Assessing the suitability of business processes and the technological systems that support them is a major focus of the review.
Much of the information to allow an assessment to take place will come from the interview process, carried out with both core business teams and managers and practitioners within the business and community engagement arena. It will not necessarily be the top priority of those people being interviewed.
Practitioners and managers, quite naturally, will want to describe their areas of work and to tell you of their achievements. You will have to repeatedly steer the conversation so as to obtain the perceptions and information you require.
However, appearing to ignore or making it obvious that you are not writing down this information about the work they are undertaking will project a negative image and interviewees may start to distrust you with the result that they are less open about the things you want to hear.
In the embedding BCE project there was an issue where someone complained that what they said had not been recorded – though it was likely that it was either not relevant or was a repetition of what someone else had already told the interviewer. Following that, everything was written down, even though it meant that there was lots of repetition and irrelevant material to read through and discard later.
Perceptions versus reality
It is worth making a point here about perceptions. Not everyone that you interview will have a full knowledge of all the financial, HR, IT and marketing procedures and rules. Sometimes you will hear assertions that you know to be false, or not totally correct. These are signs that someone is making assumptions, or has a false perception that may be the result of incorrect information, or a belief formed during an exceptional case.
Whilst checking that you heard correctly is permissible, contradicting someone during an interview will cause them to withdraw from offering information. It is better to take the perception down and check it against the perceptions of others.
As an example, at one institution, a practitioner complained that financial procedures were too inflexible. Yet a senior manager at the same institution said that it was possible to by-pass some financial procedures. The truth was somewhere in between the two statements, in that certain procedures could be made more flexible if you had sufficient seniority. However the two statements identified that the way of securing the flexibility had not been adequately disseminated internally.