purpose of Issue Raising is to begin gathering the components for the Objective Hierarchy, the Decision Hierarchy, and the Influence Diagram.

The issue raising exercise is designed to be a “cast the net wide” activity to gather as many issues at the top of mind as possible from the workshop team.  For a team of 6 to 8, it’s not unusual to get 100 issues boarded.

We let the workshop team raise any issues they would like, provided it pertains to the project.  The issues are then filtered by asking the questions:

Is the issue in our control?

  • If yes, then is it something to which we aspire?
    1. If yes, then it’s an OBJECTIVE and will be used in the Objective Hierarchy
    2. If no, then it’s a DECISION and will be used in the Decision Hierarchy
  • If no, (it’s not in our control), will we know the outcome before we decide on a strategy?
    1. If yes, then it’s a FACT that feeds the Influence Diagram
    2. If no, then it’s an UNCERTAINTY that feeds the Influence Diagram

There’s a fifth choice…. As shown above, when the outcome is unclear, it’s an UNCERTAINTY.  But when the QUESTION is unclear, or its definition is subjective, it’s an AMBIGUITY.   Left unresolved, ambiguities can wreak havoc on a project.  Fortunately, they are usually very easy to resolve by simply asking a decision maker.  “How much do I weigh” is an uncertainty.  “Am I overweight” is an ambiguity…. the term “overweight” depends on the subjective definition of the person being asked.  So, if the team says the goal is to “makes lots of money”, someone had better ask the decision maker what they consider “a lot of money” in the context of the project. 

The next time, I’ll complete the Clarify step with the Objective Hierarchy.  Yes, an entire blog will be about a single tool.  But it’s a good one!

As always if you have comments or thoughts you’d like to share, please drop me a note!

Kevin Carpenter | Email: Kcarpenter@kca-us.com

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