Canvases and Clarity: Focus On Value Not Volume

If a focus on value is important to business, they need to re-assess the practices applied to defining their plans and projects. Typical practices have lead to seeking absolute detail in the definition of projects and the business plans. This is typically presented in large documents based on templates, spreadsheets and large resource investments in generating excess details and review processes.

The difficulty is that the “unique” and pertinent information gets lost in the sheer volume of pages of text, boiler plate, and background information. Further the very size and complexity of the documents and the herculean effort required to generate make them in-effective as a tool for communication. Further, any refinements or re-positioning required during the execution of the plan can not be readily reflected in the huge documents and as such most plans are out of date within months of being written.

When these documents are presented to guide the development of operational or activity plans, the relevant information is lost in the volume which leaves an unclear mapping form strategy to delivery

For todays business to be nimble and adapt to challenges, it is more important to present their vision and targets using a responsive format that leadership and capable resources can adapt to reflect their actions. Further there should be a clear path from the strategy to the plans needed to deliver it. In a previous post Key Ingredients To A Shared Vision, we presented the approach of engaging leadership in conversations and production of Project and Business Canvases. The format used presents key information that can be refined, adapted and communicated quickly with the leaders and delivery resources.

The change from documentation laden practices to a collaborative and visual based model will require leadership to support a focus on clarity over volume. With the canvas structure the plan details can be shared with all the areas of the business and can be adapted and kept current. Further they present a direct linkage from strategy to delivery activities.

Should an organization wish to improve its planning effectiveness, it is advisable for organizations to adapt the new lean approach on smaller initiatives until a confidence can build that the lean model is more effective that past approaches.

In our next post Initiative Definition Using A Lean Approach we will provide an overview of a lean approach to the definition of an initiative which can be uses as a test bed for this new approach.

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