The natural goal of CM – comparing expected vs actual – also provides us a good way of categorizing the various CM related activities and gives us a simple, yet powerful way of looking those activities.
In general, a CM related activity will fall into one of the following categories:
1. Activities that deal with expected.
2. Activities that deal with actual.
3. Activities that compare the two.
These categories make it easier to map interdependencies, look for symmetries, and even identify what current activities are really not CM related.
The simplicity here is that there is that each comparison activity is precisely the end goal of CM, and that there is a very tight and necessary dependency between the three categories. Each comparison requires ‘expected’ and ‘actual’ values that come from associated value(s) in the other categories. Each activity in the ‘actual’ category should have a matching activity in the ‘expected’ category, and should feed a comparison activity. The same is true for activities dealing with ‘expected’.
Mapping this triangle out will reveal the unneeded or missing activities, as well as show where there are overly complex relationships. It is often extremely helpful to look at the artifacts – the concrete and tangible data – that the activities produce. This triangle also allows us to be able to articulate the importance of the artifacts by showing how they support the comparison.
The final, and critical, thing to do is to link each comparison activity to the business need that drives it.