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Rapid requirements development for critical digital transformation

A rapid, outcomes focussed approach to prepare for transformational change. Getting the requirements right for a digital transformation is hard enough, but it also needs to be done fast and build momentum for change.

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The Problem

Brooke’s client had a federal remit to provide a critical support service to the community. They had spent considerable time and resources developing requirements for a new IT platform to support the transformation of their core delivery processes, and thereby deliver this service, with the objectives of:

  • Increasing process efficiency and improving the customer experience,
  • Upgrading to sustainable and scalable technology solutions,
  • Simplifying the current technology stack to reduce IT operational costs

However, after 18 months of work, the transformation program had to be paused because the requirements work had descended to a very low level of detail that no one really understood, and it was clear that these objectives would not be met because:

  • Extensive customisation of the chosen technology platform would be required, significantly increasing on-going costs and IT risk to the business,
  • The requirements were essentially a collection of wish-lists that replicated current thinking and practices and added complexity (rather than simplifying)

Our client needed to get their project back on track. Brooke was engaged to design new core processes that would meet the key project transformation objectives and to a level of detail that would enable our client to effectively engage a new partner to design and build a system that would be fit for purpose now and into the future.

Given the difficulties and frustrations of the previous 18 months it was critical that this work reset and re-energised the wider transformation program.

Thinking Differently

Our client knew that they needed to think differently to get the results they wanted for their organisation. They needed Brooke’s outcome-based design expertise, focussed on the broader business outcomes and capabilities they needed to be successful, as the basis for then defining the system requirements. They also understood that they needed to change the way they thought about their business and to become more customer-centric, and that a successful transformation program involves much more than just the implementation of new technology.

Using Brooke’s 6D rapid problem-solving and design methodology, we worked collaboratively in a series of workshops with the client’s dedicated core design team to go back to basics and agree what the problem was, the outcomes they were seeking, and what success looked like for all stakeholders. Once this was agreed, we used the same workshop structure to redesign their processes at successive levels of detail, from the top-down. These redesigned processes and workflows were then translated into technology agnostic functional requirements that were sufficiently detailed to enable an implementation partner to be engaged, but not so detailed that they precluded innovation, input and accountability from the new partner.

In addition, the high level people requirements (jobs, skills, reporting lines etc) and management control systems required to support the redesigned processes were also developed, along with the changes needed to cultural norms. This allowed the client to take a more holistic and “business-led” approach to
the transformation.

Doing Differently

Brooke’s 6Ds methodology harnesses the expertise of the client team, by allowing practitioners and SME’s to co-design the future operating model (processes, people, systems, controls, culture) in a structured and outcomes-focused way. We work with a dedicated cross-functional core team, supported by a wider “reference group” of SMEs and key stakeholders. This not only builds transformational change capability, but also drives ownership of the design and embeds collaborative working skills in the core team, enabling them to act as change agents for the broader organisation.

In 8 weeks, Brooke supported the rapid redesign of our client’s core processes and the high-level future operating model and developed the corresponding high level functional requirements. In the process we engaged the wider organisation and started (re)building momentum for change. We also built the capability of the core team to the extent that they were able to independently apply our methodology to other processes in parallel with our engagement. At the conclusion of our work the client was therefore able to move forward confidently and to accelerate their transformation program.

Meaningful Results

  • Gained clarity and alignment on the root cause problem and the overall business outcomes and measures of success,
  • Changed the way the key stakeholders thought, from “a new IT system” to a “business transformation” outcome,
  • Increased the understanding of what it takes to deliver a true transformational change and project delivery approaches and capabilities needed for success,
  • Delivered a complete integrated package of outcomes-based re-designed processes and workflows and their corresponding functional requirements,
  • Engaged key stakeholders and the wider organisation,
  • Identified opportunities to accelerate the transformation program, which the client is now pursuing,
  • Built the capability of the client to collaborate across silos and to undertake future “whole of business” design work

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