Every company willing to structure and improve its functioning and efficiency makes use of different types of “frameworks” or other “best practices” libraries. These frameworks prove to be very helpful because they allow to benefit from others experience, to comply to industry standards, to increase quality, customer satisfaction, etc.
Frameworks in the field of Service Management, Enterprise Architecture, Process Maturity, Quality improvement, etc are for most of them a set of best practices. But knowing which best practices to implement, the “what”, does not explain “how” to practically implement them.
This is the role of methodology i.e. a set of methods and procedures describing “how” to reach a result. Frameworks and methodology are complementary; they are respectively the goal to attain and the mean to reach it. So selecting a framework is only part of the job.
The contribution of methodology is not limited to the actual implementation of the chosen framework. Prior to that it is necessary to clearly identify what are the needs we are willing to address with these best practices. Each company has also its own characteristics and it is rare that a framework can be applied as such, out-of-the-box. There is inevitably an adaption effort to provide, e.g. because not all best practices are applicable in a specific context, because a re-organisation of the company is required, …
There are consequently three inevitable steps to an efficient application of a best practices standard: “clarify” (the needs), “choose” and “adapt”. Each of these phases requires method and resources.
Let’s imagine that this has all been properly done. How do we know that we are successful ? That the expected value is delivered i.e. that the framework implementation is effective (“fit for purpose”) and efficient (“fit for use”) ? Well, we need to measure. Most companies have their key performance indicators (KPIs) already in place, for those who don’t or need to adapt the existing ones, this is a fourth item of expenditure …
All this may seem obvious or common sense but the observation of actual implementations shows that it is not always the case. For example, some frameworks can be mainly selected for commercial purposes: compliance, certification, sales, … Their selection is consequently not always done in conjunction with the actual internal needs of the company. Nevertheless, the implementation of these frameworks have consequences on the functioning of the company, they have an impact on its “metabolism”, positive or negative, and consequently on its health.
In conclusion, there are four main aspects for an effective framework implementation:
- Needs identification
- Framework selection
- Framework adaptation and implementation
- KPIs definition and implementation
The “framework selection” phase is not the most expensive part as an exhaustive business case would show. The other steps are the most resource hungry and cannot be spared. When they are, it is at the expense of the overall efficiency and effectiveness.