The Success Case Method: Step by Step
The SCM Steps
There are five overall steps to be followed in planning and conducting
an SC study.
1. Focusing and planning a Success Case study
2. Creating an “impact model” that defines what success should
look like
3. Designing and implementing a survey to search for best and
worst cases
4. Interviewing and documenting success cases
5. Communicating findings, conclusions, and recommendations
Depending on the purpose and scope of the study, some of the
steps may have different subparts. Sometimes, for example, one pur-
pose of the study is to determine how broadly an innovation has been
adopted. In these instances, Step 3 (designing and implementing a sur-
vey to search for best and worst cases) will include a procedure for tap-
ping different samples of job roles to assess how widespread certain
application behaviors are being implemented among key innovation
roles and audiences. Or, in a large SCM study, a complex reporting
process may be required that provides different reports and presenta-
tions to different audiences.
1. Focusing and Planning a Success Case Study
This first step is focused on thinking through what will be required to
conduct an effective study that will provide the information people
need and expect. The principal aim of this step is first to clarify and
understand what the study needs to accomplish, then be sure that all
the necessary pieces of the study are indeed planned for so that the
promise of the study will, in fact, be delivered.
The Success Case Method
Some of the key considerations and decisions that must be made as
part of this first step are:
What is the purpose of the study? An SC study may have one or
more of a range of possible purposes. Depending on the pur-
pose, or purposes, the design for the study will need to be . . .
Some common purposes are:
To allay—or confirm—the fears of skeptics who question
the results and worthiness of a new program
To determine what about a new program is working well
enough to be maintained and what is not working that may
require revision or deletion
To strengthen “marketing” of a program or initiatives by
documenting real and noteworthy instances of success
To help managers in one part of an organization determine
what they need to do to get their employees to achieve the
greater success that managers in other parts of the organiza-
tion are experiencing
To provide exemplary models of especially successful
behavior and program applications that can be used to
inspire and motivate others
To assess the return on investment of an initiative
To identify recommendations for revisions to improve
To help decide whether a pilot initiative is having a positive
enough impact to justify a broader roll-out
To “de-bug” a hastily implemented solution
Who (what groups and individuals) want or need the study to be
done, and why is it important to them? There are typically several
stakeholders in a program, and often these different stakeholders

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