Summarizing and Communicating Results

Summarizing and Communicating Results
Activity 6 – Summary and Communication

Executive engagement and support for implementation priorities.

Clear, effective communication of the current and desired state, key performance gaps, and priority improvements are essential to capturing support for improvement.

  1. Develop summary materials that effectively communicate to the executive audience, in coordination with the Project Sponsor.
  2. Build support, encouraging the assessment team to engage their management and stakeholders.
  3. Meet with decision-makers sharing the process, priorities for investment, and consensus and support from cross-functional team members and stakeholders.

Additional Supporting Guidance:
If the TAM Data Assistant has been used, the facilitator can export summary charts as well as detailed assessment and improvement information in order to support these communication needs.

Further detail is provided in the guidance materials documented in Chapter 4, Evaluation and Summary of Results.

Users of the guidebook will establish the current and desired state of practice for each assessed Area, Section, and Element of the framework.  This will provide a clear picture of where there are gaps in current practice, exposing opportunities for potential improvement.

While element-level response templates provided in the print guidebook are available to complete a pen and paper assessment, use of the TAM Data Assistant will facilitate summary and communication of the assessment results.

Visual summary and presentation of current and desired practice benchmarking is the most effective means of communicating assessment outcomes.  “Spider web” or “radar” charts are best used for this communication (example provided in Figure 4-1). Due to the number of individual elements, individual summary charts should be developed for each assessed Area within the guidance framework.

These charts will provide a compelling, visual representation of where current performance is high or low, as well as where there are gaps between current and desired performance.  Using these charts will clearly identify priorities for advancement, and support improvement evaluation and prioritization.

TAM Data Assistant

The TAM Data Assistant simplifies the summary of assessment outcomes by automatically generating these charts from the detailed assessment data.

Additional Recommendations

Summary and review of assessment results can generate new insights from the assessment team and allow for broader engagement beyond those involved in the initial assessment process. 

Use the assessment summary materials to iteratively refine the assessment details and generate more meaningful assessment results and improvement priorities.

Figure 4-1: TAM Data Assistant Assessment Summary Example.

Explanation of Recommended Summary Charting

The figure above exemplifies the recommended approach to visualizing the current and desired state captured through the assessment process.  Highlighted are four key elements of this visualization:

  1. The “spider web” or “radar” chart itself, including each assessed Element within the Area, organized by Section, and representing each possible level of performance (from benchmark level 0 to benchmark level 4).
  2. The current performance, highlighted in blue. This is provided for each assessed element within the targeted Area.
  3. The desired performance, highlighted in green. This is provided for each assessed Element within the targeted Area.
  4. The element identifier and name for each assessment Element represented in the summary chart.

Use of Recommended Summary Charting

Identification of Low- and High-Performing Sections and Elements: In the example above, Governance and Metadata practices are easily identified as low performing, whereas Treatment and Work Data Standards are relatively high performing.

Low performing areas may become obstacles to ongoing advancement and may need to be prioritized for improvement, even if these capabilities are not specifically an area of focus for the agency.  In the example above, without advancing Governance and Metadata capabilities, the ability to efficiently and effectively collect, integrate, or analyze TAM data may be compromised due to lack of understanding of and compliance with data standards as business needs and practices change.

Gaps in Current and Desired Performance: In the example above, all assessed Elements had a gap between current and desired performance, however certain elements had larger gaps than others.  Governance elements typically were two levels lower than desired, and will require significant investment and potentially face substantial institutional hurdles and organizational challenges to implement. 

Based on this summary, a long-term governance implementation initiative should be considered. Communication to decision-makers should highlight the significant gap in current practices with respect to the desired state and the value and benefits of investment in advancing governance practice.

Detailed Analysis

Detailed assessment data can be exported from the TAM Data Assistant to an Excel spreadsheet.

The export file can be used to readily list, filter, sort, and apply calculations which may be helpful in communicating the current practice, desired state, or practice gaps.  The user can also readily create a “radar” or “spider web” chart from the export file (though the tool does this automatically for each framework area).

The assessment information can also be combined with detailed improvement evaluation outcomes (also included within the export file) to relate current and desired practice to individual improvement opportunities (as is discussed further in the Improvement Evaluation section of this Chapter). 

TAM Data Assistant Quick Reference Guide

For more detailed information on the tool’s functions and use, see the TAM Data Assistant Quick Reference Guide.

Clear, concise communication of current practices, the desired state, key performance gaps, and priority improvements are essential to securing support for implementation.

The assessment facilitator, project sponsor, and other key team members should be involved in development of executive communication materials.

“Radar” charts, individual improvement evaluation data entry, as well as summary improvement “impact vs. benefit” charting can be directly used in decision-maker communication.

These pre-developed communication materials should be selectively used within externally developed executive briefing and summary materials designed to speak to the specific needs and interests of the targeted decision-makers.

Detailed export output should be used as the basis for any non-standard communication materials.  This will ensure that these are easily maintained or updated in the event that the assessment results are revisited at a future date.

Recommendations for effective executive communication include:

  1. Present the assessment focus and context emphasizing the motivation, desired value in selecting the focus, and the cross-functional nature of the assessment team.
  2. Communicate current and desired state quickly demonstrating where performance is low, where it is high, and were improvement is most necessary.  Provide practical examples of impacts that low performance is having on current TAM business.
  3. Communicate current and desired state quickly demonstrating where performance is low, where it is high, and were improvement is most necessary.  Provide practical examples of impacts that low performance is having on current TAM business.
  4. Acknowledge challenges that will be faced and outline organizational practices and real-world case studies that will support successful implementation.

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