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Information Management Capacity Check

Tool and Methodology

Table of Contents

Table of Contents (cont’d)

Overview IM Capacity Check Tool

Background  -  IM Capacity Check

  • Library and Archives Canada developed the IMCC to help federal government organizations assess their current IM capabilities against industry standards and best practices and develop a strategic plan to improve their IM Capacity.
  • The IMCC was developed in collaboration with stakeholders, other central agencies and subject matter experts in the public and private sectors.
  • Proof of concept was achieved in three successful pilot projects. The first was done on a department-wide basis, the second in a government cluster environment and the third at the project level.
  • Over thirty (30) federal government departments and agencies have successfully completed an IMCC self-assessment and the IMCC has had significant national and international attention.

Intellectual Property  -  Usage Restrictions

The IMCC Tool may only be used in accordance with the following:

  • The IM Capacity Check Tool has been designed for the use of (Canadian) federal departments and agencies, or other parties working on their behalf. This condition does not preclude third party organizations providing chargeable services utilizing this product in support of the federal government IM Capacity Check self-assessment. Third parties may utilize the IM Capacity Check for self-assessment but no third party may use this product for commercial gain outside the intended use for the (Canadian) federal government.
  • Use of the IM Capacity Check Tool must acknowledge and identify BearingPoint as the owner of this product. Departments and agencies have the right to adapt the product, and could do a self-assessment on their own or engage the services of consultants to help them carry out an assessment. Any adaptation must still continue to acknowledge and identify BearingPoint as a source of this product.

Objectives IM Capacity Check

  • Assess state of IM practices within each organization against a common standard. Assess current information management practices against recognized best practices and principles and identify level of "Capacity".
  • Bring together all the elements of information management practices. The Capacity Check is intended to integrate the full range of capabilities necessary to implement IM.
  • Compare against best practices. The Capacity Check is based on generally accepted best practices, and therefore provides an opportunity for organizations to assess where they stand relative to these best practices.
  • Develop plans for improvements to their information management practices. Organizations will be able to prioritize improvements in IM capabilities and pursue high priority opportunity areas.

Key Characteristics IM Capacity Check

Intended as a diagnostic tool for senior management of the organization. The IM Capacity Check focuses on:

  • Future direction  -  What capabilities must be in place in the future to respond to emerging client demands/changing environment.
  • Capacity - Expanding/improving organizational capability.
  • Priorities - Recognizes that an organization can only focus on selected improvement areas at any one time, and cannot be “best” at everything.
  • Competencies - Helps identify the information management competencies needed to move forward.
  • Senior management - Intended as a diagnostic tool for senior management of the organization.
  • Self Assessment - Directed self-assessment tool. Information is collected through interviews/workshops, and then validated by managers collectively.
  • Support for current change - Builds upon changes already underway to existing information management processes.

Capacity Check  -  Concept of Capabilities

  • Capabilities includes people, skills, processes, technology, policy, management framework and resources

IMCC Elements and Criteria

Principles for Element/Criteria Development

  • Bring together the key Elements of information management practices. The Elements reflect the integration of capabilities necessary to efficiently and effectively implement information management at the enterprise level.
  • The Elements are based on best practices and expert advice. The Elements are drawn from generally accepted best practices and from subject matter experts.
  • The Elements are sufficiently robust to apply across multiple GC organizations. The Elements reflect common areas of capacity building for information management. This provides the opportunity for GC organizations to assess their standing relative to a common set of best practices.
  • The Elements collectively define a comprehensive baseline. The Elements help to establish a baseline for IM capacity building, priority setting and action planning.

Elements of IM Capacity

Element Descriptions

Level/Scale Descriptions

  • Capacity 1  -  Initial (No systematic or formal approach exists for this capacity. Processes and practices are fragmented or non-existent. Where processes and practices exist, they are applied in an ad-hoc manner.)
  • Capacity 2  -  Defined (Processes and practices are defined to varying degrees and are not applied consistently. Basic management controls and disciplines for the capacity are in place.)
  • Capacity 3  -  Repeatable (Processes and practices are defined, well understood and used consistently across the organization. Processes and practices are also well documented.)
  • Capacity 4  -  Managed (A well-defined framework exists for this capacity. Process and practices are measured and managed to ensure delivery of desired results. Process and practices are embedded in the values of the organization and are coordinated in an integrated manner.)
  • Capacity 5  -  Optimizing (Focus on continuous improvement of the capacity. The concepts of innovation, organizational learning and continuous improvement of the capacity are incorporated into the values of the organization and are consistently applied.)

The IM Capacity Check Tool  -  Elements and Criteria

Key Elements of the IMCC Tool

Key Elements of the IMCC Tool (cont’d)

Guiding Principles for the IMCC Scales

  • The capacity scales have entity-wide relevancy;
  • The capacity scales are sufficiently flexible to apply to other entities and agencies;
  • The capacity scales are incremental, that is, each capacity level within a scale builds on the previous capacity level of the scale;
  • Relative consistency in the description of the capacity levels across all the scales, i.e., 1 is 1;
  • Each capacity level description is homogeneous and does not represents more that one level of capacity.

Lessons Learned  -  Interviews and Communications

  • Need to prepare interim report in order to confirm issues, gaps in information, and topics to pursue in greater detail.
  • A briefing is required at outset of project in order for the consultants to have a basic knowledge of the organization in terms of structure and lines of business.
  • The interviewee mix must consist of policy/operational interviewees to get an adequate cross-section.
  • Although not an audit, it is necessary to get some examples of the types of information reported/ examples of documentation (e.g., IM plans).
  • Telephone interviews are not as effective. Conduct in person interviews to the extent possible.
  • Due to the levels of interviewees (i.e. ADM/DG), some areas should be covered off with higher level questions. Also, keep communications at a high level prior to interviews.
  • Team members should be provided with an orientation which highlights the process steps. This will help during the interviews.
  • The interview process must be fluid. Probe the applicable areas and summarize the areas of non-involvement.

Project Team Structure and Expected Involvement of Organizational Staff

Overview and Composition of Project Team

Project Team Roles and Responsibilities

Methodology for an IMCC Assessment

Overall Methodology and Timeline for Assessment

  • Joint consultant-organizational team (Project Team) is trained in implementing Capacity Check.
  • A mix of techniques are used to collect the information to do the assessment, including workshops, interviews, and review of documentation.
  • Senior management from the organization being assessed is involved throughout the process.
  • Findings are consolidated and an assessment is done by joint consultant-organizational Project team.
  • Follow-up group sessions are held with a different cross section of senior management team from the organization being assessed, and the Project Team to validate the findings, the capability ratings and the opportunities for improvement.
  • The final step is preparation and approval of a report outlining the current and future state and an action plan for the resulting opportunities and priorities.

Overall Methodology and Timeline for Assessment (cont’d)

IMCC Methodology

Note: The following represents an overview of the IMCC Methodology. LAC recommends that the Methodology be followed as shown to obtain maximum input from stakeholders and organization-wide buy-in for planned priorities.

Step 1 Planning

Step 1 - Sample Assessment Timeline

Step 2 - Data Collection

Step 2 - Data Collection Approaches

Step 2 - Data Collection Process

Step 3 - Consolidation of Results

Step 3 - Consolidated Results Template (prepared for each criteria…)

Step 3 - Assessing the Capabilities- “As Is” and “To be” assessment - Sample

Step 3 - “As-Is” and “To-Be” Assessments overview

Step 4 - Validation of Findings

Step 5  -  Developing an Action Plan

Step 5 - Summary of Priorities and Opportunities - Template

To facilitate the prioritization of the projects, we graph them in the chart below, based on two factors: level of effort to implement, and expected impact that the initiative will have on the organization. Those of low effort and high impact may be likely candidates to begin with, to gain some initial successes.

Step 5 - Transition Map  -  Template

Step 5 - Contents of Assessment Report

Element and Scale Descriptions

Note: Due to proprietary considerations, full descriptions of the original 6 IMCC Elements and 32 Criteria and the rating scales are only available from Library and Archives Canada. Contact us via e-mail at

Additional Resources

After a IM Capacity Check is completed Library and Archives Canada has a number of Guides, Tools and Best Practices to help improve IM Capacity in your areas of priority and need.

Additional material useful for conducting an IM Capacity Check assessments such as Interview Guides and Communiqués are also available.

For information please contact:
Information Management Centre
Telephone: 819-934-7519