The Senior Responsible Owner in collaborative business service design

Brian Johnson and Léon-Paul de Rouw, authors of Collaborative Business Design, and Collaborative Business Design: The Fundamentals, explain the role of the Senior Responsible Owner (SRO).

Brian Johnson is ITGP’s author of the month for June 2018.


Senior responsible owners are people too

Senior responsible owners (SROs) must focus on the policies that have driven the need to invest big money in new services.

In the world of collaborative business service design (CBSD), the business service coordinator (BSC) must focus on outcomes. When planning CBSD sessions an intake questionnaire is essential as it covers what must be done. An essential part of this should be the deliverables expected by the SRO. This also gives the project manager a clear picture about specific requirements of the putative services or products.


The SRO’s questions

Often the SRO has many questions, and you may not have the answers:

  • Is this service the one I really need?
  • Does the proposed service fit my required outcomes?
  • Should I invest in it?
  • Can I minimise risks?
  • How do I involve all the essential stakeholders?
  • Will the service add value?
  • Can we control costs?
  • What are the costs?

Most do not focus on the ‘how’ of the service but on its impact and consequences. The further down the line into development, the further away from these outcomes is the focus.

If you are unsure about any of the major outcomes and expectations, propose a feasibility study or exploration study to get a better insight into the answers the SRO is looking for.


The world of the SRO

Intrinsically the SRO is interested in two things: adding value to the enterprise mission, and their own position. Being aware of these makes your life a whole lot easier.

Today’s environment is continuously in flux and chaotic. We now talk business systems, leadership and strategy in the age of business ecosystems and networks of organisations.

Local, national and global issues and stakeholders affect the organisation.

Diagram showing the relationship between stakeholder groups and the SRO

Figure 1: Stakeholders and the SRO


The stakeholder approach that is the basis of CBSD thinking will help the SRO to understand the specifications of new or adapted business services in relation to the conditions or opportunities. A stakeholder in this context is any group or individual that can affect, or is affected, by the achievement of the purpose of the enterprise.

CBSD focuses on the creation and delivery of business service. Hence the canvas must focus on the four essential groups that make this happen: board, customers, providers and users. Behind and next to these four groups are many more trying to influence the process, output and outcome. So, as BSC, you make sure the SRO understands the central tensions and forces required to build the optimal business service.

Collaborative Business Design and Collaborative Business Design: The Fundamentals are available to order from ITGP. Get 15% off when you order in June 2018 – enter discount code JUNE15 at the checkout.

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