Lessons Learned and Best Practices Of Due Diligence


Once due diligence is implemented within your business processes you will discover more and better opportunities to your business. A new fact-based, decision-making capability will begin to embrace decisions from very low-level operational systems to the decisions made at the highest levels of the company. Peer reviews and audits will begin using more informed decision-making that will become much more important to your business. Some stakeholders will even want to reexamine previous decisions to ensure that the "best" business decisions were made and if there were any missed opportunities to the business.

In your due diligence data collection efforts, we recommend that the decision variables include an "events" data class with objects for reactions (decisions) to these events. Consider experiments and test wherever challenger ideas are superior to the current policies or plans. Leadership will discover that fact-based decision-making with senior leadership will drive away from making "gut feel" decisions. Other key lessons learned will reveal that by recruiting business sponsors to lead their decision-making roles will bolster data governance and further add quality to their programs. You will also discover that empowering decision makers with data lineage and clean data, they will begin to link planning, reporting and analysis capabilities that will further enable their ability to examine the benefits and trade-off inherent to important or questionable business decision. In turn, you will find that this enables the company to develop new skills such as forecasting, simulation, optimization and other decision-making capabilities at all levels that will further develop areas previously not considered.

Here are some due diligence implementation steps that have been proven effective by others and may help you:

1) Assign a champion for the due diligence process to ensure that the process meets the vision and goals intended to grow the business and that this champion has both an interest and a stake in identifying and maximizing opportunities, and minimizing risks to the business.

2) Assign a team responsible for the due diligence process that is made up of a diverse set of senior and junior stakeholders that are both experienced with the due diligence process and will live with the results of the decisions made within the process, the team should consist of a team leader and members to cover the technical, implementation, financial, HR and risk assessment aspects of the change, each team member on the team, whether fulltime or part-time, should have a understanding of the area that he or she is responsible for and should have "skin in the game". Do not underestimate the value of having junior people in the process, as they will likely bring forward new ideas, especially if these ideas are welcomed and openly considered and rewarded.

3) Ensure that the team has documented both the membership and the general procedures of the process and that the champion is onboard with these. Remember, the due diligence process is part of the program management and other governance processes of the company and not a separate track.

Due diligence is intended to be a continuing or continuous process that is project or product evaluative in nature that adds value and innovation to other ongoing program management or governance processes. Due diligence there should be included in meetings, in reporting wins and losses, have a schedule, plan, and earned value, and social opportunities to develop relationships and new ideas.

James E Fogarty