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One of the most critical stages in the lifecycle of a change is its definition of scope. The scope of a change is that area of the business that will be different when the change has been implemented.  It can be described as its area of direct impact. Unfortunately, this is typically done from a narrow specialist mindset such as IT, human resources or facilities management and the true scope is seldom identified.  In these cases a change has failure built in from its earliest definition.  We've all seen reorganisations that result in not much more than ambiguous responsibilities, new IT systems that the users don't understand and office moves that take months to recover from. 


Without a full assessment of scope, a change definition is incomplete, cannot be properly developed or implemented, and the business cannot be properly prepared to accept the change. The scope of any change has to be thought of from a holistic mindset.  


Proper change scope definition requires a comprehensive understanding of how the business looks from a number of different perspectives and how these different perspectives inter-relate. Without this type of model of the business (often called the Enterprise Architecture, as represented by the Zachman Framework) the implications of changing one component on the rest of the business cannot be fully assessed. For example, upgrading a computer operating system may require changes to the applications that run under that system, that in turn may impact processes and require new skill-sets for the users.

The above diagram provides a generic model showing seven perspectives and some of their inter-relationships. This simple framework can prove very powerful in helping define the scope of a potential business change.  Few changes will impact only one of these perspectives.  These multiple perspectives can be thought of as the 4th dimension of the Wedge Framework

In each perspective there needs to be a consistent model of how the business is constructed and operates.  Some of the more obvious and simple examples are organisation hierarchy charts, process flow diagrams, system diagrams and floor plans but they could also include more abstract models such as behavioural dynamics models or IT network simulations.  Whatever the level of detail and sophistication, the important thing is that they are current, comprehensive and understandable. 

The real power of this approach comes from using a common model for defining all changes.  If every change is mapped onto the same overall business model then it becomes a simple matter to identify the inter-relationships and dependencies between changes.  Only then can Unified Business Change ManagementTM be achieved.         

Please contact us if you are interested in properly scoping your changes or you simply want to discuss any of the points raised here.


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