Sunday, 28 February 2010

Stakeholder Map

Stakeholder maps (somestimes called political maps) can be a very powerful way of assessing the people change risks of a programme. This map provides two axes on which to place people according to how much power they have (y-axis) and to what extent they are for or against the programme (x-axis). Note that this model is drawn from the perspective of someone trying to execute the programme and make it a success; so the people for the program are considered useful (green) and those against it are considered harmful (red). The idea is to identify your main advocates and detractors and how they are influenced by others in order to determine how to manage change.One way of using such a map is as follows:

  1. Place people on the chart according to their power and behaviour (the degree to which they are for or against the programme)
  2. People against are harmful, so should be red. Right click each to set this
  3. People for are useful so should be green. Right click each to set this
  4. Draw 'produces' arrows from supporters or influencers to those they support/influence
  5. Draw 'counteracts' arrows from between people who influence each other but have opposite opinions
  6. Use this to inform your stakeholder alignment strategy

These steps are shown in the blue actions boxes on the diagram itself. You may also wish to draw 'is-a' arrows from people to the stereotype you believe the exhibit. If you were to later write any creativity rules to help you come up with strategies for dealing with the different kinds of people, this information could be useful as you would take quite different approaches with someone who is merely a cynic from someone who is a saboteur.

Your stakeholder map will not necessarily have people at all of these levels of power or advocacy. The stereotypes are provided to help characterise the behaviour of people in a more specific way than for and against. This lends itself to providing a better assessment of the likely outcomes of the change and the interventions that may be necessary to assure success.

The sterotypes are briefly characterised here:

Opponent - someone who is openly and directly opposed to the initiative
Saboteur - someone who will use their every waking breath to kill the initiative (not necessarily openly; they could be as powerful as a direct opponent but this is less likely)
Cynic - verbal sabotage (but not physical - How powerful they are can be increased depending upon who listens to them)
Skeptic - someone who doubts that the initiative will succeed, but is generally willing to give it a hearing
Silent Doubter - someone who has doubts, but keeps quiet so they are not apparent to others
Not Involved - either someone who doesn’t know about the initiative or someone who should not be involved in it at all (they could still potentially be converted to be for or against)
Observer - watches what is going on in the initiative, but takes no action (perhaps until they make their mind up, or until someone involves them)
Follower - takes part in the initiative but only because they follow the crowd (they could be at risk of swaying against the initiative if there were more doubters than supporters)
Active Participant - takes a full and proactive part in the initiative
Advocate / Change Agent - has no direct accountability for or involvement in the initiative, but senior or influential, so can promote it. There are many influential people who are not senior. Its important to take account of the unofficial (but very real) power/influence hierarchy as well as the official control hierarchy.
Champion - has an official role in driving the initiative and is directly involved in demonstrating the value of the initiative. They may be responsible for a workstream or for providing leadership of some kind.
Sponsor - the person who owns the initiative or whose personal success depends on it

Sunday, 21 February 2010

PDCA - Plan Do Check Act

This Southbeach Notation Model shows the key steps in the PDCA cycle developed by W. E. Deming during the 80s. This compliments the previous article on the Capability Maturity Model (CMM). Whereas the CMM describes what characterises the levels of maturity of an organisation, the Deming cycle provides a way of evaluating the issues with the current situation and doing something about it.

The CMM focusses on defining what characterises the performance and quality of processes at different levels of maturity and improving the organisation by institutionalising the processes to make them more objective, measurable, and repeatable. The Deming cycle provides a simple four step process... Plan, Do, Check, Act to do just that:

  • Agree what we are trying to achieve (what are our goals?)
  • Analyse the current situation (whats useful and harmful and why?)
  • Identify Options for achieving our goals with Critical Success Factors for each
  • Assess potential impact of change for each option (useful and harmful)
  • Agree which options and approach to implement
  • Define Key Performance Indicators
  • Create implementation plan with resources, roles & responsibilities
  • Take small steps
  • Control the circumstances
  • Attribute improvements and failures to your actions
  • Track improvements and failures against KPIs and planned benefits
  • Assess whether your actions are yielding the desired result
  • If your actions are having the desired result, great - get started on standardising that activity so it becomes institutionalised and the improvement becomes repeatable, business as usual
  • If your actions are not having the desired result, understand why and go round the loop again
This Southbeach Notation model shows the steps in the process along with the key activities involved in each step. Such models can be used as guides when embarking on an improvement programme. The structure of the model can even be adapted to provide an associative map of the challenges faced by an organisation and what they plan to do about it.

Taking a high level conceptual model such as this and evolving it into a specific model for what you are going to do in a particular situation can be a powerful way of driving a process.

This approach to driving a process is precisely the kind of activity described in CMM process maturity level 5; where standard processes are available along with guidelines on how these can be tailored to suit your particular sitution, and the results of your work are systematically re-incorporated into the formal body of knowledge of the organisation and used to improve those processes further.

Saturday, 20 February 2010

Capability Maturity Model

This example Southbeach Notation model shows what qualities characterise an organisation at each of the different maturity levels defined by the Carnegie Mellon Capability Maturity Model.

The maturity levels are shown here as Southbeach goals (filled in boxes). Note that levels 0 and 1 are considered harmful (red), whilst levels 2 through 5 are considered increasingly useful. The useful (green) and harmful (red) qualities of the organisation are shown for each level.

Note how increasing levels of maturity characterise increased understanding, documentation, and management of the processes. The activities involved in executing those processes, and in moving towards higher quality, more efficient and autonomous processes are managed through repeatable, objective, statistical means rather than through dependency on heroic behaviour, individual knowledge and personal judgement.

Models like this can be used to assess the maturity of an organisation. More specific versions of this model can be created as issues impacting quality and performance are identified. The ability in Southbeach to indicate the cause and effect of situations can then be used to perform root cause analysis to identify ways of improving the processes and maturity of the organisation in manageing those processes. Having clearly articulated improvement milestones enables remediation planning to be directed in a more coherent and effective way.

Models and appraisal methods for services, acquisition and development processes are available from the SEI website:

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Abstract models are useful starting points for concrete models

Often, developing a model in the abstract, helps create a useful starting point for a concrete model. Here, the abstract model shows a problem, its root cause, and upstream harmful impacts. Around these red (harmful) blocks are green boxes indicating potential (dotted line) intervention points. The two blocked in green (useful) boxes are considered goals. Why? Because intervening to remove the root cause, or converting the problem into a solution, are considered 'preferred' (goals) solutions.

Use the 'quick edit' mode of Southbeach Modeller to rephrase the boxes with your problem. Add creativity rules to generate suggestions for verifying the solutions. For example:

1.   We have plenty of pros for [intervention] - are there harmful side effects? What are the downsides/cons?
2.   Is there a strong case for [intervention]?
3.   Is it the right thing to do?
4.   Do we have support for [intervention]?
5.   How could the case for [intervention] be questioned?
6.   What types of criticism could arise?
7.   Who will object to [intervention] and why?
8.   What's the defence against critisim of [intervention]?
9.   Is there anything we have forgotten? Is there anything to add?