Concept Formation

The 80/20 rule is in full force when it comes to the topic of concept formation -- that period in a project from project initiation through requirements, through the measured analysis of several project concepts culminating in a final concept selection. Done correctly, this process takes about 20% of the total project time but is very often what is holding up 80% of the downstream design, build, test and deployment. It is also that very critical area where 80% of the project completion and recurring costs are baked-in. It’s no wonder that the executive team is often risk averse to proceed beyond the Concept Selection gate, and why many folks feel they are in a career threatening position. The end result yields a Concept Formation™ bottleneck.

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People and Processes are at the center of the Concept Formation™ bottleneck so it's worth exploring some of the factors. Every well-run company devises a Business Strategy and various members of the executive team are charged with the development and execution of Tactics to fulfill the Business Strategy. In this formal top down planning, several planning items come into focus: the Strategic multi-year operating plan (SOP), the Annual Operating Plan (AOP) devised in the context of the SOP. These plans result in a pairing of Projects to be executed, Allocated Budget factored by the perceived value weight of these projects in supporting the business. In general, it is safe to assume that if budget is specifically allocated to a project, then the executive team sees a benefit to the realization of the strategy; the corollary is, unfulfilled business tactics result in opportunity cost to the business.

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Accelerating concept formation responsibly while maintaining consistent quality is the answer to the bottleneck. Consider some of the factors influencing the people at this stage of the process:

  • Many, hard, far reaching decisions
  • Hierarchical communication impediments
  • Project management challenges
  • Ambiguous tasks

And Regarding Process:

  • Encumbered methodology
  • Unclear solution architecture requirements
  • Risk aversion
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To avoid opportunity cost and unfulfilled strategy the project portfolio needs to be aggressively managed, and the bottleneck needs to be opened by helping the most competent staff to achieve more. The business processes around concept formation need to support architecture clarity and risk mitigation.

Your most competent staff members know what to do.

It generally comes down to bandwidth of the individuals with the skills sets required for the project phase -- need versus the availability of the skill sets. It’s also true that a high achiever in your organization may possess unique product skills without project definition or process methodology background.

Leverage TransR resources -- Project Concept Formation™ is our core competency!

TransR Corporation skill needed vs availability part one
TransR Corporation skill needed vs availability part two

TransR's business case analytics provides the very tools required to open up the Concept Formation™ bottleneck. A solid business case contains the definition of Scope, Requirements, Schedule, Project Investment, Project Return, and Risk assessment with risk mitigation plans accounted for within the budget and schedule.

TransR Corporation skill needed vs availability part two

Our Process Optimization Services and Adapted Six Sigma & Lean Methods provide rigor to our approach and allow us to specifically target those areas providing the maximum benefit and to prioritize the portfolio of projects to execute.

We’ve established a repeatable process to achieve concept formation, and aggressively manage the execution of the structured tasks in our plan. And lastly, without sufficient project governance from the executive team through to the SMEs, continuity falters, and definiteness of purpose wanes. For a business process transformation project of this importance, the opportunity cost is unacceptable, and we strive to ensure success through proper project governance.

TransR resources can bridge the gap, complement your existing resources and build skills and business processes around Concept Formation™.