Boundary Worksheet

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This worksheet is offered for those that are interested in applying Boundary Management concepts to their organization.  It is a place from which to start identifying the boundaries for work groups.  It will not provide all the needed answers, and will probably raise a number of questions, but it will lay a foundation from which to begin a more in-depth analysis.  As a guide an example of a generic draft of a set of Boundary Policies for Regional Sales Manager's sales group can be found in this WinZip file

Identify the work group: _____________________________________________________

This may be easy in some cases and more difficult in others.  The work group does not have to be self-contained or have within it all the functions necessary for success.  The individuals within it however, need to have an above average reliance on each other for over-all group performance.  For example the work group could be the senior management team, a production unit, a marketing group, a business unit, or a customer support group.  At first, it will be easier to think of units within the hierarchy rather than trying to create new structures or processes. 

Identify the work group's end results:  ___________________________________________

This may be several items or just one.  Items that belong on this list are those that work group should trying to optimize.  Do not be constrained in identifying items that appear to be beyond the workgroup's control.  The first place to start is with the organization's end results.  Most work groups should be tied to the results of the organization, even when they currently only have a small impact on those results.  One caution, most results or goals identified in traditional management are not and should not be end results.  They will be better controlled in Management Limitations. 

Identify the work group's minimum and target performance for each end result:
        Minimum: _________________________    Target:  ___________________________

The minimum should be what ever performance is good enough.  It is the point between unacceptable performance and acceptable performance on the end results.  It should be the point at which there has been enough return given the resources invested in the work group or organization.  This doe not mean performance should be mediocre, but it also doesn't mean performance that is at a superior level.  It should identify what is acceptable.  The target should identify superior performance.  The rules that apply to traditional goal setting should guide the identification of targets for end results.  In Boundary Management, the minimum performance levels are more important than the target.  Missing a minimum performance level generates corrective actions, whereas targets do not.

Identify the work group's group limitations:
    1.  _______________________________________________
    2.  _______________________________________________
    3.  _______________________________________________
    4.  _______________________________________________
    5.  ...

These are the states or actions that identify the boundary between unacceptable and acceptable performance for the work group.  For those that are familiar with Policy Governance, these limitations are guided by the same principles as executive limitations except that they are written for the work group.  Items to consider: financial performance, customer relationships, communication to executives, corporate requirements, planning and execution, production performance, coordination with other units or work groups.  This is not an all-inclusive list. 

Identify individual responsibilities within the work group:

Position                              Responsibilities
____________________        ___________________________________________________
____________________        ___________________________________________________
____________________        ___________________________________________________
____________________        ___________________________________________________
____________________        ___________________________________________________

This is not to be a job description for each individual within the workgroup.  It is possible for some workgroups to not have any items listed in this section.  The only items that should be identified are those tasks or responsibilities that would imprudent or unethical for a specific individual within the group to perform.  For those that are concerned about not having job descriptions, in Boundary Management, job descriptions exist but their ownership has typically moved to the work group or to the individual.  Providing a more defined set of responsibilities, creates more constraint and less ownership of the total process or system by the work group. 

Monitoring End Results and Limitations:

For each End Results and Limitation that has been identified, there needs to be a monitoring policy developed.  The monitoring policy needs to identify how often monitoring will occur, who will do the monitoring and any special data that needs to used to confirm compliance with the minimum End Result performance expectations and the limitations. 

Further information can be found on the Boundary Management page.

Lynn A. Walker, Ph.D.
Copyright 2013  Boundary Management Consulting 
All rights reserved.