Programme Planning

The pre-programme review and planning process

(1) Introduction


In this programme planning process there are no fixed parameters as to who should or shouldn't be included - it may be conducted with just a very small senior management team comprising 2 or 3 people - or extended to include a wider cross section of management and staff.

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The advantage of the smaller group is that you will move through the process more quickly, however the advantages of wider involvement are that:

(1) you potentially achieve a greater level of early “buy in”;

(2) you get a wider spectrum of inputs to the whole process; and

(3) in so doing, this can form an integral early stage of the change process.

The amount of time allocated to these programme planning processes is also another variable. Broadly speaking, the size of the proposed change and how business critical it is, are useful guidelines. [In my experience, working with a small team usually takes 1 to 3 days over a lapsed timeframe of 1 – 2 weeks and works best if done in stages with time for reflection in between sessions.]

But whatever time is allocated, it is time very well spent as the process is designed to: (1) make you think deeply about your proposed change; (2) to understand as fully as possible the impact it is likely to have, and (3) to work out clearly exactly how you are going to reap the benefits from the change.



    If all this seems like a lot of work – yes it is!

    I won’t deny that this process can be time consuming – but it will ensure that you dramatically increase your chances of success.

    As a by product, you also save you an inestimable amount of time, hassle and money in the future.

    Alternatively, do what most organisations do...

    Go ahead and skip all of this – dive straight into a project or task level implementation of your good idea...

    And considerably increase your chances of joining the 70% of failures.



8 FREE Introductory Lessons from Practitioners Masterclass - HERE




Overview of the process


Here is the overview of Pre Programme Review and Planning using the EEMap process.

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Here is a brief document that introduces the key stages of the EEMap process that we will be using.

I recommend that you find a spare room and cover 2 walls with flip chart paper.

What we are going to do on the first wall is write up and draw schematically the fullest description of what your organisation looks like now, and on the second wall, what it will look like after the change.

In addition to the obvious stuff such as organisation structure and core processes etc we are going to pay particular attention to the cultural aspects of your organisation.







(3) Cultural maps - identifying and describing the different cultural entities within your organisation


This is where the Culture Map Template is used as a prompt to identify and describe the different cultural entities within your organisation.


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As an key part of your programme planning I recommend that you look carefully at all of the different culture and sub-culture types, and see how many of these you can identify in your organisation. I also recommend that you work through all of the questions shown, and apply them to each (sub) cultural group identified.

There is no right or wrong way of doing this, and how you choose to write it up is up to you [e.g. you can follow the format of the Culture Map Template and create your own templates, or write it up on the wall.]

Here are the summary sheets of an

Example Culture Map and Gap Map that was created for a HR company.

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(4) Gap Maps - articulating, visualising and discussing the reality of the gaps within their organisation


The Gap Map plots the positions of key entities within your organisation and highlights the gaps.

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As with the Culture Map there is no prescriptive way of representing this graphically - I use the style shown. It also helps to use the vertical axis as the line of cultural progression and the horizontal line as the time line.

The whole purpose at this stage of programme planning is to create a simple pictorial representation of the different positions and the gaps between them.

This is not a hard science but simply a vehicle by which directors and staff can articulate, visualise and discuss the reality of the gaps within their organisation and to do so in a unemotional and non-confrontational manner.







(5) EEMaps - identifying the issues, impacts and exposures that are going to emerge


The next stage of programme planning is to analyse carefully the gaps and differences between (1) the contents of what you have written on these 2 walls - i.e. the descriptions of how we look now and how we will look after the change, and (2) the different cultural entities that were identified.

What we are looking at initially, is: (1) what these gaps and differences actually are, then (2) looking closely at and documenting the obvious steps - tasks - core processes that we are going to have to undertake to get from the present to the desired position.

This is where the EEMap process is used to unpack the programme planning process. This is a diagrammatic representation of the thought processes and discussions needed to identify the issues, impacts and exposures that are going to emerge.


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The diagram shows the core process / task steps to be undertaken - and all of the implications, issues and impacts associated with each step.

The underlying assumption here is that we cannot successfully progress from "Step A" to "Step B" without having identified and successfully dealt with the associated issues.

All issues identified and associated with each programme planning step are now analysed, categorised and prioritised across all functional areas impacted by the transition.



    This EEMap analysis process will provide the input to the preparation and delivery of an executable programme plan and subsequently project plans.


If at this point you are thinking to yourself that this all seems very simple and obvious - you are of course perfectly correct.

But these steps are so simple and obvious that they are usually over looked - and the result is a 70% failure rate.




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