Firstly you need to know what the Outcomes are for the initiative. Other expressions for outcomes would be goals or objectives or end results. Obviously it doesn’t matter what word you use, but the point is that you need the desired consequences from the initiative you are undertaking to be clearly uncovered, identified, agreed to and documented. To make it meaningful, each goal or outcome needs to at a minimum have a description for its Quality (what it is), Quantity (how much of it is needed), and its Deadline (by when it must be achieved). An example of a well-defined outcome would be “A 20% increase in revenues from Product X within 36 months.”
- Current Situation
Secondly, you need to know what the Current Situation is. You need to understand what is currently happening, and at least to an extent you need to know why this is the case. A good way of documenting the current situation is to use the concept of Capabilities. A capability is an ability to perform a specific task in order to get a specific result. At the detailed level, each capability can be broken down into three constituent parts, these being: People – the people who undertake the task, Process – the steps performed to complete the task, and Tools – the apparatus used during the accomplishment of the task. As well as these three components, each task has an input and an output. An example of a detailed level capability would be “Manufacturing Product X”. In this example the input to the capability would be the raw materials and/or parts, the People would be the assembly workers, the Process would be the steps in assembling Product X, and the Tools would be the equipment such as the assembly line conveyor, the power tools and hand tools the workers use, and so on. Finally, the output would be the assembled product itself, ready for the next capability such as packaging and shipping for example.