The Big Picture is not simply a map of Systematic Management, it is also the story of a journey through that map, told in photographs along the filmstrip bar at the bottom of the picture, and referenced by white numbers throughout the picture.

Please click on any of the photographs in the picture of the filmstrip (above) for more information, or simply read through the references below:


The journey starts by developing the objectives. The picture shows two members of a syndicate group debating a proposed component of the organisation's vision. The vision has been developed by applying creative techniques to the context of the organisation (its values, its customers, its competitors, its market, its role, its partners, its people, its resources) and is now being drawn down into a limited number of succinct statements which collectively reflect all that is important to the organisation. Subsequently the vision is further clarified and agreed by means of establishing clear measures and target performances for each of its elements. Further information on these initial steps can be found in Chapter 7 of Managing by Design and Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 of How to Build a Better Business.


Once the Objectives are clear, the team develops a logical model of the oganisation that is best suited to deliver those objectives. The picture shows a management team re-allocating the activities of the organisation into process groupings which provide the best leverage and insight into delivering the objectives. Further information on this step can be found in Chapter 8 of Managing by Design and Chapter 3 of How to Build a Better Business.


Having clarified the process (organisational) model that it wants to use, the management team explore the relationship between each process and every objective, identifying new opportunities to leverage its success, and inspiring new ideas and innovative strategies for how the organisation can better work to achieve its goals. This creative exploration lies at the heart of QFD. The photograph shows a management team using a sticky note method for the grid of the QFD. Other methods include cell-by-cell debate, and walk-round techniques. Further information on this step can be found in Chapter 9 of Managing by Design and Chapter 4 of How to Build a Better Business.


Once the top level objectives are clear, and their deployment to processes has been proposed, process teams work on their own vision and QFD in support of that. Opportunities exist to identify opportunities that the management team have missed, and to translate the cell relationships into clear process performance targets - these are then developed by the team into a firm proposal of how the process team plans to address its relationships in the QFD, what it intends to deliver against that (as a measureable performance) and its outline strategy to ensure that delivery. This approach helps to both engage the creative ideas of the wider organisation, and to build a sense of ownership and responsibility for challenging targets that it has developed itself (akin to the responsibility a good professional external organisation would have for the targets it proposes in its tenders). Further information on this step can be found in Chapter 10 of Managing by Design, and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 of How to Build a Better Business.


Having established the top-level QFD, and inspired the Process Teams to propose creative and ambitious targets to support it, it is vital to check that it all adds up; that it will collectively ensure delivery of the top-level (Management Team) targets. This step is known as reconciliation, and involves the management team reviewing the proposals against each objective in turn, and reaching a conclusion as to whether collective achievement of the process targets will guarantee achievement of the top-level target. Where they do, it is simply a matter of commissioning the process teams to deliver their plans, but where they do not, then some negotiation is necessary. Handled well, this negotiation is unlikely to diminish the team's ownership for the result - they generally are willing to amend their own proposals once the reasoning becomes clear to them. Further information on reconcilliation can be found in Chapter 12 of Managing by Design.


Once each process is clear on what it needs to achieve, it becomes possible to assess which processes are most likely to tend to conflict with each other in pursuit of their objectives, and which processes have opportunities for synergy. This information is key to determining an efficient and effective communication system (see Chapter 21 of Managing by Design). The Roof discussion is a structured series of paired discussion between individual process teams which helps them to identify the extent to which their objectives place them in potential conflict or synergy, and to develop a communication strategy to make best use of that. Further information on the Roof can be found in Chapter 23 of Managing by Design and Chapter 7 of How to Build a Better Business.


Once each process has committed to its targets (proposal) it becomes, in a very real sense, and organisation in its own right. It too can use QFD and all of the steps we have covered so far in further deploying responsibility and inspiring creative solutions and commitment from its people, and for large organisations this is an essential step (QFD can cascade down through many levels to ensure front-line strategies are fully connected to top-level objectives). In these circumstances, it is often useful to run a cascade workshop, with all of the process teams at the next level in one large room, set out cabaret style around process-team tables. In this way, over a period of 3-5 days (usually split into two blocks), the process teams can accelerate their early progress in a coordinated way. Further insight on the Cascade approach can be gained from Chapter 25 (Page 402) of Managing by Design and the case study on Building Full Commitment.


Pursuing the targets (and thereby ensuring the top-level objectives are fulfilled) is a matter for each process team. At some level of the business, all of the top level objectives will rely on particular activities performing better than they are currently. Process Teams take responsibility for methodically analysing the reasons for the shortfall (the gap between their agreed targets and their current performance), for putting in place plans to correct the shortfall, and for systematically ensuring the plans deliver the required performance profile to schedule (See Flag Plans in the panel on Local Management). Further information on such process responsibilities can be found in Chapter 14 and Chapter 22 of Managing by Design, and Chapter 6 of How to Build a Better Business.


Once responsibility for the top-level targets is fully deployed and in operation, two main issues remain for the Management Team: Is their logic on deployment (QFD) accurate? And, are the process teams effectively fulfilling their responsibility? Shortfalls in predicted performance are usually an indicator of one or the other of these things. Management meetings are constructed around identifying any such shortfalls, correlating them with process shortfalls (a test of the logic), and ensuring the process response is systematic (a test of responsibility). Key to making these meetings effective is the use of Quadrant Chart reporting. Further information on these disciplines can be found in Chapter 25 (Page 406), Chapter 24 and Chapter 21 of Managing by Design.


Despite its rigour, the Management Meeting is still largely, and necessarily, results centric (it uses results as a key indicator of the quality of logic and approach). Process centric reviews, because of their more involved nature, are impractical on a frequent basis. But they are still essential to sustained progress, and are usually undertaken on an annual basis. This annual approach is referred to as Review and Audit, and is extensively covered in the Review and Audit panel. Further information on Review and Audit can be found in Appendix 10 of Managing by Design and Chapter 8 of How to Build a Better Business.

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