Plan Slowly and Deliver Rapidly

“It’s software-as-a-service—it’s easy to implement.”

How many times have we heard that statement only to realize that ease of implementation depends on a number of factors?

For one, it depends on how well defined our existing internal processes are. Due to time constraints and limited resources, process mapping is usually overlooked when it comes to implementing any tool (this is not limited to Service Management tools). So, it’s essential to be clear about what we do today and how we do it.

“Why do I need to know what we do today? I want to implement the tool as-is, right out of the box.”

Unless you’re in a brand new company, implementing a tool out of the box is rarely the end result.

The Critical Importance of Process Mapping

According to industry analyst and implementation specialist Michael Krigsman, 68 percent of IT projects fail, most of them due to poor requirements analysis. Taking the time map your processes is critical to the success of any implementation.

Beginning an implementation project with process mapping accomplishes four key objectives:

  1. Identifies functional areas
  2. Identifies key stakeholders
  3. Identifies subject matter experts
  4. Identifies the “who, what, where, why and when” within a process

Process mapping begins with your “AS IS” process map, which documents how the process works as it is today. The AS IS will be used to perform a gap analysis during the discovery and examination phase of an implementation by comparing it to the out-of-box system functionality. The goal here is to identify areas of process improvement and existing gaps. (Gaps are functions required to facilitate the process but are not available in the tool and therefore become functional requirements, or, in Agile Development, a “story.”)

As you continue to identify areas for process improvement and gaps, the AS IS process should be revised, making the new process a “TO BE” process once the tool is implemented.

Once the TO BE process is documented, your work is still not finished. You will continue managing the process by storing it in a process library or shared location so you can easily access it to review for continuous process improvement as you go.

To Speed Things Up (and Increase Success), Slow Down

It’s a paradox, but taking more time on the front end actually saves time in the long run. Like the carpenter’s rule says: “measure twice, cut once.” And process mapping isn’t only beneficial for implementations. Check out process expert Chelsea Gaillard’s post, Five Really Good Reasons to Map Business Processes, to see other ways we can apply it for positive impact.

Too many projects fail, but by slowing down with these initial steps, you can help your next initiative avoid the same fate. And, don’t hesitate to reach out to our Advisory Services team should you have any follow up questions. This is what we’re all about!

Contributor: Aritha Walker, Aptris Senior Consultant