Friday, April 17, 2009

Unbundling complex organizations to simplify IT Projects

How to simplify organizational complexities in order to understand and analyze the “What”, “Why”, “Who”, “When” and “How” of an IT project.

The first step is to “Unbundle” an organization into it’s constituent categories, functions (or business units/departments), and processes. In so doing you are then able to profile these components and analyze and understand how and where they are interconnected with each other and their relationships.

Unbundling the processes will also give you visibility into what, where and how manual (and often undocumented) processes are interconnected with automated computer-based processes. This is important because as one interconnected process is changed it will likely impact upon other processes which will in turn impact on further processes and so on creating a ripple effect (the butterfly effect). It is essential to identify common interfaces between manual and/or computer-based systems in order to better understand what and how processes are influenced.

Once the functions, departments, business units and processes have been unbundled, you are then able to identify the most appropriate parties that need to be involved and included in the IT project. Often only the most obvious or prominent parties are identified as essential for the project, however, by unbundling we are able to identify the more obscure or indirect parties and processes. These additional parties and processes can often be a key source of project requirements and will need to be solicited for their input and involvement. It is also helpful to identify key communication points, informal and formal information sources, possible areas of change resistance or support and who needs to be involved in the decision making process.

Unbundling the external value chain will identify if, where and how suppliers and customers integrate into an organization’s incumbent IT systems, functions, departments and processes. This is also a major source of project requirements and will allow the parties to understand precisely how they will be impacted and what they need to do to adapt to the change.

Remember 80% of an iceberg is out of sight and similarly the vast majority of project requirements are largely hidden.

Unbundling the Pre-implementation process enables us to break each step down into specific disciplines. At the outset of a project these disciplines all require strategic decisions to guide them so that they can be successfully established, executed, managed and adopted by an organization throughout the projects life-cycle.
  1. Pre-investment decision making process
  2. Communications
  3. Executive, stakeholder and user support
  4. IT governance and risk
  5. Success metrics and strategy
  6. Change process
  7. User input and requirements gathering
  8. Training and process development
  9. User adoption
  10. Vendor and solution selection
In my next post to this blog I will investigate the first of these disciplines the all-important “Pre-investment decision making process”.

Kind regards
Sarah Jane Runge

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