This is the sixth and last blog in a 6-part series about Process Governance in an Agile Environment with Thorsten Manthey, Director at Tata Consulting Services. If you missed the introduction and part I, and part II, part III, part IV please find them here.
In the last weeks, we’ve discussed the importance of establishing a process/product owner for each critical process, discussed management versus governance, covered the topic Agility and Prioritized Backlog, as well as the Information Gap Between IT Leadership and IT Operations. This week we talk about Bridging the Information Gap by Using Strategic Process Roadmaps.
By using Strategic Process Roadmaps (i.e., prioritized Backlog), it will eliminate one of the major IT process governance issues many organizations are facing.
There are some very specific tools, techniques, and templates a Process Owner can use to govern a process from a strategic aspect and to help bridge the information gap between the day-to-day operation and the organization’s strategy and vision.
The same concept and templates can also be used when governing IT Services and, of course, for any of the IT platforms. Assign Service Owners and IT Platform Owners and use the same templates when creating those Strategic Roadmaps.
Benefits of Strategic Process Roadmaps
Having a “list of prioritized Backlog items” documented provides visibility, clarity and makes it possible to continuously improve a process. It enables the organization to be agile, react fast to changing business needs, “fail fast,” and only work on the items that provide maximum value for the organization. Some of the benefits of using Strategic Process Roadmaps are captured below:
- Agility – Ensures that the most important aspects are being addressed and the ability to change direction when business needs are changing.
- Fail Fast – Short implementation cycles with frequent stakeholder feedback will identify if implemented changes provide expected value.
- Planned Investments and Funding – Investment required for executing the process will be aligned with the IT strategy, business needs and vision of the organization. A strategic plan that includes a long-term focus to request funding for people, training, tooling, and other resources.
- Strategic Alignment – Provides alignment of the roadmap with the organization’s mission, vision, and values. Identifies the key value drivers for IT and the business with which the process must align, e.g., speed, flexibility, agility, and quality.
- Leadership Understanding and Commitment – IT leadership will have a clear understanding of what is required to reach the goals of the process through continuous planning, re-prioritizing, reporting, and governing of the process.
- Business Value Focused and Elimination of Pain Points – Business needs are identified and addressed by creating a long-term and 12-month rolling plan based on business value and eliminating the biggest pain points of the business.
Creating Strategic Process Roadmap Development
Creating the Strategic Process Roadmap is a tactical exercise that creates a strategic plan and a prioritized backlog of items.
There are four key steps when developing the Strategic Process Roadmap:
- Make sure a Process Owner is assigned and that the Process Owners understand their role and accountabilities. A training initiative might be the best approach to have a common understanding across all Process Owners.
- Answer the Strategic Process Roadmap Questionnaire which is one of the templates that is part of the implementation approach. The answers along with the process artifacts and information in step 3 are the key inputs to the Strategic Process Roadmap.
- Review existing material, artifacts, and information, including process assessment findings, CSI register, customer feedback, and any ongoing initiatives.
- Populate several templates based on the answers of the questionnaire (step 2) and the process information gathered (step 3). The templates can be downloaded here: https://tmanthey.com/speaker
Prioritized Backlog Implementation
The Strategic Process Roadmap captures the prioritized key Features and Enablers which the process will target to implement. These “Key Activities and Milestones” (Features & Enablers) will have to be split into more granular tasks to ensure they can be implemented in an Agile fashion e.g., during a 2-week sprint using Scrum or managed via a Kanban board.
The Process Owner (i.e., Product Owner) works together with the Scrum Master (often the Process Manager) and the development team (Process Practitioners and technical resources) to refine these Features and Enablers into User Stories.
Strategic Process Roadmap templates
Several templates and tools are available when designing and implementing IT governance structures within organizations. This is a comprehensive methodology, and the specific templates for developing Strategic Process Roadmaps consist of a number of separate artifacts:
- Accountabilities of Process Owners (PowerPoint)
Clearly defines the accountabilities of Process Owners, as they are significantly different from the responsibilities of a Process Manager.
- Strategic Process Roadmap Questionnaire (Excel)
A detailed questionnaire covering multiple domains (People, Process, Technology, Partner, and Governance) that a Process Owner should answer in order to provide input to their Strategic Process Roadmap.
- Strategic Process Roadmap template (PowerPoint)
PowerPoint templates are used to capture and document a Strategic Process Roadmap for each process as well as a template capturing the details for the key activities defined.
- 12-month rolling plan template (PowerPoint). A tactical plan that provides a 1-page overview of the activities to be executed by the Process Managers focusing on the upcoming 12 months.
Strategic Process Roadmap templates can be downloaded here: https://tmanthey.com/speaker
The below slide is an example of a Strategic Process Roadmap for the Incident Management process. The top right box contains the Process Manage/Owner and the current maturity of the process. All other fields are populated based on the answers in the excel questionnaire (step 2) and information gathered (step 3).
Each Key Activity / Milestone defined in the Strategic Process Roadmap will have a dedicated slide with its detailed description. This provides additional information and is a great tool for IT leaders to more accurately understand each initiative in order to determine if it should be executed and funded.
This was the last blog in a 6-part series about Process Governance in an Agile Environment with Thorsten Manthey, Director at Tata Consulting Services. If you have any questions or thoughts about this blog series please feel free to reach out to Thorsten at: firstname.lastname@example.org