‘magic wand’ or ‘the usual crap’?

My colleague Chris Taylor recently returned from a Nepalese hiking holiday with some useful and relevant perspectives on the old thorny issue of ‘as-is’ versus ‘to-be‘, inspired bizarrely by hiking boots!!

I thought I’d weigh in briefly as I’ve seen lots of companies struggle with this issue. On balance I’d agree with Chris and I’ll state a few additional reasons  to what Chris has already mentioned (read his post to get the rest of what I think):

  • gaining buy-in for process change is hugely important, we all know that. Presenting a crap ‘as-is’ process is a fantastic way to gain shop-floor buy-in to change, as people are metaphorically smacked in the head about how bad the existing process can sometimes be. It becomes apparent to everybody that change is required and the resistance frequently magically vanishes.
  • baselining processes change is usually not easy to do however is often crucial to further process initiatives within an organization. If you can show a valid and valuable ROI on completed process change your internal business case is dramatically simpler to get by the people holding the budget. Obviously mapping ‘as-is’ gives you the tool to help this business case.
  • IT implementations -I’ll explain in another post a real world example where mapping as-is would have potentially saved literally millions

You’ll note above that I said ‘on balance’, let me clarify: In an ideal world I think it is absolutely the right thing to do, however most of us don’t live in one. I’ve seen countless situations where senior executives will not be convinced as they want the ‘magic wand’ picture as quickly and as cheaply as possible.

Sometimes we need to be pragmatic, which might mean lying  being economical with the truth…. a ‘skunk works’ workstream building a certain amount of as-is in order to baseline, hidden from prying financial eyes, can be immensely valuable to the ongoing project/program and to your chances of being able to continue…


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