Yes I am jumping on that bandwagon, but for a very good reason. It strikes me that now more than ever is the time to be embracing the idea of being nimble. If you’re not sure what I mean by nimble, take a look here. It is our way of working that combines lean and agile to enable organisations to be faster moving and more adaptable. and agile to enable organisations to be faster moving and more adaptable.and agile to enable organisations to be faster moving and more adaptable. and agile to enable organisations to be faster moving and more adaptable.
No-one knows for sure what will happen at the end of this month and beyond and whatever plans you have put in place for your business all of the uncertainty means you might have to think on your feet as events unfold. A nimble process can help with this. In particular we can learn the lessons from our old friend Pareto when it comes to moving quickly in response to shifting sands – focus on what is important. 20% of your efforts will produce 80% of your results. My advice is find that 20% that will bring you the biggest gains – your most important thing. Do that thing first and go from there.
It is amazing how that shift in gear affects even the largest of businesses.
Assume you’ve assumed wrongly
Things are going to go well, things are going to go badly, at the heart of being nimble is taking the learnings from both of those things and reacting quickly, if things aren’t going well, how are you going to identify that and then what systems do you have in place to solve issues. Maybe you’ll be pulling an Andon cord and just stop to recalibrate, maybe you’ll have a plan to pivot and have a plan b to try. Maybe you’ll do something else entirely, the point here is ensure you understand what your success indicators are and reflect on these honestly.
Far too often we come across teams that are so afraid to fail they obfuscate reality and continue down a path to disaster merely because facing reality is too difficult – don’t let that be you, if you stay nimble then getting it wrong is just a lesson you’ll learn on the way to getting it right.
Know the risks and assumptions
When we workshop around strategic projects we take a leaf out of the google play book and travel into the future, but this is a future where we failed. As a team we look at why we failed and call those things out – that way, we are less surprised by things that my crop up and we can build solutions that account for some of these otherwise unsaid risks and assumptions. It is more engaging than asking for a set of risks and assumptions and allows people the freedom to think about what could get in the way.
I say this an awful lot, but there is a lot to be said for just getting on with things, don’t try and create a perfect solution before you look at the problem – craft as you go along, someone will ask a question you didn’t think of and a lot of the time people don’t know what they do or don’t want before they saw it. We’ll often mock up a quick design off the back of a how might we note that crystallises into an idea, that is tested and developed all in the time it would have taken to write a brief or create a spec.
Value real feedback
Just a small number of people can provide a vast level of insights – I read some research that you get 80% of your insight from just 5 users, the rest is diminishing returns and spreading that budget across further research provides much bigger gains – here is the research on that from neilsen https://www.nngroup.com/articles/why-you-only-need-to-test-with-5-users/
It is also a pertinent note that zero users provides zero insight – so even if your budgets are small, a small test is better than no test and the more rapidly you can move to test the more value there is in moving quickly (as you’ll scale from 5 users to all your users really quickly).
Iterate, iterate, iterate
So all of what I am saying is really based around quick bursts of iteration, insight, rinse and repeat, whether that is in your strategy, solutions or development. The key things to remember are:
- Find and focus on the most important things first
- Get feedback quickly and effectively
And it is amazing how rapidly you can turn a germ of an idea into a real opportunity or advantage – and then we come back to Brexit, I can’t give you advice on Brexit, you probably know what areas will impact you or not – what I can help you with is to identify the important stuff, to act quickly in an informed way and really take advantage of being nimble.
Whatever happens Brexit wise, if you’d like some assistance in becoming a more nimble digital organisation then give me a shout and we can help.