Draft or Final

Posted Posted in Articles, Problem Solving, Strategy, Transformation

Some organisations have a different approach to how they handle the status of a document. The approach belies a more fundamental culture of how work is commissioned and reviewed and how staff are viewed. Background One of my clients exhibited odd behaviour regarding commissioning work and approving it. Due to the nature of the engagement, decisions were made by me and then relayed to the client. That, almost unilateral, form of decision-making has not be the norm for my engagements. Instead, I’d have preferred to have reviewed the actions while I was working on those actions (rather than after the fact). It was all a bit backwards compared to any other client engagement, where we would address scope questions early on and progress from that more detailed, joint understanding. Even though I was assessing business capability maturity, it felt contractual. […]

Fax Machine

The Parallels Between RPA and Fax Automation

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

There are times when the cheap and nasty solution is so economically efficient that it can preclude doing it properly later on. Background – The Fax Just under a decade ago, I was working with a local authority client and their NHS hospital partner. The interpretation of the law at that time was that email was considered a non-secure channel. Fax was at the time the chosen channel since it was considered to be secure. So documents were sent from the hospital, via the fax machine to the fax machine in the social care offices. Continuing Health Care panels met to decide on whether the NHS or the local authority paid for the care, based on whether the primary need was a health need or a social care need. That’s simplifying the logic behind the process and the decision but it’s […]

A Fabricated Example of Using OKRs with Archimate

Using Archimate to model OKRs for Business Motivation

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

Following the theme of moulding different modelling languages, methodologies and toolsets together, I want to take a look at how to model OKRs in Archimate. Once again, I’m using Archi (or ArchimateTool) with the Archimate modelling language. OKRs do not cascade Just because the diagram depicts a hierarchy, doesn’t mean that the objectives cascade down the organisational hierarchy. Following the logic in OKRs don’t cascade, I’ve taken the approach of the depicting the hierarchy, rather than how that hierarchy is achieved. In the article, Felipe mentions that objectives should not be cascaded down the organisation. Instead, objectives and key results should be discussed and agreed at each level. The resulting picture is the same either way, but the content of the objectives and key results may be different depending on the route. Contributing Goals Depending on the level of the organisation, […]

Mint tea

Collaboration or Contract: A Decision of Flow

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Transformation

Ask anyone who’s been involved in any significant implementation and they’ll have come across the waterfall approach. It typically leads to a contractual relationship between one team who are working on artefacts that are then handed over to a subsequent team. While the flaws of waterfall have been well-documented, this concept of contract versus collaboration extends to many areas of work. Example Let’s use a brief story as an analogy for the concepts of contract and collaboration. It’s an incredibly simple story, but even with the simplicity, we can see the complications that can arise from a contractual relationship. My wife and I walked into a coffee shop. I was left to order the drinks at the counter. So I’d asked what drink did she want. “Mint tea please” She orders a lot more hot drinks than I do, so […]

Direction of Travel for Gym Business Models

New Year, New Gym, New Business Model

Posted Posted in Articles, Strategy, Transformation

The business of gyms is an odd one. It’s full of business principles from the 1970s with a thin veneer of customer service from the 1990s. What’s the modern approach? Let’s look at the typical issues with modern gym memberships. If you search on a few review sites or social media, you’ll commonly see a number of prospects who turned their back on transitioning to customers mixed with disgruntled customers. From a cursory glance, there are significantly more unhappy customers than happy customers and the gap between is wider than in any other industry that I can think of. So what’s the reason behind this? I think it could be due to gym managers and owners applying the wrong business model. The Continuum From a very simplistic viewpoint, we can fit products onto a continuum from commodities, feature-based through to […]


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

Posted Posted in Articles, 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 […]

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 and so should be at the forefront of many strategic and tactical discussions. 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 […]

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 […]

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 […]