Business Agility

Business Agility is not about products, increasing speed, adapting to customers, reducing cost or even employee empowerment its about creating the human cohesion that delivers all of these business desires and more it establishes behavioural change and a new flexible TOM.

Karl Smith CEO Paradigm Interactions Inc.

What is Business Agility?

Business Agility replaces traditional organisational structures and redefines the organisation of labour, departmentalisation, management and decision-making authority. In turn staff move from one type of specialisation an I type person to enable them a wider engagement and impact through T and X types of work involvement.

Enterprise Agility is about moving on from the Henry Ford model of departments and silos into an integrated way of working that naturally responds to customer needs.

Business Agility removes;

  • Functional departmentalisation
  • Geographic departmentalisation
  • Product departmentalisation
  • Technology platform departmentalisation
  • Customer / market departmentalisation

Business Agility adds;

  • A single accountable person for the outcomes of the work
  • Work type definitions with one pan organisation focus (customers is a common one)
  • Simplified, self-service and automated governance, components and outcome validations

Business Agility enables the business to be able to be first to market through innovation and invention by faster release of new ideas, products and services.

Business Agility combines the business and production into one end to end team (without silos) built around the delivery of Ideas to Customers showing tangible value that establishes the business as an engaged and responsive partner.

Karl Smith CEO Paradigm Interactions Inc.

DevOps3 slices through the business to align with the customer outcomes and situates everything together either permanently or by continuous alignment that is need to ensure that the customer outcomes are also everyone else’s outcomes.

Business Agility and DevOps3

There have been great strides in making Agile serve business outcomes through BusinessAgility and Business Agility in recent years however in some organisations existing stratified societies and impotent management structures are being rebranded without actual change.

How can you determine if real Business Agility exists in an organisation?

  1. There is a single point of governance for each critical oversight pan organisation and there are no localisations (local definitions are transparent centrally if critical).
    • Pan Organisation Outcomes (have a chain of custody and are always visible)
    • Pan Organisation Experience (is strategic sitting outside the Business and Technology setting experience outcomes and validating outcomes), the rise of the CXO to the Board
    • Pan Organisation Assurance (indication controls, security, resilience and continuity is unified)
    • Pan Organisation Architecture and Engineering (from framework to delivery is unified)
  2. The flow of work is transparent and measured on cycle time to ensure continuous optimisation from inception to value delivery (everyone stops delivering products and internal services) of verifiable outcomes.
    • The flow of work has a single oversight owner pan organisation regardless of the skills being used on it.
    • Outcomes and validation criteria are broadly set at Enterprise level with an overall budget to meet them.
    • The work flow is tightly connected to outcomes and validation criteria not budgets, work areas, people or processes.
    • The work can be stopped at anytime should it not be considered performant to outcomes or outcome change and the finances will not be lost just redirected.
  3. An exhaustive list is available as part of Consultancy from Paradigm Interactions Inc.

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Interview with a #User #Experience #Guru part 2

User Experience (UX) why is it important?

User experience is so important because it enables client companies to get to the heart of their relationship with their customers without the marketing glamor that hides how they really feel and what they really experience. Client companies spend a great deal of money creating myths about what they do and their relationship to their customers but they also need the reality that user experience research brings.

Ultimately user experience is about the ability to make decisions based upon re-creatable rigorous scientific research (avoiding one person’s view) involving real customers to create actionable information for design and the businesses strategic and tactical objectives.

Real user experience should be at the heart of the client company making the alignment between them, their products and their customers. User experience can also be the starting point to create new business opportunities changing the client company’s future or creating entire new companies.

So you can change the future of a company or create new ones with User Experience (UX)?

Yes, in some way because user experience is seen as something new or an add-on many people are missing the point. User experience picks up on that entrepreneurial aspect that few people have by enabling client companies to rapidly test and distill (through user requirements) the few great ideas from the thousands of ideas that enable them to engage with and transact with their customers, build trust and establish relationships or become iconic service or product supplier.

So User Requirements are the critical bit?

Yes, if you can work out what does the customer want to do and how do they expect to acquire products or services then the market is predefined and ready for engagement.

Are User Requirements hard to find?

Ha, ha, you mean is there an easy way to find them? One of my sayings is ‘something new for the sake of something great’ some requirements seem obvious, but when tested with real customers are worthless. Other user requirements are only revealed in user research; I often find killer requirements in user research that make projects from a basic fix into a game changer. In one project I found 12 user requirements that would have made the software system better than the market leader ($150m to install) but not all the requirements made it into the build.

So not all User Requirements make it into the project, why?

Partly it’s business and partly it’s personality. The business part is cost and time, there may only be a specific remit of the project defined by a static cost and a static delivery date. In these circumstances un-used requirements are allocated to later phases in a logical way so that they add value. The second part personality goes to the expert culture, where people in a project team purposefully ignore or seek to limit user requirements because they want control, be seen to lead or be the expert. It’s quite sad as the expert culture is responsible for the 70/30 (though I think it’s more 90/10) where 70% of all technology projects fail. If people could be more objective and listen to the two expert groups the client company and the customers then we could change that ratio significantly. Unfortunately the expert culture will do almost anything to protect itself from be relegated to a mediator, even if that is it’s most effective and beneficial role.

When User Requirements don’t make it into a project does it affect the client outcomes?

Yes always, sometimes quite dramatically.

I worked with a digital agency (on another project) where they built a social network for a huge multinational. It was filled with lots of fun flash games based around a well-known household product. The client remit was we need to be involved in social media, the agency did no user research and the client company never asked for any. The result was a £1m spend on a social media system that had 88 (44 from the project team) people sign up.

The best way to understand this problem is to ask clients;

  • Do they want to have a go?
  • Do they want to fill a gap?
  • Do they want to capture a market?
  • Do they want to be iconic?

The 90% attitude is to have a go and they fail their original outcomes (but usually change the outcome to get something), 7% will fill a gap (because it’s new territory and they can’t qualify success), 2% will capture a market (but not hold it long, because they rest when they should push on to iconic) and 1% iconic because they got everything aligned before going to market.

What happens to the people who reduce the client outcomes and limit User Requirements effect on a project?

This depends on what the client company expectation was. Many people go on as if it’s normal to not deliver advantage then wonder why clients move to new service providers. I have provided consultancy at both ends of this spectrum. I offer vendor consultancy to see if the consultants who make the pitches actually have a considered (around the client) process or are just shoveling the same stuff for everyone. And looking at delivery divisions to see if they are fit for purpose in that area I have had people promoted and other fired for incompetence.

When working with developers my question is always ‘your changing the user requirement now embed in a design (for whatever reason) if the project fails because of this change, you will be fired, do you still want to make the change?’

This goes to the heart of requirements they are not opinions they are instructions, changing them should be at the peril of the person who changes them, there should always be a risk associated with a single perspective change.

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#Retail #banks need their #customers

Retail banks would like to live in the

  • past
  • future

anything but the present

The 90/00’s marketing gimmicks of creating a relationship with your bank are long gone in people’s minds. The problem for the banks is they now for the first time mean it, but have lost a lot of credibility and the confidence of the public.

A breach of trust ‘Sub Prime’

There are several reasons why ‘Sub Prime’ was so important for the banks and I think they need to be stated to understand why the banks need their customers more than ever. Before ‘Sub Prime’ the banks had an attitude of expansion, ever increasing targets and scared executives doing anything they could to reach their targets. The problem we all know is there is a limited number of people, across a lot of banks.

Regulation was a serious problem limiting investment options, however Chancellor Gordon Brown removed regulations to support competitiveness in British banking he opened the door to new more risky opportunities. The stage now set and an opportunity arises ‘Sub Prime’ I often wonder if someone had said “that means less than best, I don’t think so” things might have been hugely different today. ‘Sub Prime’ in effect was an opportunity for a number of US institutions to offset their huge risk across the world. To British bankers a way to quickly meet the huge growth targets they were expected to reach. And yes, a lot of people made a lot of money but then again they already were so this is nothing new.

The problem with all this goes to confidence, it has been said that the Wall Street crash (1920’s) was caused by the New York Times questioning the strength of the economy because they could not fill their advertising quota. If you question an investment loud enough it scares people and scared people run for safety, in investments that’s low risk, low yield like Gold, Silver (except if everyone jumps in) and Government backed bonds. People follow a crowd, mentality if the see people running in a direction instinctively they follow, it’s completely normal. It was very embarrassing to hear people talk about “a house not being an investment anymore” but “just a place to live” again some people have made huge sums of money from property investment (good on them) but for most people a house is a home.

Retail banks need their customers

The background set retail banks now have to take on board basic marketing concepts of cross selling and up-selling into a market that trusts them less than ever before. I suppose I have the same question as other customers “what’s in it for me?” I get that the banks think they have a captive market, but they don’t. It would be a hassle to change banks, but if I get less un-targeted marketing materials it might be worth it. I understand the call to action and take advantage of the user experience lifecycle but it may take quite a few years for that to apply to customers. Maybe what banks need to focus on at this point is servicing existing customers with what they already have to a level of satisfaction before assuming they can cross sell and up-sell.

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