Thursday, January 13, 2011

Turnaround Toolbox - Set Scope and Accountability for the team

Having explored what everybody thinks we should do - Expectations - and getting control of how folks engage us - Inputs - it's time to set the scope for the team.  

Scope includes all the tasks we do, products we deliver, and also what we're accountable for.

Tasks and Deliverables:  
For each task your team does and deliverable you produce, you need to know the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How.  

Who on the team does the work?  If the task is one-deep, who would provide secondary, and tertiary coverage?  A lot of times you find these little one off items that one person knows about and knows how to do.  If it's going to stay in your box, you must be able to support it through vacations, resignations, etc.  Counting on a single person is an unacceptable risk.

What is the task?  Is it an operational procedure, document creation, external communication?  Categorizing the What of items makes it easier to organize them for documentation and assignment.

Where does the activity occur?  What you want to understand here is whether it's location specific.  Manning a teller window in a bank is location specific.  Creating a spreadsheet from a report can probably be done anywhere.

When and with what frequency does the activity happen - or need to happen?  You might find that you have tasks at a frequency that you're not staffed for.  For instance 24/7 operational monitoring without 24/7 staffing.  It might still stay in your scope, but with a different How component.     

Why do you do it?  Everything must be supported by a compelling reason - everything you do comes at a price.  Arriving at the cost can be difficult when nobody has to write a discrete check for the item, but it's important to get some idea.  Is it a good value?  Does it mitigate a risk?  Does it meet a contractual or regulatory requirement?

How is it done?  If we don't have documentation we'll need it - either to keep the task, or to transition it to a more appropriate home.   

A few words about accountability.  If it's in your box, you are accountable for it.  Given that, you want to make sure that you have control over everything in your box.  This means you must push out stuff where you're just the middle man.  Being the middle man is fine if you add some value and you limit your accountability to your performance as the middle man.  

The most important thing is that you do not want to end up accountable for things you cannot control.  So if your job is to predict or report on the sunrise - that's fine - if somebody expects you to control the sunrise - well that's a recipe for disappointment.

So, figure out what your team should do, make sure you can perform, and limit your accountability to things that you can control.

Thanks for reading - Mike

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