Department of Conservation: Using a DoView outcomes model for strategic planning, targets, evaluation and capability planning

A National Department of Conservation used aspects of DoView Visual Planning in its annual strategic planning process. (Want to have a quick initial look at the model? Here's the web page version of the basic model; here's a PDF of the basic model; here's a large PDF poster version of the basic model). The approach used a number of steps in the DoView Visual Planning process (more). 

Step 1 - Setting up the project

There was initial discussion with strategic planning staff and others about how the visual Outcomes DoView should be built. There are many different views as to what should, and should not, be included within a visual DoView model. For example, whether it should include steps and outcomes which are non-measurable and non-attributable (ones which you currently can't prove the department has changed). DoView software can be used to build any type of outcomes model. In this case it was decided to follow the rules for building a standard Outcomes DoViews (more). Standard visual Outcomes DoViews included all of the important steps and outcomes for an organization or project and are not limited to only those which are currently measurable and attributable. Drawing the visual DoView in this way makes is a useful model for strategic planning (in that the currently not measured and non-attributable steps and outcomes can be considered for their strategic importance along with the measurable and attributable). Once built in this way, the model can be used for strategic planning, but also for a wide variety of other organizational activities (including: monitoring, evaluation, evidence-informed practice, risk management, and results-based outcomes-focused accountability and contracting) within the DoView Visual Planning approach.

Step 2 - Drawing the initial model

Drawing the initial Outcomes DoView took a number of meetings involving various combinations of staff. Some meetings were attended by just a single key person from each of the groups within the Department. Other meetings were wider with more staff from the different groups, with both national office staff and operational staff from different parts of the country attending. Some were more focused meetings with staff from only one group working on a detailed drill-down page within the Outcomes DoView. Towards the end of the process, a small core group, made up of strategic planning staff, continued to finalize the model at a series of meetings. As particular parts of the model were refined, key staff from the relevant group (e.g. natural heritage, history, recreation) joined these meetings to finalize the details of their sub-page within the model. 

The electronic version of the Outcomes DoView model was dataprojected at all meetings (DoView is optimized for constructing models in real-time when dataprojected in front of meetings). For some meetings remote staff were videoconferenced into the meeting. In these cases, DoView was used over the Department's desktop sharing system. Again, DoView's design meant that remote staff could see, and work with the visualized model on their desktops as they discussed the structure of the model with their colleagues who were in the physical meeting. In addition to the electronic version of the model used in meetings other versions of the model were also used. These included: letter-sized PDF's of the 'compact' version of the model (broken up into sub-pages); A3 (tabloid) printed versions; an interactive web page version of the model put up on the internet behind a password so that staff could get an overview of the model by clicking through it. A large poster-sized version of the model was also created in DoView and printed out for meetings. This provided a visual overview of all of the current sub-pages within the model on the one poster page. See: the web page version of the basic model; a letter-sized PDF of the basic model; a large PDF poster version of the basic model)

Step 3 - Sharing the model with the Executive Team

Once the Outcomes DoView had become relatively stable, it was taken to a meeting of the Department's Executive Team. It was presented both in a 'compact' format (broken up into a set of sub-pages) and also as the large poster-sized version of the model. Due to the extensive earlier work which had gone into the model at various levels within the Department, the Executive Team had only a few relatively minor amendments to make to the model. At the same time, the Executive Team was given a presentation talking about the ways in which DoView Visual Planning could potentially used to structure the other stages in the Department's strategic planning process - identifying priorities, mapping projects onto the model, identifying gaps and overlaps, identifying indicators which measure the steps and outcomes in the model, identifying which indicators are clearly attributable to the department and identifying which indicators it is appropriate for the department to just track and which it should be held to account for. At a later stage the Executive Team has a small printed booklet made up which included the DoView so that they could quickly refer to it in strategic discussions and show it staff and other stakeholders.

Step 4 - Mapping projects onto steps and outcomes in the visual model

For each group in the Department, a detailed plan was was prepared. This showed: long and shorter-term targets on indicators;  priorities mapped onto the steps and outcomes within the DoView; Departmental accountability; and capability the Department needs to achieve its priorities. Areas of activity (called 'work clusters') were mapped back onto the steps and outcomes within the Outcomes DoView. This allowed visual line-of-sight analysis of whether current Departmental activity was focused on the Department's priorities.  

Versions of the model produced within DoView showing the mapping:

The DoView electronic version of the model (if you have trial version of DoView installed on your computer, you can download a copy of the DoView file of the outcomes model and play around with the projects page within the model and see how the individual projects (only for one area at the moment - Recreation) are being 'mapped' onto several pages within the model). Do a Right-Click > This is the Result of on the Recreation steps and outcomes page and see the list of projects which map onto that particular step.

A large poster PDF version of the model with projects 'mapped' onto it 

An  A3 (tabloid) PDF full mapping version showing the full mapping.

An A3 (tabloid) PDF single project mapping version showing just the mapping for one project (with the DoView link icon).

A PDF listing printout containing an appendix listing all of the projects and the steps which it is believed they influence. 

Further work on the other stages of the strategic planning will be described here as they happen. How to do this process for any organization is set out in Doing Strategic Planning Better: Using a DoView Visual Strategic Plan. The full process (strategic planning, outcomes measurement, tracking, evaluation, evidence-informed practice and results-based outcomes-focused contracting) is described in Results-based management using the Systematic Outcomes Managment / Easy Outcomes Process. More information (tip sheets, videos etc.) is also available from the DoView Resources page. 

(Dr Paul Duignan, outcomes and evaluation specialist is working with the Department on this comprehensive strategic planning process).

(Department of Conservation: Using a DoView Outcomes Model for Strategic Planning and Reporting http://tinyurl.com/doview-3) (V1-0)