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Change Management

A Hierarchy of Information Requirements

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It’s a common problem statement – ‘I don’t have enough information to (run my business unit, manage this process, identify opportunities, etc.)’. The solution designer, when faced with a question like this, starts with a little detective work; the problem is too broadly stated.

<aside> This part of the project is itself an example of the problem – “I don’t have enough information to define the problem of “I don’t have enough information to …’ “<aside>

And, after a little detective work, we will probably find one or more of the following is correct:

  • The information [to run my business] does not exist (KM, BB)
  • The information exists, but I do not know that it exists
    • I am unaware that it exists (KM)
    • I suspect it exists, but I do not know how to find it (KM)
    • I suspect it exists, but I cannot find it (KM, BB)
  • The information exists, and I know that it exists, but I cannot access it
    • I am prevented from access due to security requirements (BB)
    • I have no data access tool (BB)
    • I have a data access tool, but I do not know where the data source is and how to connect to it (KM)
  • The information exists, and I know that it exists, and I can access it, but I don’t understand what I am looking at
    • I do not know how to use the data access tool (KM)
    • I know how to use the data access tool, but I do not understand the domain / terms / concepts (KM, BB)
    • I know how to use the data access tool, I understand the domain, but I do not understand the data structures (KM)
    • I know how to use the data access tool, I understand the domain, but the metadata is confusing (KM, BB)
  • The information exists, and I know that it exists, but I don’t want to access it – I want my team to access it, and feed me the results
    • My team complains about issues above (?!?)
    • My team only answers my questions – they don’t do any proactive analysis (KM)

A wide range of root causes, and as you read down the list, it’s easy to imagine the range of solutions that could be brought to bear. I have broadly classified solutions for these problems in the list:

  • KM – Knowledge Management: Some level of documentation, training, knowledge capture, and/or knowledge sharing will be involved
  • BB – Build or Buy: Includes any technical work, like building a custom solutions, buying and implementing packaged software, and/or configuring the software / information store.

I find it interesting that KM is required in almost all (10 of 13) of the solution cases above, and a “technology solution” (aka I need to Build or Buy something) is required less than half of the time (7 of 13). And how about that little People Management issue that sneaks in near the end …

Discussion

One comment for “A Hierarchy of Information Requirements”

  1. […] ⋅ May 20, 2010 ⋅  Print This Post ⋅ Post a comment As we continue the deep dive into questions like “how do I get information required to run my business?”, we […]

    Posted by cazh1 | A “New” Critical Requirement for Business Projects (Part 1 of 4) | May 20, 2010, 10:38 pm

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