Critical Goal Analysis (A SPRINT Phase II task)
This task is crucial, indeed it is the crux of Phase II. It involves focusing all the strands of enquiry so far on the following two questions:
- What are the business goals relevant to the process context?
- How well are they supported by the current processes and support system?
In the course of the investigation so far, various goals will have been identified, especially in the stakeholder interviews. Each of these goals will now be examined in detail.
An important distinction is to be made between: operational and business goals.
Operational goals are typically very concrete and mechanistic. Bureaucratic requirements are typical of such goals, e.g. that agendas must be circulated 6 days before a committee meeting.
Business goals, on the other hand, are typically more abstract: e.g. Enabling the interests of local communities to be represented in operational decision-making.
Behind any operational goal there will (should!) be a business goal (either a current or a historical one). It is vital to go behind operational goals and identify the business goals driving them: operational goals (and the operational process supporting them) merely reflect the concrete way that business goals are currently implemented. In essence, BPR is about the exploitation of I.T. to provide more effective mechanisms for achieving business objectives. Unless the analysis goes beyond operational goals, this will not be achieved.
For each business goal, the following key issues should be addressed:
- What is the goal?
- Who are the primary stakeholders?
- How does it relate to the overall strategic aims of the organisation?
- How well is the goal currently achieved?
- What are the Critical Success Factors for this goal (i.e. those general conditions that must be satisfied if the goal is to be realised)
- To what degree does the baseline process assist in the achievement of this goal
- What other support systems exist in relation to this goal
- How could the goal be measured? Ideas for metrics?
- How does IT/IS contribute?
Goal analysis involves a drawing together of the various investigative tasks that have been undertaken throughout phase I - and analysing the business processes against both operational and business goals.
Various tools can be used to help in this, such as tabular summaries, which align business processes against specific goals; and Goal Network Diagrams, which help indicate the interrelationship and dependencies between different goals.
The outcomes of a Critical Goal Analysis will form an important part of the Phase I report, and will enable the formulation of initial recommendations that can feed into Phase II of the project.
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