What type of project plan works best for managing transformation?

At one of my public workshops in Nottingham, I used a Transformation Map (TMap) to demonstrate how entrepreneurs, managers and leaders could plan, review or re-design their business.

As a visual tool, the Transformation Map encourages creativity, collaboration and a common purpose.Creating a Transformation Map also helps leaders or teams to:

  • identify the right activities
  • group the activities into strands or projects
  • prioritise and plan the programme of activity.

For the TMap exercise, I used a generic Business Vision to ensure all attendees could relate to it. The Vision was:

‘Nottingham will be the best social enterprise city in the UK by 2020’.

The exercise

Initially the group identified strands like ‘Communities’, ‘Businesses’, and ‘Politicians‘.

I then used silent brainstorming to ensure we got as many ideas as possible to support each strand in the time available. The group used sticky notes to capture these ideas. They then started placing the activities onto one of the three strands: Communities, Businesses or Politicians.

The results

They quickly identified that broader activities like ‘Communications’ and ‘Engagement’ were needed across the three strands they’d earlier identified. So they re-wrote the strand headings as broader themes like ‘Marketing’, ‘Project Management, ‘Engaging the community’ and ‘Training & Capability. It was then possible to identify separate activities against their original strands: Communities’, ‘Businesses’, and ‘Politicians‘.

Why the Transformation Map always works so well

The group went through this distinct thought process because the exercise is a way of getting different people with different skills and experience to work together. The session encouraged left and right brain skills to logically, yet creatively identify sound  planning principles. The power of the team prevented the group from jumping straight into the detail, or into solution mode.

You can use this exercise whenever two or more people need to think creatively or review current plans.  Whether a new business startup, an evolving business model, or an ambitious enterprise programme, it’s important to develop firm foundations using a Transformation Map or a similar broad, objective approach. This approach also reduces the likelihood it will head off in the wrong (ineffective) direction.

I enthusiastically recommend the use of Transformation Maps for creative, digital or complex change, particularly as a Team tool. Here is a link to a Transformation map template you can purchase and edit. However I’d always recommend you use brown paper and sticky notes initially so you can work collaboratively on the challenge. Then take a photo and capture it electronically.

If it’s something you’d like to discuss further, or you have experiences to share, please get in touch with us at www.losethebox.co.uk or via the website Contact form.

Maureen Whyman
Updated November 2017.

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