In scope or not?

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This week, I had a meeting with the finance depattment of client to review their  requirements for a project to change their Business Repoting process. Turns out that most of the points we asked were responded with “please put it as an option in the proposal”. What this indicates is that clients don’t know what they want at all and go fishing.

Some would argue that having options would provide a choice to opt in or opt out of the functions of the application based on the cost of the option, similar to having a choice of transmission when buying a car. For example, data cleansing and data reconciliation, can that be left out of the process?
I would also challenge the abilities of over 60% of CFOs also don’t “know” what their business needs and having that as the organizations road map. Most of the time spent in meetings solving day to day financial problem. Believe me, I’ve seen CFOs chasing numbers themselves during month ends. This is even worse when you deal with staff in large organization who has no idea what other departments are doing and the relationship between departments.
Not only do I find this with CFOs, but surprisingly I find it in almost every graduate student I supervise. Research scope enables one to focus only on variables directly related to the study while filters unnecessary variables.
In my opinion, the ability to “know” what you want and being able to view the “road map” is the skill that lacks here. To have one, experience with business understandings is needed, with the ability to analyze and prioritize the project life cycle and it’s integration to the business. 
I am sorry to say, but some people will never be able to achieve that level, as it requires both seeking and gifted talents. In one’s life time, we seldom come across these type of material. Be sure to know when you meet one!
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6 thoughts on “In scope or not?

  1. A few points should be raised at this level to ensure that everyone is aware of the various pitfalls that may provide trouble during the build:

    Ongoing support availability
    Alignment with business requirements
    Quality of and availability of data
    That the system implementation will only be successful if the business buys in
    That the project is structured to start small and grow (do not tackle everything at once)

  2. @Anton Meneghella
    Strategic visioning is an outcome we achieve after spending time with clients and coaching them e.g. Incentive Compensate Designs, Budget Allocation . Often, life cycle of the situation is used. Then, we focus down to the area of interest of that client. Sometimes, we approach the issues with pain points, barriers and road blocks and use “brain storming” techniques. Mind maps are often used to illustrate connections of processes and activities.

  3. @Judith Coulson
    I agree with you Judith on the education in Asia that what people learn in the classroom can’t really be much of a use. That’s why about 10 years ago, I started teaching them myself hoping that things could change.

  4. Well noted. I have faced this situation too many times to count. Frustrating yet, it is exactly why my (and I suspect your) skills are required in the industry.

    Sawadee Krup,
    Jon D. Smith

  5. Hello Dr Kitipan Kitbamroong,

    I thought that your commentary was quite interesting, but was hoping you may share some of your insights on how you have dealt with these issues with your clients.

    I have been operating in this space for over 20 years, and am always keen to see if I can pick up any new perspective or approach to assist my clients with what I call ‘strategic visioning’.

    I would be very keen to discuss this with you further.

    My very best regards.


  6. Dear Kitipan

    I would not say it is only a gift to be able to think holistic in a business process. It can also be trained. But the training would start already in early ages. The fact that more and more people are not able to connect informations is starting in the family and in the education process the kids go thruth.
    Just learning facts and formulas but not knowing how to use them in real life, is and was for long an usual practice in educating people, especially in Asia.
    I started working a lot with pictures and drawings, if clients can visualise an idea, they are more likely able to make a decision.

    The problem with the CFO’s is special. Accounants in Asia are probably more than any other profession very linear in their education. Just focussing on the blank numbers and the tax. Point out the tax benefit and he CFO will listen to you.

    Have a nice day

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