Getting Started with Capability Design

Whether or not capability design is a suitable way of working for an organization and how to get started with it should be assessed prior to embarking on the journey of transforming an organization’s way of working to capability driven. In practical terms this means assessing the organization’s current ways of working for the suitability before committing extensive amount of resources on capability design.

The procedure for getting started with capability design consists of several steps that will be elaborated in this section:

  • Check suitability to decide if the capability design approach is appropriate for the business problem to be tacked and for the organization as a whole.
  • Scoping. Decide what business service should be in focus of the first capability design activity. The purpose of the first implementation is to serve as a “pilot” project on the basis of which more business services can be chosen for capability support.
  • Establish project organisation, i.e. allocating roles and responsibilities for the CDD with the organization. At first this can be done only for the pilot project, but later transformed to a more permanent team.
  • Train capability thinking in order to introduce the project team to capability thinking including the basic concepts, general procedure, best practices and available method and tool support. More about learning the CDD methodology is here.
  • Plan CDD process to plan the different steps of capability design including the use of the CDD method components. To assess the suitability of CDD for organization-wide use.
  • Get CDD environment and install the CDD environment in the organizations IT environment.

In order to check the suitability of Capability Driven Development to your organization the following should be assessed. If the questions below lead to the conclusion that CDD is suitable, then the reminder of the steps in this process should be conduscted. There are described in detain in the CDD methodology guide.

Reasons against the use of capability-based design

If one of the following questions leads to a negative answer, the use of capability design will probably not fit very well to the organisation or the organization should proceed with caution.

  • Is your organization offering business services which are based on IT-solutions?
  • Can the business services be described in a process-oriented way?
  • Does the situation in which the business services are delivered influence how they are delivered?
  • Is your organization planning to offer existing business services in new markets or for new customer groups?
  • Is your organization planning to implement new business services?
  • Will the business services planned for a new market or customer group largely have the same process than the existing ones?
  • Do you expect changes in the business service when offering them in a new market or business context?
  • Do you use a proprietary development methodology that supports your system development life-cycle thoroughly? If yes, does this methodology allow integration possibilities?
  • Do you use development environment that does not allow integration with other tools and platform?

If your answer to any of the above questions is “NO”, the use of capability-driven design is probably not advisable, either because your business services are not IT-based or process oriented, because no clearly identifiable variations of the business processes exist or elaboration of such cannot realistically be expected, or your development methodology and technology is not suitable for integration with CDD.

Reasons for the use of capability-based design

If only a few of the questions listed under a) have resulted in a negative answer and one of the following questions leads to a positive answer, the use of capability design is recommended. In this case step 2 of this method component should be started.

  • Does your organization plan to offer the same business services for different target groups and markets?
  • Does your organization plan to offer new or additional variations of established business services?
  • Are there variations in the execution of business services and do the variations depend on certain situations in which they are executed?
  • Does your organization need to monitor the delivery of business services according to predefined indicators?
  • Does your organization plan to re-design the overall offering of business services?
  • Does your organization plan to migrate established services to more digitized versions?

If none of the questions listed under “against” resulted in a “NO” and none of the questions listed under “for” resulted in a “YES” more information is needed to give a clear recommendation for or against use of CDD. In this case we recommend to either visit a capability thinking seminar or to take contact to an expert in capability-driven design for individual consultancy.