Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Agile strategy development and random walking

All this is seeming very topical at the moment with a recent Times newspaper whole Raconteur supplement on the subject (14th Sept 2014 edition - not on the site for downloading just yet). So I thought I would expand a bit on the thinking and linking - well more linking than thinking actually (more in line with an agile approach)!

How does the agile strategy development link to the concepts presented in the 'Agile Random Walks' monograph (ref: http://www.amazon.co.uk/AGILE-random-walks-Random-walk-ebook/dp/B00NF5J4C2 )?

If I could draw this in a diagram I would (Random Walk no. 3 concept) - but I can't, so this will have to do - sorry ;)

Element 1 - Blue Sky thinking. This effectively relates to defining the end states for your 'equifinality' approach (Random Walk no.14 concept) coupled with 'viewpoints' of the future business (RW no. 15 concept)

Element 2 - Horizon planning. Making links to your blue sky thinking 'touchpoints' which covers a bit of RW no 3 and a bit of RW no. 7 and a bit of RW no. 10 and a bit of RW no. 13.

Element 3 - Roadmap for the year. Development of more tangible activities for the 'touchpoint' areas which covers RW no. 2, RW no. 5, definitely RW no. 7.

Element 4 - Immediate plans which covers RW no. 4, RW no. 6 (if you must), RW no. 8 (absolutely), RW no. 11, and finally RW no. 12.

I think that stacks up as an approach?

Moving on .....

Monday, 6 October 2014

4-Elements of developing an agile strategy!

The proposed elements of an agile business plan look a little bit like those of a traditional business plan. The main differences are around the timescale for delivery (or failure) of initiatives and the ability to trial a business option RIGHT NOW!

So what do the 4 elements look like - note the following steps need to be drawn as a diagram not written up as as loads of words - not very agile that!

Element 1: 'Blue sky' thinking (beyond 5-years) - what does the target market look like with unconstrained thinking - new tech, new processes, new people, new information .... whatever. Your change to have fun predicting the future vision for the market sector.

Element 2: Horizon planning (up to 5-years) - identify areas of your service/product that has the ability to 'touch' this sky. You don't need any detail - its still horizon planning - just think through areas which have a link to the sky. Draw in the 'touchpoints' (links) on the diagram.

Element 3: Roadmap for the Year (6-12 months hence) - bit of chicken and egg thinking - taking the touchpoint areas and identify what you need in your toolkit to get into these areas. Do you need to re-vamp (pivoted) any current services to address the touchpoints? Do you need supporting infrastructure to access the touchpoints? Do you need new skill sets to enter the touchpoints effectively? etc.

Element 4: Hear and now planning (0-3 months hence) - these 'Do you needs' are your RIGHT NOW initiatives. Where possible start small and grow into them. The key ingredient is starting something RIGHT NOW to begin entry. Maybe you have some existing projects that can help build credibility and capability in the touchpoint areas - get people on them RIGHT NOW. These projects should be aimed at delivering something in the touchpoint area within a timescale of at most 1 month. No long-term projects where people can hide for months on end only to find out it doesn't work at the end. UP - RUNNING - RIGHT NOW - QUICK - RESULTS. Fail = move on to the next project. Pass = push for the next stage of the initiative, follow on work, product development etc.
(p.s. don't take your eye off the day job - try and integrate the RIGHT NOW projects into the day-to-day as much as possible.)

If you can't do the 'RIGHT NOW' bit then forget even trying to be agile in your planning. If you find yourself in the 'lets put together a business case for presentation to blah blah ....' then you have already lost the plot before you even start. Make sure the organisation ready for such rapid fire or you will fail.

How to run a RIGHT NOW project ......