At the Baxter Thompson Associates (BTA) IT Business Partner Forum in June, we looked at the challenge of Value Management. Previous survey respondents had said that this was the third most challenging aspect of their role. To investigate this further a new survey was issued following the DAMAC framework for Value Management created by BTA.
What is Value Management?
Value Management is a set of management techniques to ensure that customers’ expectations and needs are met through supporting activities, products and services.
How can we do it?
Applying the DAMAC model from Baxter Thompson enables Value Management. It groups a series of management techniques into the following recursive cycle:
What did our survey measure?
We wanted to understand where our strengths and weaknesses were in relation to the above framework, so we provided examples of activities and asked our 43 respondents to rate themselves based on whether they consistently demonstrated, partially demonstrated these activities or not at all.
Help us understand what’s important to you.
The key here is to articulate a Value Proposition in a language understood by whoever you communicate with – this means adjusting it for the audience so that it speaks personally to them. It must include tangible outcomes to help people understand the relationship between what’s in it for them and the actual product / service that is delivered.
Our score: 8/43 consistently applied (18.6%)
Are we doing the right activities?
So that all stakeholders have a “skin in the game”, always demonstrate how a business outcome is linked to the project activities, the IT workstream or software application. Ensure goals are shared. If there is no link, there is no value!
Our score: 12/39 consistently applied (30.8%)
How do we know if we’re successful?
Demonstrating success builds credibility. At the point of defining the value proposition, it’s important to establish meaningful metrics which demonstrate the tangible impact of the business outcome. This needs continuous monitoring through the WHOLE lifecycle of a project, service or lifetime of the application.
Our score: 13/39 consistently applied (33.3%)
Analyse Root Cause
Why aren’t things going as expected?
When things go off track, root cause analysis ensures the best possible opportunity for improvement. There are various techniques to help, such as the “5 Whys”. A no blame culture is important to establish the facts. Sometimes this exercise can result in amending the Value Proposition, or even cancelling the project if the outcomes can no longer be achieved, or indeed triggering continuous improvement.
Our score: 2/39 consistently applied (5.1%)
What can we do differently to get back on track?
Whether it be a poorly performing service or a failing project we need to gather, test and implement ideas that will meet expectations, often through business process change. Making improvements must become part of the “operational muscle” and a habit of the organisation.
Our score: 7/38 consistently applied (18.4%)
We can see where our areas of weakness are. The techniques, once learnt are not difficult to apply. The real challenge is working with colleagues on investing time in these activities. The whole cycle of value management consistently applied is the surest way of gaining credibility and a seat at the decision maker’s table. This lays the foundation for becoming a Strategic IT Partner.
Why do this? Simple: As IT Business Partners, managing value means adding value.