How a good vision for your Information Management initiative can give your team a solid foundation?

Assuming your Information Management initiative is addressing an issue with a strong sense of urgency or clearly linked to a problem that is urgent (“Your Information Management initiative is not getting attention. What to do about it?”), then one of the next steps should be to develop a vision for your initiative. The vision development should be done early on.

A good vision should be compelling to the people affected. It must also show them what is going to change for them. However the vision is not just for the ‘recipient’ but also for the team responsible for delivering the change. For both it is the anchor…

I hope you never worked on a project that struggled to be successful. But if you have, I hope you can agree this is often not caused by the quality or the enthusiasm of the team. When there is lack of or an vague vision there can be scope creep, lack of buy in, competition from other initiatives, regular challenges to the purpose of the initiative, etc.

A good vision provides boundaries that can be used to keep the scope in check. For example if the vision is about knowledge management then you can have a good discussion when the organisation wants you to solve issues with document management for everyone. It still does not mean that the scope is too small or fully defined however you have a starting point to define scope clearly which may include being dependent on document management and having to address areas like compliance, HSE, HR, etc.

A good vision should allow you to agree on guiding principles with the sponsor and the steering committee. For example if the vision states that knowledge is reliable and accessible any time any place then this means that limiting access to information by individuals or teams is something that will have to change. This results in a principle that states “Information is accessible unless”.

Other principles that could be derived are:

1.       “System(s) containing knowledge are available from the internet” which may have a significant impact on the current IT infrastructure available.

2.       “Knowledge has a status and a source” which means that a process needs to be in place to manage this.

Having a good vision early on provides the team with the opportunity to think through the consequences for the organisation and the initiative, create plans that are complete and realistic, and avoid misunderstandings regarding the objectives.