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Sustaining Virtual Processes with Situational Adaptation Planning and IT Business Management

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The past few weeks have brought about many sudden changes for all of us. When it comes to business, the most notable is a focus on converting all daily processes to their virtual adaptation. When considering this, the old proverb ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ rings loudly true and our forced adaptation comes with the potential for an enormous opportunity with what could be long-ranging and permanent benefits.

Our IT Business Management (ITBM) practice has responded to resounding client demand to help them quickly leverage aspects of ServiceNow maturity not yet conquered to sustain their processes through virtual means until this challenging situation has passed.

As part of that response, we’ve created a three-part blog series to cover;

  • Situational Adaptation Planning
  • Adapting in ServiceNow
  • Returning to a (New) Normal

To begin, we’re starting with the critical areas of situational adaption planning including how to identify your highest priorities and forming a contingency plan.

Situational Adaptation Planning

In any unexpected situation, when a speedy adaptation to new requirements forces an on-the-dime pivot, a plan of approach is needed to ensure that all bases are covered. Here are five areas of focus to offer food for thought relating to your organization’s action plan.

Focus One: Create a People Plan

Before any other steps can be planned, planners must be identified to divide and conquer the work that must be done. Carefully review options to define the roles most critical to supporting your fundamental processes. Ensure clear boundaries to ensure that nothing is lost in translation.  Include redundancy in your planning to provide for coverage and allow for the unexpected.

Once this basis is formed, immediately share the information to all related parties to ensure that timely communication can happen between the right roles and key decisions that can be made to keep your business moving and reduce disruption.

Focus Two: Identify Highest Priorities

In any situation where resources are constrained, maintaining the operational state becomes priority number one, but what happens with what can be significant project investments that are underway?

IT Leadership should reconsider both operational and project support.  Key considerations can include:

Operations:

  • Are all service offerings required at this time and, if so, what level of coverage is required? Can any offerings be suspended?
  • What resources are required to cover operational resources? Can any be re-purposed for project investments?
  • Are Service-Level-Agreements still in effect? What changes are required and what could be the resource impact?

Project Investments:

  • Review Project Priority listing – are your priorities still the same, in these new circumstances?
  • What projects can be placed on hold, if needed, without incurring losses, financial or progress?
  • What projects have 3rd party labor, such as staff augmentation, or vendor engagement? What are the options relating to these contracts?  If staff augmented resources are released, will those specific resources be available to return once full operations return?
  • If some lower priority projects are halted, can resources be repurposed to ensure the delivery of higher? All options should be on the table to meet the need for the investments that are most critical to your organization’s success?

Other Considerations:

  • What are the mandatory compliance requirements?
  • If serving clients, how best to meet those commitments?
  • If obliged under contract with another entity, how best to meet that need during this time?
  • Are any new demands required? Any temporary demands?

Focus Three: Formulate a Contingency Plan

How we adapt is always key to our success from both personal and professional perspectives.  Your teams are expecting a plan – their confidence is tied to yours. Show them the way.

Get agile and inclusive – genuinely welcome all new ideas for how you can improve. Remember that innovation is born when we are challenged – invite and encourage your team to bring new ideas and process improvement to the table. These are concepts that you can keep in the return to a steady-state.

To that, we recommend the trusted and true Plan-Do-Check-Act approach. Set a plan and make adaptations, then do it again, and again. Set the starting cycle – set the starting plan. The trials, errors, and learning that follows will lead your team to the right, best processes, if you hold true to the method. The value is in your evolution – not the end game, more often than not.

Focus Four: Communicate and Enable

If there are two areas that normally suffer when we get busy with other things, it’s the focus on high-quality communications and ongoing enablement. We remember these things in a situation like this when we want to make sure that all parties are aligned on a plan, roles and responsibilities, and how to support processes and services.

Although it may feel counter-intuitive to revisit these 2 concepts during a time when fewer resources may be available, now is actually the best time because the full importance and value become abundantly clear. It’s also likely that success in a situational occurrence like this one will rely heavily upon both.

Our recommendation is to focus first on three core communication concepts, to get something up and running quickly. Refinement can happen when more time is available.

Focus Five: Retain Gains as (New) Normal

As part of defining your roles, assign someone the task of tracking the changes and your organization’s response to the changes, as noted above. Once you move back – or forward – into your (new) norm, retain what is useful and make those changes permanent.

Stay tuned for parts two and three of this blog series where we will discuss how businesses are adapting in ServiceNow and how you can take steps to adjust to a new normal. In the meantime, be sure to check out our full IT Business Management eBook or reach out to us if you have immediate questions for your business.

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