When RASCI #2321 is not enough

You know you have a program that is set up to fail when:

There are two thousand three hundred twenty one RASCIs and still no one knows what they are supposed to do and what they are not supposed to do.  And they spend all their time protecting what they think they should do and arguing with the other guy about what they should and shouldn’t be doing.

I’ve been on a program like that.  Every other day someone wanted to create yet another RASCI (if you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky) at yet another level of detail to attempt to take responsibility for something; or better yet to place blame on someone else for something that’s not going so well.  Needless to say, not much was getting done except to fight over who did or didn’t do what to who.

I’ve also been on a program where there were no RASCIs at all.  WHAT, not even one?  This was a program where people knew whether they were a screwdriver or a butter knife (see http://visionpeak.wordpress.com/2012/02/01/the-butter-knife-and-the-screwdriver/) and had no desire to be anything else.  Everyone was busy, contributing, and being recognized so it wasn’t necessary to worry about what the butter knife was doing; being a screwdriver was enough. Not only was it enough; it was fun!

Why do you suppose that was?  I believe it’s because every person could see in their own mind exactly where the program was headed.  And people all saw the same picture.  Everyone knew what was required to get there and what their role was (screwdriver or butter knife) in getting there.  They also believed that it took both the screwdrivers and the butter knives to get there, neither was enough alone and neither could do the other’s job near as well.  Trust was implicit.

So how did that come to be?  In this case, investment was made “up front” to create that common vision of what success looked like.  Along with that was a description of what and who was required to get there; both the screwdrivers and the butter knives.  All this, before the implementation program was even launched; there wasn’t a systems integrator in sight (or billing by the RASCI line).  For this program it wasn’t so much about how it was going to be done; it was about figuring out what to do first.

The payback?  An implementation program that was on time and under budget.

Sometimes I twitch when I hear RASCI.  Maybe you might need one RASCI, but many more than that and you’re probably headed for a program that is set up to fail.  And if you feel you need to have that one, it’s best to not have too many lines…

Don’t twitch!

© Ellen Terwilliger 2012


Why the Manifest Vision Solutions Blog?


My name is Ellen Terwilliger.  Over the last 20+ years I have been responsible for global business applications for a number of Fortune 500 companies.  I love apps!  But more, I love the value that is received when people, process and technology work together end-to-end and make a difference.

My husband, who is in the home health care field and knows absolutely nothing about business, asked me over the years to describe what I do and why I like it.  This is the best way I’ve learned to explain it:

What I do is like putting together jigsaw puzzles.  And not those cute 100 piece puppy dog puzzles either.  In these jigsaw puzzles you don’t know how many pieces there are, the pieces are all cut in similar ways, the picture is the same on the front and the back, the borders are not straight but misshapen and there is often more than one way to complete the puzzle.  Sometimes the puzzles are even 3D!  Putting the puzzle together correctly is like getting a business to run effectively and efficiently.  In addition, I don’t actually touch the puzzle pieces; I influence others to describe and understand them, move them around and ultimately make them fit.  Of course over time I have seen a lot of puzzles and a lot of pieces; but it’s important every time we do a puzzle that everyone working on the puzzle has the same view of the pieces, and the puzzle.  Doing jigsaw puzzles is complex, it’s never works the same way twice and something unexpected always happens.  I thrive on the variety!  Like putting the puzzle together, making business run well is challenging but when it all comes together, it looks cool, is incredibly satisfying and a lot of fun!  I love what I do!

This blog is intended to share experiences and lessons I’ve learned while completing those jigsaw puzzles.  I hope it will help business leaders and anyone involved in attempting to make large-scale change to avoid some pitfalls or better yet, learn something that will make a difference and help you be successful.

Do you like jigsaw puzzles?

© Ellen Terwilliger 2012

The Value of Vision and Solution Description

Have you ever spent millions on a program only to discover it didn’t deliver all that was expected?  Or maybe you found that only one part of the situation was being addressed and other larger opportunities were being ignored or even damaged.  I recall a data center that was built with a window to allow secure visibility.  The only problem was the huge cooling unit that completely blocked the window.  Oops!  I am sure you have a few stories of your own.

I have been a part of a few programs that didn’t quite deliver all they could.  But I have also had the fortune to be on programs that were wildly successful beyond all expectations.  I can say that the latter were a lot more fun!  In seeking to repeat the fun experiences, I analyzed the core differences between the two (and yes, I have read the literature too).  In my experience, the successful programs had vision and solution descriptions that informed everyone on the program how to make decisions in their area.  Each and every person saw the same picture of what success looked like and knew which way to go.  Talk about rapid decision making!

For instance, I was on the leadership team of a global ERP implementation for a $2B company.  The vision for the program was: “Any product or service quoted and then ordered on a single purchase order by the customer”.  The outcome was ease of doing business and customer satisfaction.  Of course there were exceptions to the vision; but people knew to escalate so appropriate decisions could be made.  Recognized as hugely successful by the CEO at an all company meeting, the program came in on time and underbudget.  Pretty powerful stuff; not to mention the awesome party we had with some of the savings!

Here’s another example of the importance of vision: Why Vision is More Important than Strategy

The figure above shows that enormous value is received by your entire organization through the investments made in manifesting your vision and describing your solutions.  And the value continues to flow down into the functions and the people that execute to your vision.  Compared to the time, money and resources required for execution, the investment made in vision and solution is minimal and returned many times over.

What value can you receive through vision and solution description?

© Ellen Terwilliger 2012