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FFS - Fish Finger Sandwiches for your SAP Programme

How to improve your SAP programme reporting

This article was originally released on Avtar Davatwal's LinkedIn page here.

I recently recalled a time when my parents considered me to be old enough to be an after school guardian to my younger brother and sister...I was 14 years old. Thinking back, when I say parents ‘considered’, the reality is they had little choice in the matter. They worked full-time at the family business that my grandad started, (but subsequently become too ill to manage it on a day-to-day basis).

So as my father picked up the managerial duties, I picked up ‘collect siblings from school and get them home safely’ duties.

Once through the front door, everyone needed food, and being the oldest, it was time to switch to chef duties. That is when I discovered the splendour of FFS…Fish Finger Sandwiches.

The discovery of the other FFS happened a few years later...

Quick, easy to make and tasty. Frozen fish fingers out of the freezer and into the oven. Fifteen minutes later, two slices of bread, butter (never evenly spread), lettuce and mayonnaise...Voila.

Charge up the flux capacitor and set the date to 2019.

Not so long ago I found myself at the Manchester Malmaison having a lunch meeting. Following a quick scan of the menu, there it was -Fish Finger Sandwich! Job done.

When it arrived it looked nothing like what I had created all those years ago. A lightly toasted bap, three thickly cut pieces of fish (fat fingers?), a light coating of tartar sauce and thinly sliced lettuce. They had used the same ingredients (more or less) to produce their version. However, I could see that a little more thought had gone into their creation.

The additional thought, care and I suspect pride, taken by the kitchen staff made a difference.

So what does this have to do with your SAP programme?

What if that weekly risks and issues reminder email didn’t just have an excel attachment with a list of items? Instead, it had been sorted by date and had a conditional formatted RAG status. The email had an analysis that showed senior stakeholders where they should focus their attention.

What if, instead of sending an update slide with a few amendments from last week, you started from a blank page?  Forced yourself to review the current position of your Project or WorkStream? Would that provide an update that was more valuable to the recipients? Would it stop those ‘typo errors’ or ‘overdue dates marked green’?

Would these minor tweaks help make a difference? Would it help demonstrate that you can make a difference?

Once in my junior consulting years I had to get a deliverable over the line - a Programme Org Chart. Now, by no means had I just thrown it together. In my opinion, it actually looked OK. It did look ‘OK’…that was the problem. A few slightly misaligned boxes, a few Bold and Italic fonts used inconsistently. Hardly noticeable at first glance. But someone did notice.

I remember the ‘kind bollocking’ I got from the boss, Stuart. He reminded me that I was now a consultant at Resulting. Taking pride in what we do matters. Being someone who adds value matters. Making a difference matters!

I remember getting this unpleasant feeling. Why? I had produced an output that could have been better...Should have been better.

Thirty minutes of additional time, and the Programme Org Chart was ready for a second review. This time, a metaphorical pat on the back.

Resulting's DNA

Now, many years later with a growing and changing team at Resulting, making a difference is still very much part of our mindset. It is part of our DNA.

If you need someone to spend more time making your Fish Finger Sandwiches, and less time having FFS moments, why not get in touch?

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