Agile Planning & Execution: How to Avoid Pileups in the Race to Market

Decision Making in the Race - Blog

Paul McNamara

One of the big keys to moving products to market with velocity is swift and effective decision making. It is the key to winning any race. In a rapidly changing competitive landscape, we must be agile and effective in our planning, decision-making, and execution processes. Our practices described below help our customers improve their competitive advantages in asset-intensive operations with capabilities that…

  • Double Speed and

  • Cut costs in half

Winning Teams Constantly Assess and re-Assess Their Situation to Direct Effective Action

When sports teams compete the players must assess their situation all the time because it is constantly changing. Basketball players have to know the score, time on the game clock and shot clock, how many fouls they have, the defense the other team is playing, etc. They gather these “assertions” so they can assess their situation and design or choose the best possible actions required to win the game at that moment.

Business is no different, just significantly more complex. While the basketball player has the whole situation in front of them to observe with their own eyes and they are very clear what it takes to win, in business we often don’t. We aren’t always clear on what constitutes a win or therefore the competitive requirements to produce one.  We have more teammates and more situations to manage through. Our teammates are in different rooms, buildings, and geographies taking action we may know nothing about but which could impact our plans significantly.

Winning Teams Stay Focused on the Most Important Assessments

There are many specific assessments that need to be made in asset-intensive operations to enable speed, like assessing utilization, availability, capacity, process and equipment risks, roles accountability, and practice adoption to name just a few.

If your metrics and assessments are effective they are informing you what is working and what isn’t, locating the threats and opportunities, and translating into progress toward speed and efficiency standards. If they are ineffective they won’t help.  You’ll need a process to improve your decision-making.

Winning Teams Eliminate Data Clutter

All too often the metrics that teams produce are old and stale, vestiges of no longer relevant priorities. They are a waste of time if they aren’t being used to drive behaviors and decisions that lead to speed and efficiency. In fact, they are clutter that distracts and can lead to pileups and delays in high-velocity environments.

Winning Teams Continually Assess Their Assessments

Given today’s velocity of change, the criteria we use to make assessments must be checked for effectiveness and refreshed as often as necessary. If the results you produce aren’t competitive enough, your assessments likely aren’t either.

It is good practice to ask what is missing, flawed, incomplete, or weak about your assessments. These questions can lead to immediately impactful changes.

Winning Teams Know the Value of Making Better Assessments

Once we determine we have assessments that are missing, flawed, incomplete, or weak we have to improve them quickly. Often what happens is these new assessments require data we either haven’t been collecting because we either don’t collect it at all, it is collected in some other system, or some combination of the two.

The cost of this process is often enough to stop people dead in their tracks. They are too busy “getting their job done” and think better assessments not worth the cost or distraction. My experience is people often have a better understanding of the costs of gathering data than they do the value in having it to make better assessments. They decide to do nothing which inevitably leads to higher costs.

Winning Teams Establish an Agile and Low-Cost Practice for Improving Decision-Making

It must be easy to do or it won’t get done. Assuming your team has thought through whether your current assessments are missing, flawed, incomplete, or weak you now are faced with several challenges in execution.

  1. How will you gather assertions or facts that have not been gathered historically in your systems?

  2. How will you organize those assertions in reports and graphics that help each member of your team with the assessments they must make so that the actions they take are effective and low cost.

Sente’s Agile Approach is called Flexible Assertions and Analytics

The foundation for our decision-making process is the data made available easily to users and managers. Our integrated Scireo Accelerated Enterprise Asset Management (aEAM) suite includes data often found in multiple different systems but integrated with aEAM to keep user costs low and their response times fast. It also includes embedded knowledge from the marketplace and other sources. Scireo has been designed by practitioners for practitioners helping them stay focused on critical outcomes.  Flexible Assertions and Flexible Analytics help keep focus.

Flexible Assertions is a capability that exists in each of our applications and makes adding new data to be captured/gathered by that application simple and easy. Rather than having only a few “wild card” fields, aEAM’s schema is infinitely expandable to include whatever assertions or fields you deem necessary for better decision making.

Finally, our Flexible Analytics package includes the ability to quickly customize reports and dashboards for your team so the information in front of them helps make assessments quickly and effectively.

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