Fail and Success Factors for Information Management

Published on Friday 15 June 2012 by in Blog with no comments

New processes, new models, new ways of working, new roles and many other new things are facing  our employees once we start adopting and using new best practice frameworks. The questions are ‘How do we support and enable our employees’? ‘How do we create awareness’? ‘How do we demonstrate the new way of working so that the implementation will become a success’?

It is clear that the current ways in which we adopt best practice training approaches isn’t as effective as it should be. We have millions of certificates but still many organizations fail to gain the hoped for value, there is resistance and lack-of buy-in to the new ways of working.

This article is about how the BookStore simulation (Information Management) was used to create this understanding and was used to ‘train’ employees and solve fail factors.

What doesn’t work

  1. It does not work to simply present the new processes during meetings and sessions.
  2. It does not work to train people on the framework theory during a 3 days course.
  3. It does not work to just start doing, and hoping for success and results
  4. it does not work to force people into using a new framework
  5. it does not work to ‘implement’a freamework
  6. it does not work to apply a framework without having a claer set of goals to be achieved

How we used the BookStore simulation

BookStore is a business simulation which looks at Information Management. It teaches the participants  how to organize information management, the roles that are involved and the key processes. BookStore is based on BiSL.

The customer has started a project to get these BiSL principles integrated in the day-to-day processes within their organization. Together with a team of employees the sponsor designed the processes and  chose the simulation to work with the team on the awareness. The simulation was used as a PLAYGROUND to experiment, to test, to explore and to find fail and success factors.

12 employees got together and were organized in their roles. Business, Information and ICT. Each of them had a role and a task. During the full day session the team had to design and execute THEIR processes. Between simulation rounds we looked at the results achieved. The team analyzed their way of working, agreed improvements and redesigned their processes and ways of working.

At the end of the day we explored the fail factors after round 1 and the success factors after round 4. Let’s go into more detail.

Fail Factors of Information Management

No clear agreements on process, roles, communication lines and responsibilities

It sounds crazy. We all know this but still we started the day with unclear roles and responsibilities. Reasons why the team did not do this:

  • we thought we knew the roles
  • we did not spend time on agreeing this, we were too busy with other things
  • we did not ask questions when things were not clear
  • we assumed eveybody knew these, understood them and agreed to do them

No clear roadmap with the context of our business plans, information plans and IT plans

The Business did not share the long term plans with Information Management or the IT department. So it was not possible for both Information Management and IT to prepare projects, to pro-actively plan resources for development or plan the change calendar. Reasons why the team did not do this:

  • We did not plan time to do this
  • We all were waiting for somebody else to take the lead
  • We did not realize the importance
  • We are not used to doing this

No clear picture of the relations between different roles and stages in the life cycle

We thought we all knew the different roles and relations. We all knew we must have meetings with the customer to explore the requirements, we know we must plan meetings with Information Management and IT to translate requirements to solutions. But we didn’t do this. We just listen and plan all projects and activities but… reactively, not aligned and without future planning. Also we had no effective meetings with the right people, making the right decisions. Reasons why the team did not do this:

  • These processes and meetings were not completely clear for all of us
  • We waited for somebody else to take the initiative and steer the work, despite the fact that we know what we should do we waited for leadership
  • We didn’t know the purpose of the meeting nor who should attend
  • We were running out of time, because we did not have planning and control
No control of all activities within the teams, and between the teams

Once we had everything clear about what to build for the customer (applications, systems and information sources) , we did not have any planning and control of the implementation. We just did everything we thought we had to do. In the end, the customer had his application but no information!! Reasons why the team did not do this:

  • We did not have control over the chain from Business, Information to IT (and Supplier)
  • We did not have a Project Manager
  • We did not know who should do this

This was the outcome after ROUND 1 then we started with the team the next rounds to improve the processes and the way of working. After the rounds we explored the lessons learned and the Success Factors.

Success Factors of Information Management

We must design and improve as a TEAM, create a shared vision and a shared context.

This was what the team was doing the during the whole day. The employees themselves took the initiative to lead the improvement sessions. They liked this because it empowered them, created a lot of awareness and buy-in, it also helped them identify and resolve bottlenecks and disagreements. They saw the benefits.

  • We allfelt equally  responsible for making the process a success
  • No ‘them’ and ‘us’ culture
  • We supported each other in the chain by asking questions, by clarifying what was meant and for agreeing
  • We were able to improve our work

The Business column, the Information column and the IT column must have a shared plan and a clear picture of how to achieve this plan

This was organized by planning 2 important meetings. A meeting between Business and Information Management to explore future requirements and make an Information Plan. During this meeting with the Business we were also able to explore changes in those requirements. The Second meeting was the meeting between Information Management and IT to explore the Technology and Application consequences of those requirements. During this meeting the IT capabilities and consequence became clear.

  • The business was sharing future plans and both Information and IT were able to make their plans to prepare,  and to be proactive. All activities were aligned.
  • We were able to communicate issues proactively before they impacted the business
  • Business was equally involved in making decisions to resolve issues
  • Business saw the benefit of involving IT early in the process

IT and the Information column must first work on a maturity level that shows ‘repeatability and predictability’ before we can deliver value to our Business

This was one of the key outcomes. “We must have a certain level of maturity before we can agree and promise the actions!”. We must become Repeatable and Predictable. The team also learned how to develop their own maturity to achieve this level.

  • Get into control, know what you are able to deliver and promise only what you can
  • Keep the infrastructure clear and understandable to make it possible to translate the requirements into consequences – timely and correct
  • Support the Business with TIME TO MARKET opportunities

Everybody must keep to their roles even if it’s not going perfect at the start of the process

We need to get space to develop our processes. To make mistakes, learn from them and improve our work. Management must not take over control if we are going too slow. We all must have discipline and give the new processes a fair chance to develop and become mature. Processes are never right first time, they need to evolve, Continual improvement needs to be part of the process.

Don’t use a project approach, choose a step by step approach with small interventions, meetings and feedback.

This last one was a clear one. This is also the approach that was chosen by our customer for realizing the roll-out in their organization.

If you want to know more about this subject, BiSL, BookStore or Information Management contact me directly.

We would like to thank Mark Smalley (BiSL Foundation) and Ignace Latour (CITO Netherlands) for their support and participation.

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