What is Assert™?
Imagine yourself in a crowded conference room filled with intelligent, experienced, skilled and insightful individuals who are discussing a topic.
If you're lucky, the crowd will divide itself into one or two camps of people who have come to the same conclusion about the topic. If you're unlucky, each person will have his or her own conclusion.
Now let's imagine that the people in this same conference room are not corporate peers and they're from different departments -- even different companies. Some are technology people, some are finance people, some are supply chain people, some are logistics people, some are business strategy people. In addition, some of them are risk takers and some are risk averse. Some are very cost-conscious, some are less so. Some embrace the importance of the discussion, others do not. Some have impassioned agendas that will benefit certain groups over others. Some have loyalties to other people in the room. Some believe in consensus building, others do not. Some are inclined to avoid the corporate perils of disagreeing with coworkers or superiors, even when they have truly valuable points of view or relevant experience. Some, frankly, have other priorities and responsibilities and they wish they were elsewhere.
Now imagine that the topic under discussion is one of the hundreds of decisions that must be made during an ERP or other business transformation program ... a program that will affect nearly every employee, every customer, every business partner, and in fact the future of the company.
The question is, how can program executives make responsible, defensible decisions that have business-critical implications?
As a company that provides Program Management Office and Enterprise ERP/CRM implementation and integration services to large companies that are conducting Oracle or SAP-based programs, we grappled with this very question -- and came to two conclusions.
First, a practical decision-making framework is needed for critical enterprise programs that ensures committed stakeholder participation and accountability, that clarifies and prioritizes issues, and that addresses cost, quality, schedule and budget concerns in a reasonable way. The decision-making framework should also manage the most painful ERP program challenges, including program duration overruns, program surprises, compliance issues, and risks to the enterprise.
And second, a decision-making mindset is needed that finds the right balance between over-thinking and under-thinking, over-planning and under-planning, and over-diligence with under-diligence.
The decision making framework we developed is called Assert. It grew out of the methods Inflective has successfully used to manage ERP transformation programs.
The decision-making mindset we developed is called Diligent Decision Making.