We all heard it in a work environment, at a seminar, read it in articles or in blogs. ‘S&OP is a continuous journey’ or ‘IBP is a journey not a destination’. We might even have been nodding at the time in confirmation of the validity of these statements. But is IBP a journey??
According to Cambridge online dictionary a journey is; ‘the act of travelling from one place to another, especially in a vehicle’. This means a journey has a start and destination, but no defined scope, timelines, deliverables, quality. Furthermore we’re not sure on how much resource the journey actually cost us, beside the need of a vehicle. That’s hardly enough detail to guide a team through the change required to implement and sustain IBP.
As consultant I learned that a journey is a group of programs. And a program exists from a group of projects. A project has a scope, a start and a finish and deliverables with defined quality and resources assigned to do the work. On a much larger scale, a journey will have similar outcomes as a project.
According to the second definition IBP can be implemented as a project, program or journey. At an agreed time the IBP project has to deliver tangible results, with a limited budget. Once an IBP project is finished it can be handed over to a business process or continuous improvement part of the organization. Often it will be the same resources that will work on the IBP project and, after the implementation, on the IBP process for continuous improvement.
Which of the two IBP journeys would you want to join?
The one without a clear scope timeline and definition, without a project plan, change management or communication plan? Without resources or budgets assigned? Whatever definition of journey you choose, just make sure that next time somebody is telling you about the IBP journey you’re about to encounter, you ask for his project plan!