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Applying OSCAR at MOSL

It is interesting to see how powerful techniques from business analysis and project/change management can be when applied thoughtfully. OSCAR, a framework for creating a project initiation document (terms of reference) for a project, is a good example. 

MOSL (Market Operator Services Ltd), which is responsible for the smooth and efficient running of the non-household water market in England, has been using OSCAR as a means of assessing the risks associated with planned initiatives, helping to identify what is clear and known and what is less clear and therefore creates risk. They have defined OSCAR as shown below.

This second figure (below) shows how MOSL have applied OSCAR to a particular project, in this case the redesign of their Ops Process.

John Gilbert, Head of Planning for MOSL, commented:

The key to using OSCAR like this is that the assessment for each component is binary, either yes (green) or no (red). If it is no, then we focus on finding the path to green actions. This avoids the inevitable ‘amber’ middle-of-the-road assessment that stifles progress.

It focuses the owners of the projects on developing consistent material, builds a common language across the organisation, and identifies gaps in knowledge. The gaps are then filled with paths to green activities – what do you need to do to get to green.

People in our organisation have found it really easy to remember – they are using it for every project that they initiate. And it has introduced discipline and process into all of our projects.

It has also been presented to the Board and they are using the same framework to understand work that they are potentially asking the organisation to embark upon. This gives a great line of sight from Board to shop floor.”

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