Connecting with Customers


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Even today, to the detriment of agile success, most organizational cultures remain delivery date-driven—resulting in delivery teams that are not focused on creating value for the customer. So how can we redirect stakeholders, the business, and the project team to concentrate on delivering the greatest value rather than simply meeting dates? Pollyanna Pixton describes the tools she has used in collaboration sessions to help all stakeholders and team members begin the process of adopting customer-centric agile methods. These tools include laying out an end-to-end customer journey, forming reusable decision filters to help prioritize backlogs, converting features into actionable user stories, and developing a solid process for making group decisions and communicating those decisions. Pollyanna shares questions that product owners and managers can use to define the problem while making sure they don't solve the problem prematurely. After all, that is the responsibility of the delivery team.

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Connecting with Customers

  1. 1.   WK1 Keynote  11/13/2013 8:30 AM          "Connecting with Customers"         Presented by: Pollyanna Pixton Accelinnova                       Brought to you by:        340 Corporate Way, Suite 300, Orange Park, FL 32073  888‐268‐8770 ∙ 904‐278‐0524 ∙ ∙
  2. 2. Pollyanna Pixton Accelinnova International leadership expert, Pollyanna Pixton developed the models for collaboration and collaborative leadership through her thirty-eight years of working inside and consulting with many organizations. She helps companies create workplaces where talent and innovation are unleashed— making them more productive, efficient, and profitable. Pollyanna is a founding partner of Accelinnova, president of Evolutionary Systems, and director of the Institute for Collaborative Leadership. She writes and speaks on topics of creating cultures of trust, leading collaboration, and business ethics. Her models are found in her book, Stand Back and Deliver: Accelerating Business Agility. Pollyanna co-founded the Agile Leadership Network and has chaired Leadership Summits in the US and England. Contact her at
  3. 3. Connecting with Customers
  4. 4.                                     Pollyanna  PIXTON     Co-­‐Founder,  Accelinnova President,  Evolu3onary  Systems   Director,  Ins3tute  of  Collabora3ve  Leadership     Text:  801.  209.  1095   Blog:    
  5. 5.  date   driven     vs                           value               driven  
  6. 6. can we predict…
  7. 7.      customer  needs     and  when   we  can     ship?    
  8. 8. …future revenue generated reliably? real cost saved? … …market pricing?
  9. 9. Competition Pivots          Faster  to  market   Differen3a3ng  features              (we  become  parity)  
  10. 10. Unfortunately…
  11. 11. we don’t know what we don’t know
  12. 12.   5%   chance of getting it right -­‐  NASA  
  13. 13. Leadership Role You can’t defy gravity! - Paul Gibson
  14. 14. Product Not Ready §  High technical debt §  Poor quality §  Loss of credibility and reliability §  Not enough features §  Unhappy customers
  15. 15. why do we keep doing it?
  16. 16. leaders want to create urgency “I need it now!” “It ALL must be done in 3 months!” “The customers must have all of this!”
  17. 17. leaders want control “What is it going to cost?” “How long will it take?” “Can you do it in less?”
  18. 18. move to value driven
  19. 19. understand   the  value  to   your   customers  
  20. 20.    understand   value  to  the business     the          
  21. 21. learn  at  the  pace  of  the    market  
  22. 22. delight  customers  as  you  build  
  23. 23. Tools You Need §  Product Inception Planning §  Customer Journey §  Decision Filters §  Proactive Risk Management §  Minimal Viable Product §  Metrics
  24. 24. product inception planning (from many meaningful thoughts, one valuable vision)
  25. 25. Objectives §  Clear and compelling vision §  Shared understanding across team §  Prepare to actively design and build §  Who owns what, who is responsible for what §  Form a product/project team
  26. 26. customer journey and touch point mapping               (alignment  and  understanding)  
  27. 27. Four Important Questions The business should provide the problem – not the solution. 1.  Who do we serve? 2.  What do they want and need most? 3.  What do we provide to help them? 4.  What is the best way to provide this?
  28. 28. Customer Journey
  29. 29. Example: Online Postage We go to the post office a lot and waste time in line. Customer support Maintenance Prove value Search online, Compare, Read reviews   Installation Printer setup Billing options Set up account Sign up for trial Buy decision
  30. 30. what parts of your product touch the customer?
  31. 31. Online Postage Touch Points? We go to the post office a lot and waste time in line. Customer support Maintenance Prove value Search online, Compare, Read reviews   Installation Printer setup Billing options Set up account Sign up for trial Buy decision
  32. 32. articulate the vision
  33. 33. “billboard” test…   the    
  34. 34. the    low  cost  airline.”   “To  be                                                              -­‐  Southwest  Airlines  
  35. 35. Online Postage Billboard?
  36. 36. decision filters (focus  on  vision)  
  37. 37. help “Will  this    us   be     the  low  cost  airline?”                                                                                  -­‐  Southwest  Airlines  
  38. 38. decision filters: make daily decisions prioritize backlogs set realistic goals
  39. 39. Tips and Examples §  Integrity matters §  Don’t ‘sort of’ pass the filters! To increase performance: §  “Will this increase performance by20%?” To release in 6 months: §  “Can this get done in 4 months?”
  40. 40. cascade  decision  filters              throughout  the          organiza3on    
  41. 41. decision filters for online postage?
  42. 42. brainstorm   product  ideas  
  43. 43. create epics
  44. 44. do they all pass the decision filters? Transaction Costs
  45. 45.        priori3ze  based   on  value  to  the     customer   and  to  your     business  
  46. 46. now….
  47. 47. dealing with uncertainly and ambiguity
  48. 48. ambiguity… an estimate is an estimate, range, not an exact a number
  49. 49.    group   es3mates    are     beZer  
  50. 50. leaders want certainty… reality is … there isn’t any
  51. 51. we need some help!
  52. 52. accept reality prepare for change
  53. 53. don’t over commit to the market use 60/40 rule! team only commits to 60% of time available
  54. 54. don’t make Agile Leading compromises §  Collaboration Model without business §  Collaboration Process buy-in
  55. 55. stand by your estimates don’t cave or pad them!
  56. 56.                 when change happens …
  57. 57. … ask why? customer relevance? importance to other commitments? what can be done later?
  58. 58. show progress
  59. 59. minimal viable product (MVP)
  60. 60. Go To Market Quickly to maximize return on investment and learning
  61. 61. Decision Filter       “Do  we  need  this    for  the  MVP?”  
  62. 62. mitigate risks entire team identifies risks together
  63. 63. uncertainty market uncertainty technical uncertainty project duration number of customers dependencies scope
  64. 64. complexity   team size culture mission criticality team location time zones team maturity domain knowledge gaps dependencies lack of trust
  65. 65. Market  Uncertainty       8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1   0   10 9 Scope  Flexibility   Technical   Uncertainty   Project     Dura3on   Dependencies   Number  of   Customers  
  66. 66. risk  mi3ga3on  progress       8   7   6   5   4   3   2   1   0   10 9 Itera3on  3   Itera3on  2   Acceptable  Risk   Itera3on  1  
  67. 67. when  all  risk  inside                  acceptable  risk   then  begin  to                narrow  date  
  68. 68. metrics
  69. 69. people do what they are measured by measure let results team evaluate themselves
  70. 70. Watch out for Vanity Metrics
  71. 71. Good Metrics §  Measure progress towards business goals §  Motivate right behaviors §  Inspire improved performance §  Simple to measure §  Simple to understand Don’t have too many metrics!
  72. 72. For Customer Satisfaction *How likely are you to recommend this product?
  73. 73. summary
  74. 74.  tools  that  help                   product  incepDon   planning     decision  filters   minimal  viable   product      incrementally  reduce          risk  
  75. 75. continuous customer feedback
  76. 76. measure to get the behaviors you want
  77. 77. learn more Our new book due November 2013