Look at the Evidence – the Spike and Delay Pattern in Social Care

Posted Posted in Methodology, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

A number of years ago, I was transforming a city’s social care directorate and, as part of that transformation, we aimed to reduce the time it took to do anything when interacting with the service. The transformation was based on a more fundamental need to free up workers to be able to do the work they were meant to do rather than having to fight the fires caused by delays and resulting failure demand. I instigated a methodical approach for identifying which cycles to focus on first. As the team progressed through the cycles, I noticed a pattern; it’s the spike of activity followed by a lengthy delay as discussed in a previous article. As we looked in particular at a few cycles of spike followed by a delay, I routinely advised the team to question the need for that common […]


The Delay Following the Spike – Issues with Cycle Time in Service Industries

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Transformation

How long does it take you to do what your customers want? Not just the first part, but the whole of it? 1. The Pattern I see this pattern commonly replicated across service industries. It involves a very short spike of activity (e.g. 5-20 minutes) followed by a lengthy delay where something is sent to the customer and the organisation waits for the return. This is followed by a 2nd spike of activity which in turn is followed by another lengthy delay. Depending on the bureaucracy involved, this process may involve several rounds of spike and delay, each adding to the overall delay in service for the customer and, most likely, increasing failure demand on the organisation. 2. Some Samples Let’s have a look at a few industries and see how this pattern plays out: 2a. Retail Industry Take for […]


The Whole Chicken

Posted Posted in Articles, Strategy

KFC has a radio commercial playing over the last few weeks, but I’m struggling to understand what it means. I understand the words but they’re contradictory, even within the commercial spot itself. I’m left wondering what the business motivation is behind commissioning that ad slot. What was the intention? The Content Here are some of the main points of the commercial: “The whole chicken, just the chicken and nothing but the chicken.” “For £12.99” “Prices may vary” Analysis Let’s take each of those in turn: “The whole chicken, just the chicken and nothing but the chicken.” Did someone fall in love with that phrase and refuse to see the reality when presented with it. The deal includes fries and drink. Neither of them count as chicken. It’s not just chicken or nothing but the chicken. There are sides. Maybe those […]

Business Motivation Model for GDPR

GDPR: The White Knight or The Elephant in The Room

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

I’m going to use GDPR as an example of how prioritised goals can make a big difference in how an organisation responds to change. I’ve no wish to jump on the consultancy bandwagon that is GDPR; I’m definitely no expert on the subject. However, GDPR will serve as a good example in this content as it’s a topical subject that many organisations are addressing. A brief perspective on GDPR I have a simple view of GDPR in that it’s requiring organisations to be better citizens, i.e. to behave better with the data that they obtain and manage. While there are a those complaining about the effects of GDPR, I would first want to question the motives of the companies they work for. I would be looking to see whether the motives are customer-centric or profit-centric. For most customer-centric organisations, most of […]

Checkout Till

Finding a balance between the needs of the organisation and the needs of the customer

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Strategy

Some companies are immature in their approach to customer relationship management (CRM), but at the heart is a desire to get something for free. And that’s wrong. The scenario You look around a shop, you pick something up, take it to the checkout, wait in a queue. You notice that the queue is moving slowly, despite most customer only having a handful of items and then paying with credit card. Maybe the link to the credit card authoriser is a bit flakey today? It’s your turn at the checkout. Once the greeting and the small talk is out of the way, the dreaded question is delivered by the sales assistant “Can I have your email address please?” or some variant on that request for your email. This may be followed with “can I take your postcode?” or “do you already […]

Business Architecture and Service Design

How Might We Apply Service Design to the Enterprise?

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Strategy, Transformation

I simplistically take the view that Service Design is the concepts and methods of Design Thinking applied to making services work better for their customers. It’s a definition that works in the circles I most commonly move in, i.e. directors, programme directors, etc. It allows me to set the stage in which service design and design thinking both play. However on the same stage, we commonly find KPIs, OKRs, Business Architecture, etc. And the stage starts to look crowded very quickly. We also start to see people pulling in different directions, like someone has let a mouse loose in the chorus of an Italian opera. Operas and plays have directors, often many directors each responsible for their own domain, but with one artistic director responsible for the overall vision. Envisioning Now imagine what would the stage look like if the […]

Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture as Peers

The Maturing of Business Architecture

Posted Posted in Articles

In Black Sheep or Shepherd, I introduced the idea that Business Architecture isn’t aligned with Enterprise Architecture as well as we may expect from looking at traditional structures for Enterprise Architecture. I’ve had several conversations about that topic since, all raised by the person I was talking with, rather than me asking them. And we’re all coming to similar set of conclusions: Business Architecture doesn’t fit well within Enterprise Architecture (more on this below) Business Architecture as a profession is maturing Organisations who are using Business Architects are using them differently Business Architecture may be better defined as a peer capability to Enterprise Architecture, rather than within EA. Let’s take each in turn. 1. Business Architecture doesn’t fit well within Enterprise Architecture I covered a lot of this in Black Sheep or Shepherd. The traditional implementation of EA originates from an IT […]

The Washroom Principle - Revised

The Washroom Principle – The Easiest Way to Evaluate a Company

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Strategy

There are plenty of methods for conducting due diligence, whether for partners, customers, suppliers or mergers. They’re lengthy and they’re expensive. There are times for adopting principles of formal Business Architecture, such as capability matching in M&A situations. But no matter what the deliverables indicate, there’s a useful and quick check to perform as a balance. I’d like to introduce the quickest method for evaluating a company. Check the state of the washrooms nearest the directors Check the state of the washrooms in the middle of the office, e.g. where developers work, where finance work, etc Compare the two and evaluate according to the 4 box model below The Simplified View The simple view consists of a 4-box model with two axis; vertical for the quality of the director/board/exec washrooms and horizontal for the quality of the employee washrooms. That […]

Capability Components

Pardon, which sector? – Xtech and Why I’m Fed Up with Tech part 3

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Startups, Strategy, Transformation

I’ve written previously about the issues with xtech that arise from applying -tech to the end of a sector such as healthtech, fintech, etc. And I introduced (and revoked) the idea of a -value suffix. Earlier this week, a conversation earlier made me think more about this and I want to explore the concepts of Business Capability and Capability Components further. The entrepreneur mentioned that he was in the finance sector. On questioning further, the offer was a financial app for any sector. There’s a big difference and we can explore that difference in a matrix between capabilities and sectors. At first glance, that looks like a contender for the world’s least useful matrix. On second glance, I’d also probably agree with my first impression. Not only does every cell in the matrix have a tick in it (so there’s […]

Capability Vision 0_04

Using Archimate for Business Motivation Model and MSP – Part 6: Capabilities and Org Units

Posted Posted in Articles, Mentoring and Training, Methodology, Strategy, Transformation

Taking the model defined so far and introducing the concept of capability changes and the effect on the organisation units. Recap In the first article, I introduced the standards and the tools that are in scope of this series of articles. To recap, the chosen tools/standards/methods are: Archimate – The open source enterprise architecture modelling standard Archi – a tool for working with Archimate Managing Successful Programmes (MSP) Business Motivation Model (BMM) In the second article, I introduced how I’m handling benefits and goals. In the third article, I introduced the corporate element of the BMM. In the fourth article, I introduced the Blueprint element of MSP. In the fifth article, I introduced the whole diagram so far and the achieving different perspectives on that model In this article, I’m going to introduce a related model that includes how to […]