Books

Where Do I Learn? – Part 2 – Books

Posted Posted in Articles, Mentoring and Training, Methodology, Service Redesign, Startups, Strategy

If I’m driving, I’m listening to podcasts. If I’m travelling by train, then I’m reading. I typically read books that don’t directly relate to my profession, but those that I hope will change my approach to how I work with clients. For every client I go to, I end up mentoring business analysts, business architects, programme manager, project managers and other change programme staff. So I’ve kept a list of references (not just books) on Evernote and I tailor it to the person I’m mentoring at that time. Here’s the list of books that I recommend: 1. Lean 1.1. Womack and Jones: Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation http://amzn.to/1sCHWwD This is the book I recommend to anyone trying to understand lean for changing services and organisations. However, once you understand, you’ll start applying it to other areas […]

Zombie Hands

Be a Startup, not a Zombie

Posted Posted in Articles, Startups

I’m just catching up on an episode of The Salesman Podcast hosted by Will Barron. The episode is about being the first sales person in a new company. While I agree with everything Vinnie has said, one thing came to mind. If you’re the first salesperson and you’re conducting product-market fit conversations, then you’re working for a zombie, not a startup; it’s dead, but doesn’t know it. I can’t think of a more suitable activity for the founders before hiring anyone than to conduct those conversations themselves. The only exception I can think of is where the founders have zero business sense (think of the traditional, out-dated view of scientists) and need to hire to make a business. Think back to Steve Blank’s Customer Development concepts and subsequently, Eric Ries’ Lean Startup, checking whether the market wants your concept and whether […]

Lean Canvas

How the Lean Canvas Promotes the Sharing of Innovation Ideas

Posted Posted in Articles, Innovation

I had the great opportunity to see how different organisations approach short-scale corporate innovation, at the NWG Festival of Innovation (#NWGInnovationFestival) earlier this month. The Festival was set-up to resemble a summer festival, complete with the action happening in temporary tents around the racecourse. There were several different design sprints each in their own tent section, each tackling a different theme. The Challenge Walking through the different sprint rooms, it took time to understand what problem was being solved, how the team were approaching the solution and what was being designed. This took longer for some of the sprints than for others. In one particular group, understanding what the teams were doing was an amazingly easy and quick task. Stepping back, I noticed that each of the teams in that sprint room were using the same tool and they were […]

Lean Service Improvement Book

Service Improvement Book – In Progress

Posted Posted in Book

After a year or so working with a large, complex client and some time before that working on a startup, I’m back to writing the book I started a couple of years ago. Three good things have come from this break: Both of the experiences have confirmed that the book needs to be written. What I have seen in the last two years has proven to me that there is a gap and this book will fill that gap Both of the experiences have provided more evidence about which tools and techniques work well From a personal perspective, the break has given me more motivation to complete the book I expect to be publishing in 2016.

What value do you place on your support networks?

Posted Posted in Besteno, Startups

Introduction I gave a short presentation at GreatPreneurs’ conference (#GPConf2014) in Manchester this weekend on the subject of “What does your support network do for you?” I wasn’t talking about friends or family, but rather the startup events and meetings that occur in your city. Value I’m pretty convinced you could eat for a month without having to buy any food by attending an event in the morning, a different one in the afternoon and one or two in the evening. Every day. In Manchester, UK, there are enough events to do this. But if you were to do so, that’s all you’d manage to accomplish. Well, that plus swapping business cards and talking to people. You wouldn’t actually get any work done. When you’re pre-startup, bouncing around ideas and wondering what you’re business is going to be, these events can be […]

Applying Lean Startup in the Public Sector

Posted Posted in Articles, Methodology, Service Redesign, Transformation

Yesterday, I presented at #Leanconf 2013 in Manchester. It was the first Lean Conference covering Lean Startup in Europe. There was a great energy to the 2-day event with a variety of planned and unplanned talks plus lots of opportunity to network without the usual tradeshow conference feeling of being stalked by sales managers. I don’t think I’ve seen a community spirit like that in a long time; every attendees helped someone else no matter how far along their own ideas were. In the spirit of the energy that I encountered at the conference, I’ve placed the slides on slideshare. If you download the presentation, you can read the notes which will help you make more sense of the slides. Hopefully the video will be online as well soon. When it is available, I’ll update and post a link to […]

Lean Service Improvement Book

Forthcoming Book on Improving Your Own Service

Posted Posted in Articles, Book

Some of you may already know, I’m in the process of writing a book on improving your own service. I’m aiming the book at the people who work the process themselves, e.g.: nurses social workers claims adjusters HR/OD staff office managers office administrators hotel staff and their managers and change agents/analysts As you can see, it’s not restricted to any industry, but will be most relevant to those working in service industries (whether from private, public and 3rd sector), so that should include: public sector health finance retail leisure legal More accurately, the information in the book could be useful for any industry, however there already exist books for improving manufacturing production processes, so I have not covered them. What’s the book about? The focus is on improving a service without recourse to large consultancy fees and should work well […]

Signs by I Am Fry under by-nd 2.0

The Customer Journey Never Ends

Posted Posted in Articles

I’m reminded of the phrase “a dog is for life, not just for Christmas”. Similarly, as soon as an organisation starts a relationship with a customer, they’re stuck with that relationship. Many organisations design customer journeys but think from their own perspective rather than that of the customer. That’s a mistake but one that can be simply rectified. An exchange between customer and company lasts longer than the original transaction. For instance, if a customer buys a product, has a fault, then has to return it. That’s one set of interactions all about the one transaction. The fact that it can last longer is nothing new, what has changed is the proximity of the customer and company. Now, the customer can submit a complaint online, they can spread the word via social media or they can ask for assistance on […]

Cupcake by zigazou75 CC-by-2.0

The Cupcake Strategy – Business Strategy for a Startup Business

Posted Posted in Articles, Strategy

Introduction I’m often talking business strategy and how it can apply to any business no matter how new or how small. Strategy should be applied to every business but it’s a shame that the closest many business owners get to it is a business plan for a bank loan. This is even worse when they may have need a lesser amount or even avoided the loan completely had they planned differently. What I’ll Cover about Business Strategy I can think of a few TV series where one of the characters set up a restaurant or a cupcake business. There’s something about that concept that must correlate with our desires. I see many new cake businesses, I know several people who have all separately and independently started into cake-making businesses. So based on that comes the new series of articles. I’m […]

Be The Customer

Be The Customer

Posted Posted in Articles, Transformation

Introduction I really believe in getting customer input, especially before you build you product or service. Lean Six Sigma includes the concept as part of Voice of Customer, Lean Startup and similar methods include the concept within Customer Development. If you work for an existing organisation that currently delivers products/services rather than a start-up, sometimes it’s easier to actually be your customer than to gather their input. Many companies try to get closer to customer needs by using mystery shoppers. Again, depending on your product this avenue may not be necessary. Examples I’ve been reminded of this many times when I see a process that just doesn’t make sense for the customer, but looks like it would have made sense for the person working in the office who created the process. I’ll discuss three examples below: Traffic Wales I was driving back […]