“You try to make plans for people, and the people make other plans.” – Terry Pratchett
“The planning fallacy occurs when individuals and groups try to plan complex projects and underestimate the true cost, expanse, and time of the project. Mario Weick and Ana Guinote found that people in a position of power are particularly vulnerable to the planning fallacy. Perhaps feeling powerful causes them to focus on getting what they want and to ignore hurdles, or having so much self-confidence causes them to avoid worst case scenarios.” – Michael A. Roberto, Transformational Leadership
“It is important that we know where we come from, because if you don’t know where you come from, then you don’t know where you are, and if you don’t know where you are, then you don’t know where you are going. And if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re probably going wrong.” – Terry Pratchett
“Always remember where you are going and never forget where you’ve been.” – today’s cookie fortune
Performance. Your business analyst concludes the study by setting the stage for performing a business transformation based on requirements gathered. The study results are presented formally, and the reports and supporting work documents are handed over to you. These materials should include, at least, a problem definition document, a description and assessment of the current business state, a description of the desired future state, and a pro forma execution plan allowing you to move from the current to the future state. Additionally, the analysis materials may include a list of alternative solutions, a list of circumstances considered in choosing the recommended solution, a list of risk factors and mitigating actions associated with moving to the future state, and a high level cost estimate for implementing the execution plan.
Transformation is not complete until each task has been executed AND verified. Verify each task independently based on your same requirement statements. Verification planning and execution can easily eat up 60% of your transformation budget, so be careful. Verifying task outcomes is not necessarily about massive regression testing programs, but more about selectively performing the correct tests.
When you engage a business analyst to advise you on a transformation, what should you expect? What work will be performed and what tangible work products will you receive as the result of that work? That’s the next topic.
Each requirement statement can be turned directly into a task statement for inclusion in the execution phase plan. Insert your task statements into a project plan, determine which tasks are subordinate to the main ones, establish task interdependencies, and link the tasks together for orderly completion. Then estimate task completion times with costs, and assign your change agent resources to perform them.
The implementation plan for a simple transformation consists of three phases: planning, execution and verification. The planning phase organizes, estimates, assigns, and monitors the tasks for putting your transformation project into action. The execution phase comprises the work of the change process, and the verification phase spans the work of the inspection process. Verification normally follows execution, which in turn follows planning. However, in complex projects much of the work can proceed concurrently if it is carefully staged.
In simplest terms, a transformation project organization consists of a manager, a change agent, and an inspector. The manager plans and directs the work, and ensures that it is performed satisfactorily. The change agent designs the solution and executes the work to implement each requirement. The inspector verifies that the objective of each requirement is met.