In the article Get The Change Right! I talk about successfully making changes and improving an organization. This was centered around just improving our own project oriented organization.
That article was a bit tactical and driven by a natural sequence of events:
1. Start by fixing our own team
2. Get stuck because we need to fix others we work with
3. Get stuck again because we now need to then fix senior management
Here, let’s add in what else we were doing to achieve a comprehensive plan:
1. Determine what our organization or project is already doing. What they are doing if we did nothing but let them continue on day to day.
2. Dig up what our bosses have said we should be doing. This is usually in the form of published goals, strategic plans, etc. (Compare with: When We Should Ignore Our Boss)
3. Figure out what the environment says we should be doing. What is going on in our industry and field and what is everyone talking about doing?
4. Research what the regulatory environment says we should be doing. What new standards or requirements are coming our way from higher headquarters, regulatory agencies, etc.
5. Summarize the delta between what we seem to be doing and what those other forces seems to be driving us to do.
6. Create a plan of action: How we intend to reconcile all these different forces.
7. Inform senior management of what we’ve found and what we are planning to do. Get their buy-in or approval, if needed. (See also: Initiative or Insubordination)
During one particular engagement, I presented my recommendations and got a surprising reaction. One of the bullets in particular caused everyone to sit up and take notice. The comment from the chair of this group was something like “well, maybe we should do that.” I came to find out later that my predecessor had been advocating certain things for some time and they had been turned down repeatedly. When I came out with the same thing, completely independent of this past history and objectively based it upon the whole business environment, it was finally enough to convince them that maybe they did need to do it.
There are many good planning approaches. Find one that helps ensure your plan is complete.