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How to Do Lean Planning (and what does that mean anyway)


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This deck was presented at the 4As Strategy Festival on October 14, 2011.

Published in: Business, Technology
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  • @Paulodoc The BMG is part of the hypothesis generating process - and is a tool I rely on throughout the entire process. I like to start with it because it captures internal hypotheses and leverages internal experience & expertise. But it evolves over the course of any business lifespan, and even over the course of a short term strategy or product development project. And in the spirit of 'lean' I think it's better to do studies that cover well-trod ground, and are focused on the best opportunities. But it is definitely a flexible tool and can - and should - be used throughout the project lifecycle.
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  • Great attempt. I liked how to you think Farrah. I think like same way, but I would change the bmg a little more to end, after the inicial study, because I think that we just could put on bmg when we have more as guesses, after studies. Place at the end of step 3. Give me know what you think. :) Opened my mind. :)
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  • Clear, simple, excellent.
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How to Do Lean Planning (and what does that mean anyway)

  1. 1. How to DoLean Planning(and what does that mean anyway?)
  2. 2. Hi.@farrahbostic hashtag: #4AsLeanPlanning
  3. 3. Stuff I’ve done. ads campaigns websites games strategies businesses products media even a little code and an absurd number of decks
  4. 4. What I do now is design digital things for clients... that are increasinglycentered on mobile & social experiences.
  5. 5. What we’re going to do togetherI’m going to talk about how to do Lean planning.Then you’re going to get to use what you learn.There’ll be teams, and you’ll be expected to go talk topeople on the street.Fun, right?
  6. 6. So what’s all this about Lean & startups?
  7. 7. “Lean” is hot right now
  8. 8. It’s a reaction towaste, superstition, and bias.
  9. 9. Th eRequirements tra w d at iti er on fa a ll l s m of od tw Design el ar e Implementation Testing Maintenance
  10. 10. The results for start-ups:High burn rateSwinging for the fencesFull management teamsAssuming the customer is knownAssuming the features are knownAssuming growth happens by execution
  11. 11. Principles of Lean Start-upsContinuous customer interactionRevenue goals from day oneNo scaling until revenueAssume customer and features are unknownsLow burn by design, not crisis
  12. 12. Let the stealing begin...Do Agencies Need to GoogleThink Like Software #Firestarters: Companies? Agile Planning
  13. 13. Fact:It’s easy to talk about “lean”. It’s hard to be Lean.
  14. 14.
  15. 15. So, where are the Lean agencies?
  16. 16. Agencies aren’tbuilt to be Lean.
  17. 17. Ad people still idolize this douchebag -the creative genius & guru.
  18. 18. All agencies seem lean in a pitch.
  19. 19. Production Media Creative Testing Planning & Creative Account Service ClientBut then... RFP
  20. 20. Our business: Ads.Commissioned by clients.Designed by agencies.Executed by vendors.
  21. 21. The traditional modelBillings = The total cost to produce & place campaigns/ads Revenue = ~15% of billings Profit = ~20% of revenue 3% return on effort = a model in which size matters
  22. 22. We think advertising is complicatedClients Consumers Publishers Ad Production Agencies Media Houses Agencies
  23. 23. Hired for lots of reasons, fired for only a few Bad strategy, bad creative, bad service.
  24. 24. But really,business is complicatedBusinesses Growth Media Shareholders Consumers Partners Competitors Regulators
  25. 25. A little story...“Is it the bits?”
  26. 26. No vision.Research is too often used the way adrunk uses a lamp post:for support, rather than illumination.We were asked a question meant forthe former, not the latter.
  27. 27. We asked anywayIt couldn’t have been the bits -Nobody knew they were gone.In fact, nobody’d heard from the brand in years.People (and dogs) had changed -Lots more choices, no more junk food.
  28. 28. “You’ve got 99 problems... and the bits ain’t one.”
  29. 29. We suggested a pivot.Three-ingredient dog food.Real food, no fillers.With a new brand ID & campaign connecting the old,loved image (something dogs love),to a new doggie parenting style(something owners love giving dogs).
  30. 30. “Thanks, but we justwanted to know if it was the bits.”
  31. 31. Product-Market Fit “What do you want from me? Fine writing? Or do you want to see the goddamned sales curve stop moving down and start moving up?” — Rosser Reeves
  32. 32. So - what does itreally mean to think like a startup?
  33. 33. “You need to add value to peoples lives, not just expect them to participate because you goddamn well asked them.”Mel Exon, BBH Labs
  34. 34. We have an ownership problem.The client’s boss owns the business. The client owns the brand. Agencies own... advertising.
  35. 35. Our product is campaignsOur economic buyer is the client.Our end user is the audience.We have to design for both.
  36. 36. Let’s focus.The problem facing a Lean planner is not‘what about the creative brief’?It’s ‘how do we seek an effective campaign modelwith as little waste as possible?’Or, ‘how do we build the minimal experience orutility that makes the most difference in the shortterm, that we can scale?’
  37. 37. Client Brief Research Creative Brief Creative Development Production Media!
  38. 38. by Th -p e cClient Brief ro re du a ct tive of b Research th rie is f pr is oc a es Creative Brief s. Creative Development Production Media!
  39. 39. Let’s idolize thisTV douchebaggenius instead.
  40. 40. The client brief isjust one input tocampaign model seeking. It’s not the “truth”.
  41. 41. What start-ups focus on: Prototyping. Testing.“Existing companies executebusiness models, while startupssearch for a business model.”— Steve Blank Discovery.
  42. 42. What that means for us... Learning. Understanding. Empathy.
  43. 43. How to doCustomer Discovery (for planners) With thanks to Steve Blank
  44. 44. 5 steps
  45. 45. Step 0
  46. 46. Develop a vision.
  47. 47. “We always have a vision that isclearly articulated, big enough tomatter & shared by the whole team.“Our goal is always to discoverwhich aspects of this vision aregrounded in reality & adapt thoseaspects that are not.”This is the ‘brief’...
  48. 48. What are we really trying to do?Who do we think will want this?Why will they care - and do they care enough to act?How will we know when we win?
  49. 49. Step 1
  50. 50. Start guessing.Generate hypotheses:About the customer.About what matters to them.About how they live their lives.About how we can create somethingthey desire or provide a solution to apainful problem.
  51. 51. Commit to your guesses.About your customer and their problem or desire.About what to make (the campaign).About where to place or build the campaign.About how you’ll get people there.About what the market is like.About who your true competitors are.About what should constitute success.
  52. 52. Time, place & Branded tone experiences &Freelancers utilities Interactions & Our client’s Solving a touch-points customers,Production Houses problem prospects, and theirMedia publishers Satisfying a influencers or need gatekeepersClients People Paid, earned & owned media Software & APIs Distribution & The client’s product sales or brand equity Client pays for strategy, development, implementation, media/hosting, testing Pass-through costs and iteration Salaries & operating expenses What if you could invent new revenue streams for your agency or client?
  53. 53. Step 2
  54. 54. Get out of the building.
  55. 55. Talk to people.Not a lot. 5-10.Not in a facility. This ain’tNot through a recruiter. market research, so we don’t have to beNot the perfect ‘respondent.’ science-y.
  56. 56. In fact...After 3 people, prioritize your top 3 issues orquestions.After 5 people, start asking new questions.This isn’t about approval.It’s about learning.
  57. 57. Prepare to be wrong
  58. 58. Step 3
  59. 59. Be honest.Are these really your customers?Is their problem really painful, or their desire really strong? Does it even exist?Are they really making decisions the way you thought? What do you need to change?
  60. 60. A reality check.Talk to your “co-founders” (e.g., clients & team).Do you need to seek other customers that are abetter fit?Do you need to rethink your positioning?Is it possible to give people what they want?Do you need to start over?
  61. 61. Step 4
  62. 62. Repeat. LearnMeasure Build
  63. 63. Planning is...campaign model design “I don’t need any more ideas. We’ve got plenty of ideas. I need to know what to make.”
  64. 64. Principles of Lean Start-ups (for Ad Agencies)• Assume the client briefs are hypotheses to be tested.• Continuous customer interaction - with both client & consumer.• Establish clear goals for the campaign from day one.• Start simple, and then iterate on successes and learn from failures.• Create right-sized, integrated teams, provide the right resources & tools as they are needed, and keep score with vendors & partners.
  65. 65. How do planners make stuff?
  66. 66. What’s a prototype?It’s not a finished product.It can be a drawing.Or a description.It’s enough for people to react to.
  67. 67. Why prototype?Because, otherwise, we’re still just guessing.
  68. 68. What’s iterating?It’s not starting over.It’s not doing something else.It’s not adding on features.It’s evolving, refining, maximizing, optimizing...
  69. 69. The goal isn’t perfection.The goal is the minimum you can make or do thatprovides the most perceived benefit to the customer, andis different enough from other options they know about.The point is to make something that we can deploy & test& learn from.For once, good enough might actually be good enough.
  70. 70. A note on pivots
  71. 71. Lean Pirates & Agile Ninjas talkabout ‘pivoting’ a lot
  72. 72. Pivoting isn’t a goal.It’s a necessity.
  73. 73. It happens whenyou’ve done all youcan with the 1st idea.
  74. 74. And you make theintuitive leap to abetter one.
  75. 75. Where does thisintuition come from?
  76. 76. Empathy & Discovery. Learn Measure Build
  77. 77. Mahalo.