This morning I started investigating how to structure and document the approach I’ve been developing the past several years on effective and efficient management of IT Resources. This suggests I create a new Consulting Practice and associated services that comprise that practice. As I researched how to document the approach and practice I was surprised to find that the majority of the consulting literature that describes designing a practice is more concerned with the management of the practice as a business than the delivery of the approach to the client. This seemed rather odd till I considered that this area was developed by the management consulting which is more concerned with the management of activities than the execution of actual activities themselves. [a little harsh judgment but if you do the math you’ll find little documentation about this domain compared with management theory and approaches]
That said, this morning I stared at a blank white board and considered using process models as base. I had used those to define strategy and marketing processes before which were very similar in how they are performed. That settled the next item for me to address was getting several terms defined to ensure consistency as I develop both the practice and the book. With that goal in mind here are the first few terms in my taxonomy with a first draft of definitions to go along with them:
Practice – a set of services assembled to provide a specific benefit or benefits for a client. The services are delivered through the performance of a specific set of activities as defined by the practice’s methodology.
Service – a ordered set of activities that provide defined benefit for the client. Services are delivered through the performance of a specific set of ordered activities (methodology) that provide artifacts and the desired results for the client.
Methodology – an ordered set of procedures, actions, artifacts (work products and deliverables) that when performed create a predictable and repeatable result that is beneficial to the client.
Artifact – A physical representation of information or decisions used or made during the performance of an activity. Examples include work products that are used as inputs to an activity, procedures guides, assessment tools, and or deliverables such a status reports, final reports or directives that relate decisions or activities that others will act upon.
Workshop – Workshops are the primary means to perform the methodology and deliver the service to a client. A workshop consists of a series of activities, each with an input, exercise, output, and checkpoint. The input will consist of at least a guidance slide deck and possibly other work products requests for support of the exercise. These work products may be either client documents to reference or templates the client has been asked to complete prior to the workshop. During the workshop participants will be asked to perform one to several exercises. These exercises are designed to transform data into meaningful information, actionable insights or decisions to be later acted upon.
Exercises – Exercises are structured tasks the participants are asked to perform that manipulate the data and information. The objective of these exercises is to transform the data into decisions that support the enterprise’s goals and objectives. How to perform these exercises is defined in the guidance deck or methodology guide, work instructions for supporting templates and/or user’s guide for tools if used within the exercise.