Open Book Management (OBM) came up when John Case (Inc. Magazine) invented and determined the concept and started using it in 1993. Later on Jack Stack (SRC Holding) completed the OBM management model, after which it was applied and taken into use more generally.
The basic idea of Open Book Management is to share information in the organisation more widely than just in relation to one’s own specific job. The aim is to commit the personnel to the company’s targets by sharing information about the company’s state of affairs. John Case’s idea was that people see themselves more strongly as part of the organisation when they are kept openly informed. It is believed that this will benefit people and personnel in daily decision making. Thus the personnel will have the basis from which to identify how daily choices can affect the company. The starting point is that the mere figures on revenue, results and other finances are not believed to be sufficient information for commitment. We should also distribute other information in order to give our personnel the opportunity to experience trust and to provide them with the basis for genuine commitment.
Sharing the portfolio information has an effect on the personnel’s motivation
Publishing selected portfolio information serves well the targets based on the Open Book Management (OBM) principle. By providing essential information and key figures from the portfolio management to our personnel and our key partners, we can, in a controlled way, inform them about the methods, meanings and priorities of strategic implementations.
Open communication improves management standards
Consequently this challenges our own management, since we must be prepared to comment on the questions relating to the strategic implementation, when these questions arise from our personnel and key partners. Thus we will also improve the standards of management. We will be transparent in raising difficult issues and ask our personnel to participate more widely in thinking about solutions for our organisation.
Portfolio can be used to tell people what is expected from them
As an example of portfolio management tools, the Thinking Portfolio (PPM Tool) project portfolio enables sharing selected portfolio information via different information channels. A practical example is to share information in Intranet or Extranet, amongst others. Thus we can, at the same time, receive follow-up information about those themes which have raised interest and respect in the organisation.