Overview: This task produces a summary paper of the anticipated change. A text description along with supporting diagrams is created, providing impacted groups with as much information that is available. In order for participants to help isolate potential problems or issues, they first need to understand the main features of what might be changed.

Considerations: Major changes often have several stakeholder groups. Material created in this task may need to be modified or tailored to fit each target audience. Emphasis should be placed on clarity and completeness. Some useful ways to help convey information include a matrix, graphics, diagrams, bullet points, short sentences, and use of common words. This task clarifies the scope of the project in straightforward terms so all project participants can collectively understand what the project is about. Who will need to see these diagrams and provide feedback? Why are the diagrams important to convey? Who is available to make the diagrams easy to digest and understand?

Practices:

  • Review project documentation: project goals, stakeholder groups, communication plan, and the overall project plan.
  • Describe the change in one paragraph. (Use a one-sentence problem statement followed by one sentence explaining why it is a business issue, followed by one sentence of a potential approach to address the problem).
    • Example 1: To meet the newly established sales revenue targets, we must alter the way marketing dollars are used. The current allocation process is inadequate because there isn’t a consistent guideline for expense requests and there is no evaluation of return-on-investment. We need to investigate where the best ROI can be achieved and establish manageable guidelines for the future.
    • Example 2: To meet the anticipated demands of our products next year using our existing production facilities, we must take action within the next five months. Our current methods, staff, and facilities will allow for a 20% increase over last year, but they cannot handle the anticipated 40% increase without significant changes. We need to explore all options, including adding another shift, improving our equipment, or streamlining the current processes.
  • Expand each main feature identified into a fuller description.
  • Use a diagram, picture, or matrix to help clarify each feature.
  • Tailor the summary to fit each of the stakeholder groups.
  • Use the summary and supporting detail to discuss potential issues or problems.