Having spent a long time as a customer it continues to frustrate me that many companies seem to neglect existing customers, it seems illogical to me:
- We want existing customers to be repeat customers
- Existing happy customers are a wonderful sales asset
- Existing customers are where we prove that we can deliver and not just sell
- Existing customers can be great partners in driving improvements in our products and services
- Existing customers are a great source of market intelligence
This neglect manifests itself in so many ways, but I loved this picture from the creating passionate users blog
Attracting and retaining best staff is becoming a bigger issue, my experience has always been that leadership, flexibility and freedom are big factors in retention. CnnMoney.com has a useful article that describes what the next generation are looking for and it seems to be more of the same:
77% of Gen Xers say they’d quit in a minute if offered “increased intellectual stimulation” at a different company. And they’re intent on managing their own time: 51% would jump ship for the chance to telecommute, and 61% of Gen X women would leave their current jobs if they were offered more flexible hours elsewhere.
One of my most popular posts was a mind map that attempted to capture the main themes of Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind. Presentation Zen has a great post which applies the themes in the book to presentations and it’s well worth a read. I particularly liked one of the slides in the article, which I have re-used to the right.
The following short extract summarizes the approach taken in the article – excellent:
The six fundamental aptitudes outlined by Pink can be applied to many aspects of our personal and professional lives. Below, I list the six key abilities as they relate to the art of presentation. The six aptitudes are: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. My discussion is with presentations (enhanced by multimedia) in mind, but you could take the six aptitudes and apply them to the art of game design, programming, product design, project management, health care, teaching, retail, PR, and so on
A few weeks ago I had the good fortune to come across a recorded talk by Thomas Malone on the future of work. Tom is a great speaker and conveys his key messages very clearly, and the implications of the message is definitely important for anyone working on personal knowledge management or collaboration. To see why it’s worth reading Tom’s summary:
I think we’re in the early stages of an increase of human freedom in business that may, in the long run, be as important a change for business as the change to democracies has been for governments.
The reason I think that’s happening is because for the first time in human history it’s now possible to have the economic benefits of very large organizations — like economies of scale — and at the same time have the human benefits of very small organizations — things like freedom, flexibility, innovation and creativity. And the reason that’s possible is because a new generation of information technologies — like the Internet, the World Wide Web, e-mail and business intelligence — is now making it possible for huge numbers of people, even in very large organizations, to have enough information to make sensible decisions for themselves instead of just following orders from someone above them in the hierarchy.
There are some powerful messages here, especially for knowledge workers, for example a few of the implications that spring to mind are:
an individuals personal knowledge management and collaboration solution will become increasingly important
individuals and small groups will become more self sufficient units
these units dynamically form relationships with other individuals and teams and collaborate to get things done
This will result in a significant reduction in the need for stable, traditional command and control hierarchies.
There are some good additional resources available to dig deeper into his ideas:
This is a great list of tools for note taking of various kinds. If you find yourself wanting to waste a day you might like to work through them all and have a go. For the record I didn’t try them out as OneNote seems to meet my needs pretty well.
This week has been mind mapping week on my blog, and this will be the last post on the subject for a while. Chuck Frey emailed me to provide details of his Mind Mapping Resource Center which is definitely worth checking out, it has links to articles reviewing most of the software available and well as information about his e-book; definitely worth checking out. Chuck’s site also places mind mapping in context with other innovation tools, including:
If you want to find out more about innovation then it’s also worth checking out this excellent white paper, by Howard Smith of CSC.
I have managed a lot of IT Infrastructure projects in my time, and a couple of smaller programmes. I have also keenly observed the management of several large programmes as a Chief Architect. This article is written from this perspective.
Some initial observations:
- IT Infrastructure Projects generally fail from at least one perspective and often more
- IT Infrastructure projects look superficially simple
- The programmes have been overly influenced by the personality and skills of the Programme Director
The following are a set of Article Titles that I intend to write over the next year or so; they give you a good idea of the issues I think are important:
- What does he do? The importance of top down Journal keeping to programme communication, coordination and team spirit
- The need for a balanced management team instead of Super Men
- Management information is a team resource
- The customer is not the same as the client
- Objectives and Requirements, why they are different and both important
- The importance of programme maturity reviews
- Conceptual integrity and how easy it is to loose it
- The lost art of estimating – take different perspectives
- How to plan a programme, top down meets bottom up and debates
- Why has my green programme suddenly gone red, (see next topic)
- How to milestone a programme
- Avoiding death by meetings
- The importance of “assumed responsibility” to successful scope management
- The importance of “eating your own dog food” and “daily builds”
- Achieving autonomous – coordinated – motivated teams
- Making the most of a co-located team
- Mitigating the risks of a virtual team
- Risks, Issues and Change a collective responsibility
- Key programme documents and processes
- Dangerous metrics and incentives
- Understanding the relationship between DCO,TCO and TVO
- The “red team”, or what to do when it all goes wrong