In today's ultra-competitive world, organizations have to ensure that their operations are aligned to their strategy. Unfortunately, professionals often lack the time and energy required to study the theory. They don't think they will be able to implement strategy given their day-to-day pressures. Meanwhile, the organization drifts, goodwill is lost, and customers move to competitors.
To make strategy and alignment related concepts interesting and easy to grasp, Aligning Ferret uses a fictional (but realistic) situation where employees work on organizational alignment while continuing to cope with operational pressures and commitments.
Ferret, the book's fictional organization, is located in Bangalore, India. It develops and customizes investment-management software. It has recently been bought by its main customer and its founders have left Ferret after making their fortune over the sale.
The story begins with Ferret celebrating its successful assessment to a prestigious process model. Sunil Chinnappa (Sunny), the senior project manager who handled the model's implementation is in a self-congratulatory mood when his boss tells him that their new parent company is very dissatisfied with Ferret's performance. Ferret management must now re-examine the organization's direction, define a suitable strategy and align the organization to it while continuing to cope with the usual challenges — projects arriving suddenly, high attrition rates, shortage of skilled people, lack of coordination, and so on.
Through Aligning Ferret: How an Organization Meets Extraordinary Challenges, Sunny shares six months of this alignment journey, narrating how people at Ferret try to understand and apply concepts, models, and frameworks (Balanced Scorecard, People CMM, strategy maps and MBNQA).
As you read, you may get absorbed in the fictional setting and the lives and challenges of the characters. This is, after all, a novel.
And at times you may wonder: did the people interpret the concepts correctly and apply them well, or could they have done some things differently? Do similar situations exist in your professional environment? Can you use these ideas to be more effective in whatever role you perform?
Aligning Ferret can be used to increase your awareness and pique your interest in strategy, alignment, and performance management. A list of concepts covered and exercises in the appendices of the book can be used to strengthen and consolidate the understanding.
The print version of this book was published in 2008. More details, including discussion of concepts, resource lists, and book reviews, are available at the book's website.