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A blueprint for change

Man's hands holding pen over blueprint document on desk in front of him

Digital disruption is transforming the way industries operate. But for a successful legacy business with an established infrastructure and corresponding capabilities, introducing change can be a challenge.

Martin StrettonYou begin with the end in mind – and that’s the vision. By that, I don’t mean the corporate strapline or statement that most companies can easily point to, but rather a more detailed description of what the business will look like in the future. Something I know from experience is often missing from corporate plans.

The next step, based on the Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) best practice, is the blueprint. This should tease out and answer key questions such as what systems and technology will the future organization require? What skills and capabilities will be needed? What sort of culture do we want to create?

Key considerations

Providing the detail behind the overarching vision, the blueprint describes how to get from A (where you are now) to B (where you want to be). As such, it should be designed around two key pillars:

  1. What is required? What are the capabilities that we need in our future organization?
  2. What does this process of change look like? An organization won’t reasonably be able to move from its existing operating model to its future operating model in one fell swoop, largely due to the level of change and investment that would require. Instead, step changes need to be made annually over a 3 to 5 year planning period.

To my mind, this means that the blueprint directs organizations towards strategic, longer-term investment, as opposed to business-as-usual, annual budget cycles that drive short-termism and tactical solutions.

Team view

One of the most important aspects of the blueprint is that it necessitates alignment around the future vision. Some organizations are reluctant to make it visible, but I believe that people on the ground need to be engaged with the change process, not just senior management.

This tool helps you ensure that you make this wider ownership part of the plan by asking “how do we take the team with us on the journey?”

Of course, when you start to look at skills and roles, they may need to be completely different to those that exist. At this point, you either buy them in through recruitment or train up your current team. The blueprint provides the framework to inform these decisions and move forward.

A living document

It’s worth remembering that if you were constructing a building, you wouldn’t just look at the blueprint at the start of the project. The same is true in this context. That’s not to say it shouldn’t be revised. Things can change externally and internally, so the blueprint should be reviewed on an annual basis as a minimum.

Read Martin Stretton's previous blog post for AXELOS, Gaining the trust to transform: Programme management and MSP.

Current rating: 4.8 (4 ratings)


23 Apr 2019 Allan Taylor
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Absolutely agree Martin and necessary even more now in an agile organisation but I anticipate some old school management practices will struggle to work this transparently!
23 Sep 2019 Nicola E
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Thanks for the clear and easy to understand overview of the value of blueprints.
23 Jan 2020 Xavier Angenot
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Are there any blueprint templates available in MyMsP? I can’t find any.
Thanks !!
11 Feb 2021 Elizabeth Kelly
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Can the blueprint design template be added to the toolkits section in the community ?
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