Describe organizational drivers to understand, communicate and remember them.
A simple way to describe a driver is with a brief statement explaining:
- What’s happening…:
- the current situation
- the effect of this situation on the organization
- …and what’s needed:
- the need of the organization in relation to this situation
- the impact of attending to that need
Depending on their perspective, a person or group may decide to describe a driver as a problem to solve or an opportunity to leverage.
A driver statement is a brief but comprehensive summary of the information required to understand a driver.
The driver statement contains just enough information to communicate the need for an action or a decision. Typically a driver statement can be summed up in one or two sentences.
In addition to the brief driver statement, more information about the scope and details of the driver may be recorded in the logbook.
Example driver statement:
“The kitchen is a mess: there are no clean cups, the sink is full of dishes and it’s not possible to quickly grab a coffee and get right back to work. We need the kitchen in a usable state so we can stay focused on our work.”
1. Current Situation
“The kitchen is a mess: there are no clean cups, the sink is full of dishes…”
Describe the current situation:
- Briefly capture the essentials of what is happening.
- Be objective - describe observations and avoid evaluation.
“…it’s not possible to quickly grab a coffee and get right back to work.”
Explain the effect of this situation on the organization:
- Clarify why the situation needs attention: how does it affect the organization?
- Be explicit about whether the effects are current or anticipated.
- Explain challenges, losses, opportunities or gains.
“We need the kitchen in a usable state…”
Explain the need of the organization in relation to this situation:
- A need of an organization is anything a group (or individual) requires to effectively account for a domain.
- Be specific on whose need it is (“we need”, “they need”, “I need”).
- If there’s disagreement about the need, it helps to zoom out from specific solutions and focus on what the organization is lacking in this situation.
“…so we can stay focused on our work”.
Describe the impact of attending to that need:
- Explain the intended outcome, potential benefits or opportunities.
- The impact may be obvious or implicit, especially when the effects of the current situation are already described.
Review Driver Statements
Make sure to review driver statements on a regular basis, to deepen you understanding of what’s happening and needed.
Helpful questions for a review include:
- Is the description of the situation (still) correct?
- Do we still associate the same needs with the situation?
- Is the driver still within our domain?
- Is the driver still relevant?