Change Design

by David King

Capability analysis

Just having a blueprint business model is not enough to make any change programme successful. The blueprint model comprises a set of inter-dependent activities, each of which has certain characteristics and requirements that must be fulfilled if change is to be undertaken effectively. The next stage is to identify and consider the new activities required to create effective change.

These are:

Knowledge and information – what do we need to know or understand and what data or information is needed to carry out this activity well?

Organisation and people – what organisation structure, people skills and experience is necessary to perform the required task(s)?

Process and procedure – what processes and procedures need to be followed and what standards, criteria or rules govern its execution?

Environment and infrastructure – what physical and environmental requirements need to be satisfied for the activity to be performed safely and productively?

Understanding the full implications of change enables a fully informed decision process about where developments or investment are needed. This ‘capability analysis’ will provide the baseline against which specified improvements can be measured, post implementation.

In capability analysis you need to:

  • Establish the required ‘new capability’ for each activity defined in the blueprint model
  • Ensure each activity has (without exception!) both an input and an output – the activity represents the ‘transformation’ that converts one into the other. If either input or output is missing, you should query what the activity is for.

The combined ‘capability’ of all activities represents the basis for a change programme. The defined ‘new capability’ forms part of the overall blueprint and lays the foundation for developing a detailed change requirements specification.

How to conduct a capability analysis


Remember this: you are defining ‘future state’ capability, not what you currently do – NO REALITY SEEPAGE ALLOWED!

  1. Select each activity in your blueprint business model in turn (alternatively, closely related activities may be grouped).
  2. Use a capability table to capture, for each activity, the required capability in terms of the four KOPE categories and to summarise the total ‘new capability’, highlighting recurring requirements, themes and priorities.

The following are examples...

Knowledge and information

  • Knowledge and experience
  • Data and information needs
  • Data inputs, outputs and flows
  • Records, data stores and archives
  • Management and operational information
  • Data and application systems

Organisation and people

  • Nature and type of work
  • Core skills and competencies
  • Specialist skills and attributes
  • Discretion and delegation
  • Staffing levels
  • Organisation and team structures
  • Roles and responsibilities

Processes and procedures

  • Business processes/work flows
  • Laws, regulations or rules
  • Working principles or ‘rules of engagement’
  • Critical success factors
  • Performance criteria and measures
  • Quality criteria and measures
  • Decision flows, delegations and authorities

Environment and infrastructure

  • Networks and business systems
  • Physical infrastructure and facilities
  • Working environment and ergonomics
  • ‘Work-style’ interactions and proximity
  • Flexible and alternative working methods
  • Home and remote working
  • Special tools and equipment

Capability summary table

Capture the results of your analysis in a capability summary table:

  Knowledge Organisation Process Environment
Activity 1 for example:
equipment use
for example:
equipment skills
for example:
fault reporting
for example:
customer facing
Activity 2        
Activity 3        
and so on        

What recurring requirements, themes and priorities have emerged from your analysis?

Where is more detail needed to help key stakeholders understand the proposals?

Is the capability defined complete and coherent? In other words, are there any significant gaps in your understanding of what needs to happen and, more importantly, what needs to change from the current situation?

What next?

  • The capability analysis establishes the ‘new capability’ to be delivered by a change programme as a whole, but often lacks explicit detail.
  • More may therefore be needed to define the specific business changes to be implemented.
  • This usually means undertaking a thorough ‘requirements analysis’ so that the changes to be delivered by individual projects in a change programme are specified in full.
  • Explicit (and quite detailed) user requirements and design ‘parameters’ will be required by specialist solution providers and suppliers, such as IT services, buildings and equipment suppliers.
  • How well your capability analysis and the ensuing detailed requirements analysis is done will be a major influencing factor on the design and planning of your change programme and the journey towards your desired ‘future state’.