Off books work

Off books work

Storyboard Description

common pitfalls

Storyboard Text

  • Situation
  • Definition
  • Narrator: Alice is an analyst who maintains her connection with the staff and providers from her patient care days. They love having one of their own on the IT team. Alice is proud to be the go to person others analysts seek out for answers to clinical questions.
  • Off Books Work •Usually well intentioned •Outside of processes and protections •Unintended Consequences are significant
  • Narrator: At least twice a month, Alice has lunch with her former colleagues. They often bring her their system change requests they don't feel are being looked at through the regular process. She empathizes with their frustration having been on their side before.
  • Narrator: She frequently commits to make changes for them in the system. They have all pledged secrecy about this work as no one wants Alice to get in trouble and the team values the resulting improvements for the patient care in their department this special status brings.
  • Narrator: What Alice is doing is off books work. Usually well-intentioned, it is a unilateral decision made by analysts to priorize a user request outside the processes and protections agreed to by operations and IT leadership. Here are some of the unintended consequences of off book work
  • Unintended Consequences
  • Productivity and Task Completion Understated
  • Limits Opportunities to scale and reuse
  • Transparency Concerns Increase
  • Unexpected Production Errors and Break Fixes Increase
  • Solutions
  • Narrator: Productivity and Task Completion Understated. Since this work is done outside of standard work processes, Alice doesn't get credit for the hours she spends on it and the project leadership can't count it as completed work since it is is neither measured or reported.
  • Narrator: This small test of change doesn't go to others with similar needs. Through leveraging the close working relationship, it is likely the work Alice produces for her former department is pretty useful. Unfortunately, no one else will know or be able to take advantage of it since it was done in secret based on a narrow set of requirements.
  • Narrator: Over the course of time, off book work becomes the way things get done. Efforts going into building relationships for inclusive problem solving instead of processes that support collaboration and enterprise improvements for all. Transparency struggles.
  • Narrator: Off books work frequently circumvents the testing and documentation processes. This weakens the regression and integrated testing processes and increases the number of defects discovered in production by end users.
  • Narrator: Define, communicate and measure issues reporting request submission. Be sure users can access what is in process and provide transparency in to the decision making and demand management processes. Use all channels including internal social media to increase bi-directional communication about needs and progress.
  • Transparency on Work in Progress
  • Narrator: Do not reward individuals who subvert the submission and review process. Educate analysts on the value of collaboration and the short and long term advantages of the development processes. Encourage feedback on improving the process and role model inclusion
  • Reward Desired Behavior; Role Model Inclusion
  • Narrator: Rigorously manage analysts workload and deliverables. Reward transparency and collaboration behaviors as well as technical proficiency. Provide skill development for team members as IT professionals and encourage education.
  • Manage and measure
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