Maintaining product quality

Customer loyalty takes years to build but only a minutes to destroy. For this reason, even a strong proposition, business model and team can experience significant setbacks when quality slips away during the scaling process. From experience, this risk is best addressed from 3 separate angles:

  1. The product mindset.
    • Establish the right organisational structure that ensures quality is everyone’s responsibility.
    • Maintain transparency and alignment to the most important metrics.
    • Structure quality investments to be aligned with customer sensitivity.
  2. An agile culture.
    • Build processes that ensures quality is built in.
    • Educate teams in being vocal around specific requirements.
    • Distribute the responsibilities for building and validating quality to continually mature the team’s thinking.
  3. Engineering maturing
    • This could be using automation, gates, TDD/BDD, simulations.
    • Use intelligent cloud tools such as AWS Device Farm.
    • Adopt frameworks to support the ideas of 1 & 2 (e.g. gherkin, cucumber, cypress, selenium).

Building Balanced & Sustainable Enterprise Digital Capability

Since resources are finite, your Digital Strategy is a matter of choosing where and how to focus on certain capability areas at exclusion of others. This means that there will be an active choice to put less emphasis on other areas. The outcome of these decisions, choices and methods in your organisations Digital DNA.

A transformation will struggle to deliver sustainable & scalable value propositions if it has any number of capability blind spots. Each proposition requires a capability combinations that are employed in a consistent and scaleable fashion.

In hindsight, there are plenty of common pitfalls caused by a lack of digital capability balance. Here I detail a few more recent configurations & likely outcomes & alternatives to be careful to avoid making the same mistakes.

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It's a Good Time to Re-establish OKRs In Our Remote World

I recently shared a battle-tested, Objectives and Key Results (“OKR”) remote activity template on the Miroverse. Too often transformation failures stemming from a variety of inter-group misalignment. Although it seems like smooth sailing, deeper analysis often highlights unchecked assumptions and mismatches.

A straight-forward activity to identify and remediate these risks involves boiling down complex interactions to the bare minimum. The aim of the template is help empower a facilitator to conduct a remote, guided exercise that brings transparency & vision alignment to an upcoming or ongoing change initiative.

Any complex transformation is thwart with danger. Investing in this 1 day activity provides a stronger platform of group alliance. It provides critical learning, reflection and collaboration opportunities, helping shift the chances of success in your favour.

A blank canvas awaits:

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A data-driven approach to bridging invisible cultural divides

Early in my career at IBM Sydney I was trained in the cultural considerations of working in a global team. A theory I still regularly use to this day are those underpinning the Hofstede Insights. Particularly being based in Europe, it is critical to be conscious of country comparisons. Understanding cultural gaps can help bring clarity to mysterious cross-cultural group dynamics that are otherwise extremely difficult to diagnose. This is most useful to me in a few situations:

  1. Inside a team, by running through a comparative analysis during a kickoff meeting. It helps set expectations and establish common working practices.
  2. When working with international clients. We can customise solutions and communications based on the expectations and needs.
  3. In marketing strategy (e.g. webinars, presentations, or blogs). Using geographical analytics of an audience can really increase the effectiveness of an investment.

The most time-effective way to use the Hofstede insights is to identify and address areas with a high risk of disconnect. It really works: using this approach I was able to build a positive working relationship with clients from the Benelux region. Although only a 2 hour train from London, there is a 59 point difference between UK & Belgium’s Uncertainty Tolerance (see diagram). With this knowledge, our team was able to design working practices to bridge this divide. For example, we lead with concrete communication, focused on detailed risk analysis, and were focused on reducing the unknown.

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Time has a higher price in the Enterprise AI/ML Race

While enterprises typically underinvest in most transformation areas, the involvement of introducing new AI/ML models are more likely to be overestimated. This might be because ideas such as “Cloud” are comparable to regular infrastructure, whereas AI/ML is only comparable humanoid robots existing only in Scifi world.

The reality is that AI/ML models are much simpler. Many simple deep learning processes and basic statistical models come pretty well off the shelf to get started, and can offer immediate value in months rather than years. The quicker firms that understand this and get a head start on this new world will have a significant advantage in years to come.

The speed of enablement is even more critical in AI/ML due to the invalidation of the old paradigm of linear advancement based on human effort. Now the machines are in charge. The human limitations like the “Mythical Man Month” and management overheads are no longer in full effect. Therefore there is a steerer exponential growth rate compared with other areas.

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