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BPI Design Details Phase – Storyline

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

BPI Design Details Phase – Storyline

The objective of this phase is to design the details and understand the consequences to the organization of implementing the preferred ‘To-Be’ business solution. The BPI program becomes a composite of multiple, discrete projects for which parallel teams of technical specialists, aided by design team members, explore the interrelated impacts of conducting simultaneous changes to processes, human resources, technology, policies, and physical infrastructure. This planning facilitates the identification of real costs, benefits and migration activities that will maximize the probability of a successful implementation and demonstrable results for the company. All detail is designed to enable a +/-10 percent level of accuracy (i.e. a 90% level of confidence).
Detailed Process Descriptions are developed to explore precisely how the new work processes will function. In most cases, this activity involves a systematic analysis to identify the detailed information requirements of ‘To-Be’ process flows. When package software has been selected to enable the process or business, these descriptions are created with a prototype of the software so that processes can optimize the functionality of the selected package. In those cases where custom development occurs, logical decision rules governing the information requirements are established from this deliverable, that ultimately are translated into the underlying programming code that is developed.
Technical Specifications define the protocols and technology standards to be used in designing the new IT systems. These parameters ensure that the new system possesses the functionality, speed and capacity to handle the anticipated demands for information of the future process.
Once Detailed Process Descriptions have been defined, an Organization Structure is described that outlines how the company’s workforce can best be organized to perform these new processes. Internal constraints, such as clauses in collective agreements, shortages of required skills, ‘turf’ battles for control of territory, etc. often dictate a number of different scenarios to be explored. Senior management must then choose a preferred model based on the strengths and weaknesses of each option.
The selection of a preferred organizational model requires a full Delineation of Roles and Responsibilities for key positions, in order to explain the full extent of the proposed changes. This exercise sets clear boundaries on the duties of each position, thereby reducing the potential for confusion and duplicated effort during and post implementation. It also facilitates the calculation of the Workforce Numbers and Cost, indicating the number (and position/level) of employees involved in the new processes.
Completion of a Competency Needs Assessment identifies the shortfall between current employee skills and the competencies required to function effectively in the ‘To-Be’ state. While this assessment can vary significantly in size, a comprehensive assessment will map out a personalized (re)training path for each employee, based on their individual needs. It will also point to ways that the organization can optimize its investment in training by employing a combination of different delivery modes (e.g. computer-based training/support, on-the-job mentioning/partnering, classroom courseware, etc.).
The process redesign exercise will have identified a series of policy changes required to enable the adoption of the new process. In this context, ‘policies’ refer to either external regulations or internal ‘house rules’ that guide day-to-day employee decisions and behaviours in the workplace. Policy/Regulation Changes are catalogued (including the benefits and risks associated with each) as input for management approval.
Similarly, Physical Infrastructure Requirements detail the impacts that all combined changes will have upon existing facilities and outline any future facilities requirements. While in many organizations, changes to facilities may be minimal (e.g. modified layout of office cubicles), some companies must deal with the construction of new buildings or the installation of modern equipment.
Although all the analyses described in the deliverables above need to be completed, successful implementation of a multi-faceted BPI program goes well beyond putting in place new computers, rules and organization charts. A complete Portrait of Desired Behaviours must be developed to address the ‘human element’ of the change program. The achievement of lasting change must align reward and compensation programs, accountability frameworks, planning cycles, etc. to correspond with the ‘To-Be’ business solution that has been designed.
Key conclusions from all deliverables in this phase are synthesized into Committed Project Results and Budgets, a deliverable that entails a refinement of the financial estimates that were presented to management in the Business Case.
By this time, a majority of anticipated impacts of the business solution will have been identified and can be weighed into revised financial and risk estimates. Elements of the solution are now fully designed and planned project-by-project, in accordance with the Migration Plan. Resources are marshalled, orchestrated and enrolled; the sequence of capital expenditures is known; cashflows are forecasted; profit and loss (P&L) impacts are understood and benefits are assigned and scheduled. Senior management’s ‘go/no-go’ decision at this stage constitutes the ‘point of no return’ for project building and implementation.
Upon completion of the Design Details phase, management will have given its unequivocal commitment (i.e. for sponsorship, dedicated resources and funding) to move forward with a set number of implementation sub-projects with a high level of certainty in cost and confidence in benefits. Key employees will have been assigned active roles to deliver project results on time and on budget. Individuals are considered accountable for the success of the project, and specific rewards and consequences are often implemented to motivate appropriate actions.
The start, end and duration of each subproject is governed by the Migration Plan. Each sub-project has its own timeline dictated by the complexity and required activities of its scope. The Program Office manages the integration, communication and coordination of these efforts, which for large-scale projects, can easily represent 50 discrete projects and 600 dedicated resources.

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