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Development Procedures for Building Effective Management Systems: Phase III

Before beginning our discussion of The Development Phase, let's recap. In Phase I (Discovery) we learned how your organization specifies the project mission, objectives and effectiveness criteria. Phase II (Planning) entailed setting requirements for project tools, budgets and schedules to manage your project.

Strong Policy and Procedure System

Now, I'm no entertainment mogul, but The Development Phase reminds me of producing a Hollywood movie. When we sit in a theater and watch the latest blockbuster, we see a finished product and assume it was made pretty much as it looks. And we would be wrong. Making a movie, much like the process of building a strong policy and procedure system, is a non-linear process with a tremendous amount of "behind the scenes" support.

Management and Project Leader

Just as every great movie is guided by a talented Director; your effort to build an effective management system requires a skilled Project Leader. The role is especially critical in the Development Phase because it is during this stage that the time, effort and expense of the entire project cast is involved, and much like the actual shooting phase of a film production, it can consume up to 50% of your project cost.

What skills make a strong Project Leader? Besides the obvious qualities of good organizational, communication and time management skills, I include policy and procedure or process development expertise. Depending on your staff, this may require an outside resource.

Policy and Procedures Document Control

You might be surprised to learn that movies are seldom shot in "linear sequence"... that is, from start to finish. For a number of reasons, the director will organize scenes into groups that are filmed "out of sequence," then edited into their correct place. Similarly, your firm will want to conduct the Development Phase by organizing related processes into a grouping and then completing these before going on to the next set.

Your development work will begin by establishing a policy and procedures document control flow and format (think of these as setting the stage). Next your assigned writers will craft the actual documents from base materials (refining the script). Then a process walk through is performed and tested for compliance and effectiveness (Dress rehearsal). Once this process grouping is completed, you move on to another set.

Development Process

At the end of a film, I'm always amazed at the long scroll of credits after the actor's names. It takes a tremendous amount of resources to make it all happen, and your development process is no different. You'll rely on valuable support documents such as job descriptions, forms, technical manuals, training programs and reference material to develop your new management system.

Documentation, Assessment and Review

A motion picture can't be released until all the scenes are shot and edited. Likewise, you will want to complete the process documentation and a review of ALL your processes as a completed system before moving on to the next phase - Implementation.

The Development Phase should take 2-4 months, depending on the number of processes, compliance requirements and skills of the writers/reviewers.

Next time, we will look at the implementation phase, and see just what is involved.

Chris Anderson is currently the managing director of Bizmanualz, Inc. andco-author of policies and procedures manuals, producing the layout, process design and implementation to increase performance.

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