You have drawn lines of outcome pictures. This optional stage will prove that the outcome pictures are ready for the first risk assessment of your business plan.
You will benefit from proving and tidying the outcome pictures. The benefit is less from building your own assurance, and more from sharing that assurance with others. The important others will be your team and your boss.
You can make this stage fairly brief, with a view to undertaking further review and refinement later. You can catch up on work not done in this stage, when you are identifying and analysing individual risks.
You will be rewarded by spending the extra time early. Getting the pictures right now will make the risk analysis stage cleaner, quicker, and more reassuring.
If your set of outcome pictures is to be used by others, or to be seen by a substantial audience, the benefits are bigger. You will get the extra benefit by doing the systematic review and editing before your audience sees the pictures. The other risk steps won’t have to wait for your review and editing.
You might want to recruit a risk specialist for the consolidation and polishing work, even if they don’t go to the full-scale formal review. The polishing work does not need your expert knowledge of the business. Their specialised skills might help with presentation and credibility.
Working on your picture collection usually makes it smaller and simpler. You will generally prefer to fit your pictures into a matrix on one page. Your first draft picture collections probably won’t fit on a page. If that’s a problem, see below for ‘Small is beautiful.’
These steps all help to prove that your collection is ready to use. Each step has drill-down links to more detail, if you need it.
Check similar pictures appearing for multiple objectives.
If similar pictures appear in different places, it means that either
- at least one of the pictures is not aligned with its objective, or
- the objectives are overlapping or dependent.
Before digging any deeper, consider whether there is a need to re-organise the objectives, or whether to move (or remove) one of the pictures.
Review each picture on its own.
- Each picture must describe the outcome, not something on the way to the outcome or an indicator.
- Each picture shows the period outcome, not a specific incident during the period.
- Each picture should produce an emotion, instantly.
- The picture should match the way the year is remembered in the future.
If you’re not happy that each picture works in these ways, the way to get to the outcome picture is through asking ‘so what’ as many times as necessary.
Review the pictures in each cell.
A cell contains one or more pictures of a success/failure level on the same objective.
- Make sure the pictures in one cell work together and don’t fight.
Review the line of outcome pictures for each objective.
- Any outcome on the objective must match exactly one cell. The pictures must be inclusive and mutually exclusive.
- Pictures in different cells generate different emotions.
- No pictures are missing. You get a clue that something is missing when a picture shows something that you don’t see at all in a cell next to it.
Review the collection of outcome pictures as a whole.
- Sometimes a positive objective is the complement of a negative objective and the outcomes can be merged into one sequence for one objective. That is a primary method for making your collection smaller (see below).
The order of your own review and change activity isn’t too important, and may well loop around.
Sub-objectives can be useful.
Reviewing continuity across cells can be easier if each objective is split into sub-objectives, each representing one aspect of the outcome.
If you are using a vertical column of cells for each objective, you may find it convenient to add a horizontal breakdown by sub-objective.
If you have your whole picture collection in a large matrix, with objectives on the vertical axis, sub-objectives fit better as extra rows within each objective.
Small is beautiful.
On the other hand, you may want to have your matrix fit on one normally-sized page. In that case you would not show sub-objectives at all.
I have generally found it useful to create a full version, and to maintain a parallel ‘executive summary’ version on one page. The full version usually has sub-objectives. The one-page version leaves out the sub-objectives, and other detail to the extent necessary to match the one-page format.
- The objectives and success-failure levels always match one-to one across the two versions. Sub-objectives are summarised into the objectives.
- You might not show the outcomes better than success, if they will not be appreciated by the audience.
- The short version might abbreviate the objectives to short labels. That would save space and reduce the word count. Once you have pictures of planned success, those success pictures are more vivid and informative than the original definition of the objective.
- The pictures in all cells can be summarised and aggregated. You can compromise precision and completeness in the one-page summary.
It would undermine the core purposes of the picture collection if the summary did not show the picture of success, the worst imaginable outcomes, and at least some of the pictures in between.
Readers should know that the short version of the picture collection is just that, and that the full version is loaded with rigour, detail, and precision. You may even want to bore them with some details of how much work you put into it.
You can make the one-page matrix of outcome pictures look like a typical consequence scale or matrix, of the kind your audience has seen before.
Your picture collection will have more assurance value if it is tidy and presented well. And that’s just the assurance value for you. For other people, appearance and clarity can make all the difference to how your risk assurances are received.
Make sure that anyone seeing the picture collection will understand how it works, what it is, and what it is not. It is a replacement for a consequence scale or consequence matrix, specific to your work unit. It is not a ‘level of risk’ matrix or a risk register. You know that already, but those are the other items your audience may be expecting to see.
|Everyone||Version 3.0 Beta|
|Everyone||Version 3.0 Beta|
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