Where to Start

A practical Guide to how to use the AP in EE
* please note that some links will require EE credentials to access
  1. 1.
    Search EE’s Google Drive, Slack and Blogin for previous documents and blogs that relate to your decision. This might well turn up prior decisions, discussions, guidelines and APs that you can learn from. All APs are in Google Drive, and are listed here.
  2. 2.
    Use the AP template, filling in the sections described below (click this link to make a copy of the template).
  3. 3.
    Move the completed document into the Advice Process -> Proposals folder and share it with the people you need feedback from.
  4. 4.
    Share the doc in the #ap-decisions Slack channel. You can do this before, during or after you’ve received feedback.
Note that it’s important we don’t bog ourselves down in bureaucracy. The Advice Process is only required for a decision that is useful for others to know about.
There’s no need to record decisions where the following points apply:
  • There is limited impact and limited investment, AND
  • You’re following a mature set of guidelines (e.g. training and conferences) that you agree apply to your circumstances.
For everything else, please capture your decision – at the latest after you’ve completed the Advice Process. Be sure to record the following:

Standard Advice and Conventions

After change has settled into the standard working practices it can become ‘standard advice’. Examples of this include:
  • Our policies around conferences and training
  • Expenses:
    • The typical amount people can spend on a hotel
    • What is considered a valid business expense (and what is not)
    • Entertaining clients and teams
If you’re happy working within the framework that the standard advice has created then you don’t need to raise an AP. But if you want to challenge the standard advice, you should consider creating a new AP.
You should record in your decision why you disagree with the conventional way of doing things, so we can update the “standard advice” afterwards to help the next person.

The AP Template

Proposal title: Decision headline
Impacted Business Unit(s): List which Business Units will be impacted by this decision.
What I want to do and why: Describe the what and why of your proposal.
Who is the decision maker: It’s most likely you. Yes, you! If you’ve already come up with the decision, the value is less than your BU’s threshold (£6k in UK) and the risk to EE is minimal, then it’s definitely you. This also means you’re accountable and responsible for making this decision based on the advice received. If the value is greater than your BUs threshold or there is risk to EE, then you must be appointed by the Exec team or BUL.
Then, ask yourself the following:
Who do I need feedback from: This will be a cross section of EE permanent staff and associates. Remember, we are looking for those impacted by the decision and experts in the area. Please share this document with those people, then follow up with one-to-one/one-to-few conversations with those people to explore your proposal further. Record feedback in your AP template document.
Do I need an AP Governance Group? For larger or longer running investments a Governance Group is required.
Next Steps: Outline what needs to be done in the future to progress your proposal.
Forecast the cost: Everything has a cost in time/money, so please provide a rough order of magnitude here. To help with Business Unit cost tracking, separate out the following costs as follows (excluding GST/VAT):
  • Investment in employee time: assume a fixed cost of £500 or €500/day for any UK, Germany or Portugal employee (other countries are yet to be confirmed).
  • Investment in cash: any associate/contractor time (assume the same cost of £500 or €500/day in the UK), as well as any other costs that would be invoiced to EE (e.g. travel, accommodation, shared workspace costs).
To keep things simple, opportunity cost does not need to be considered (e.g. where consultants spend time on an AP instead of being client billable).
Track the cost: Costs will be allocated to the Business Unit of the AP decision maker. Actual money spent will be tracked by the Finance team. To facilitate this, please ensure non-billable timesheets and invoices that relate to the AP are clearly linked using the AP ID. Shelagh Jones assigns AP IDs on a monthly basis in this global tracker.
At this stage, we won’t track opportunity cost nor employee time. There’s more info in the Investment Tracking Guidelines.
Define the success metrics: A significant part of the individual and organisational learning we get from a decision is through quantifying its resultant impact.
Having good metrics is important, but they are hard to define. This article on good metrics provides useful guidance an, we are currently experimenting with a revised format for capturing success metrics, using a hypothesis-like structure. Please use the following format to define your success metrics, a worked example is here:
  • State hypothesis: Start with a clear hypothesis: IF we do x THEN we will achieve y and will know this BECAUSE of z.
  • Define the time frame: Define a timeframe to contain the experiment (which reduces risk and investment) and allows for a comparison. E.g. 4 weeks.
  • Describe the result: Describe the intended outcome including an explanation of any terms used.
  • Define the measurement: Describe a measure of the desired direct result* (and how you’ll obtain the measurement) in one of two ways depending on the nature of the AP: a) A comparative numerical measure of the intended direct result (a quantity/ratio of a quantitative something, stated in terms of it’s current and desired state) Or b) A quantitative measure of a qualitative test (measured through surveys or interviews) including an initial baseline where an AP relates to a change.
  • Link to a business objective: <Describe how the direct result will contribute to EE’s Global or a BU’s objectives (see your BUL or Exec to find out more). *Direct result versus a non-direct result: in working through example APs we noticed that some success metrics related to future or subsequent outcomes that may depend on the AP decision but are not a direct result. We found this confused ‘what’ was being measured and made it more difficult to know if the AP was successful. For example, we might measure sales leads rather than actual sales.
Result: Documenting this is critical, as it’s the only way to provide transparency to the process and the only way we can collectively learn as an organisation. The decision maker is responsible for updating the result of the proposal until closed. If the AP outcome was to proceed with the decision, then it’s important to summarise:
  1. 1.
    Actual vs estimated cost.
  2. 2.
    Actual outcomes in relation to success metrics.
  3. 3.
    Any next steps that follow the AP.
Learnings: Are there things we’d do again, or avoid in the future? Are there learnings to be shared across the organisation?