The Improvement Cycle

One of the principles on which the Superior Business Analysis Approach stands is that essential management information should be adaptable. This recognises that essential management information is changing – as is every organisation and the context in which each organisation is operating.

On an ongoing basis, the Framework itself is set up to reflect the way that meaningful reporting ensures that Strategy is aligned to Operations and so on around the Framework. This type of Reporting should therefore support regular improvements to each section of the Framework (the Strategy, Management, Operations and even Reporting sections) and how well they are aligned with each other.

Just capturing essential management knowledge, and in particular procedures, also empowers staff to more easily review and improve the way they undertake activities. Having knowledge captured in the one place and on paper makes it easy for people to discuss and identify improvements, and then work out how to embed them into future operations.

The other type of change that the Superior Business Analysis Approach supports is fundamental change at a certain point in time or over a specific planning period. This will generally be initiated through a strategic planning process which redesigns what the future strategy looks like. In terms of the Superior Business Analysis Framework, this would result in a new Strategy being developed,  which will guide updates to the Management, Operations and Reporting information.

For all of these types of change, it is important to be on the same page about how change is initiated and implemented. The Improvement Cycle that is used by the Superior Business Analysis Approach is set out in the below image.

Improvement Cycle

This Improvement Cycle is made up of four phases:

Capture Current Management – is about documenting how things are currently done, which results in a benchmark, a discovery of the considerations needed to be taken into account in developing something new, and a tool for staff to hold objective conversations about what can be improved.

Design Future Management – is about working through and documenting what will occur in the future. This may involve tweaks to the Current Management, or may be a fundamental rewrite. Nevertheless, it is about ensuring that everyone knows what the Strategy, Management, Operations or Reporting will look like once the change is complete, potentially enabling people to have input into the future design, and minimising uncertainty (and associated anxiety).

Plan the Change – is about planning how to transition between Current and Future Management arrangements. Where procedures are just receiving minor tweaks, this step may be spectacularly easy. However, where fundamental strategy changes are underway or where it has been identified that the Operations are not aligned with the Strategy, it will be worth digging down into the detail to outline how changes to activities, infrastructure and supporting paperwork will occur.

Transition – is about actually making the change. This might seem very obvious, but where fundamental changes are occurring this can be the most difficult step. Change management can be fraught with sensitivities, politics and cultural legacies, which explains why change management is a discipline in itself and why Strategic Plans may not succeed.

These stages of the Improvement Cycle apply to any type of change and are fundamental to an understanding of the Superior Business Analysis Approach.