Tag Archives: review

Review: 1 jaar social investeren via eToro


Verslag van een fintech rollercoaster rit die begon in 2015. Mijn ervaring na 1 jaar gebruik van het online sociaal beleggingsplatform, eToro.

Welkom eToro

Tijdens een inspiratiedag op werk werd de eToro app voorgesteld. Via eToro is het mogelijk om online te beleggen op een manier waarop Facebook werkt: door personen te volgen. In plaats dat je een persoon enkel volgt, ga je hem nu ook een budget geven dat hij gaat investeren. Je kan natuurlijk ook gewoon investeren in markten, effecten, FX enz.

eToro is sociaal en gamified: ze hebben van investeren echt een spelletje gemaakt. Het gebruik voelt aan als Football Manager maar er staat echte centen op het spel. Op verschillende manieren wordt handelen gestimuleerd en je kan virtueel geld, eToro credits, verdienen om je slagkracht groter te maken.

Na aarzelen toch aan de slag

Op zondag 28 juni registreer ik als klant na veel aarzelen. Ik heb de website bekeken, het demo filmpje gevolgd en de app geïnstalleerd. Het kost me toch een extra inspanning om de stap te wagen. De kleine lettertjes leken nog nooit zo klein als op een smartphone en staat daar nu dat hun zetel in Cyprus ligt? Om mijn account te activeren, stort ik 1000 USD via Visa die afgerekend wordt als 905,2 EUR. Ik ben bewust van het wisselkoersrisico dat ik neem. Een extra risico naast de risico’s van het beleggen op zich en mijn geld toe te vertrouwen aan een mij onbekende financiële instelling uit Spanje, opgericht naar het Cypriotisch recht.

Maandag 28 juni word ik gebeld door eToro om me welkom te heten. Het is een enthousiaste jongeman die zich in Engels met een Spaans-achtig accent goed uitdrukt. Op het einde checkt hij of ik nog vragen heb en we ronden af. Op dit punt loopt het zweet nog over mijn rug: is dit zaakje wel allemaal te vertrouwen? Ben ik mijn centen kwijt?

Na het uploaden van mijn paspoort en het aanvullen van mijn persoonlijke gegevens besluit ik mijn bedrag te investeren. Op zondag 13 juli verspreid ik 900 USD in schijven van 150 USD naar 6 leden die ik van haar nog pluim ken en vooral selecteer op eerder gemaakte rendementen en populariteit (aantal volgers). Op de geïnvesteerde bedragen stel ik een ‘Copy Stop Loss’ in. Om een of andere psychologische reden hou ik nog 100 USD cash op rekening bij eToro.

De crisis in China en geld om te rapen

Midden de zomer voel ik de Chinese crisis in mijn portefeuille en het totale rendement is negatief. Er blijft zo’n 940 USD van de 1000 USD over.

Eind augustus krijg ik een bericht “Markets are acting crazy”. Als ik een extra storting doe, krijg ik een bonus om te investeren. De bonus is gekoppeld aan het bedrag en is onrealistisch hoog: 25% voor een bedrag tussen 500 en 1999 USD, 40% voor een bedrag tussen 2000 en 9999 USD, enz. De link in het bericht naar de details werkt niet. Via Twitter stel ik een vraag en verwijs naar een piramidespel. Dit kan toch niet? eToro antwoordt dat ze cash flow voor deze promoties en campagnes hebben, samen met een link naar de regulations met die kleine lettertjes.

Als ik verder zoek op de website kom ik bij ‘eToro Credits’ uit die behoren tot een ‘Non-Withdrawable Amount’ (NWA). Je kan het bedrag dus niet zomaar innen en dan afhalen. Het NWA daalt wel hoe meer je handelt via het platform. De credits geven je de mogelijkheid om online grotere deals te sluiten.

Nieuw als kernmedewerker

Ondertussen word ik als kernmedewerker opgelijst en moet al mijn beurstransacties melden. Bij een vraag wat ik met eToro moet doen, is er wat aarzeling. Via eToro kan je immers zelf handelen of anderen volgen. Bij de eerste is het duidelijk dat je in controle bent over je beslissingen, als je volgt niet. Je selecteert enkel leden en zij handelen uit eigen naam. Natuurlijk mag je interne informatie enz niet doorgeven aan hun, maar dat is in real life ook zo. Uiteindelijk geraken we er wel uit: alles moet gerapporteerd worden.

Omdat ik niet genoeg bezig ben met de beurs en alles wat erop noteert (en ook geen zin heb om telkens transacties te melden), besluit ik om enkel andere leden te volgen en niet zelf in FX of aandelen te doen.

Leden kiezen en rendement

Eén van de personen die ik volg heeft ondertussen 6% verlies gemaakt. Wanneer ik op haar profiel vraag naar haar performance en wat ze er aan gaat doen, krijg ik felle reacties via de sociale media. Vreemd dat ik de beheerder van mijn centen niet mag vragen naar resultaten…
Ik stop met haar te volgen en bekijk mijn hele portfolio opnieuw. Deze keer neem ik naast de rendementen ook de investeringsstrategie van de leden mee. Die selectie kan ik eenvoudig maken dankzij een uitgebreide zoekfunctionaliteit. Er zitten nu leden bij die investeren in groene en (sociaal) duurzame bedrijven. Omdat er een paar niet renderen, neem ik verlies en stuur ik later deze strategie opnieuw bij. Deze keer kijk ik naar een lange trend in positief rendement versus korte termijn hoge rendementen. Ik ben er bewust van dat een goed rendement in het verleden immers geen garantie is voor een goed rendement in de toekomst.

100 USD extra voor administratie, een ongewenste login en een software fout

20 november, de helpdesk van eToro belt me op. Ze identificeren zichzelf niet en vragen in gebrekkig Engels meteen naar mijn account en de achterkant van mijn identiteitskaart. De naam eToro wordt nooit vermeld en ik vermoed dat het gewoon een oplichter is die iets probeert via de telefoon. Pas na enkele vragen via de telefoon wordt me duidelijk dat er iemand van eToro aan de lijn hangt! Na 5 maanden (!) gebruik is mijn account nog steeds niet in orde. Als ik de achterkant van mijn identiteitskaart upload, krijg ik 100 USD gestort. Als ik vraag hoe het komt dat ze dit geld gratis weg geven, is er geen duidelijk antwoord. De zelfgenomen foto’s van mijn paspoort moet ik doorsturen via een (onbeveiligde) email naar een emailadres van de support desk.

Bij het antwoord van de ontvangst van mijn paspoort op 24 november vermelden ze terloops dat er op 13/8/2015 in de VS ingelogd is met mijn account en vragen me wat de verklaring hiervoor is. Ik vraag hun om op te volgen en actie te nemen als nodig. Een dag later wordt mijn support ticket gewoon gesloten. Ik stuur de vraag om die login in de VS toch uit te zoeken. Uit nader bericht blijkt het eToro haar services zelf waren.
Op 3 december staat mijn 100 USD extra nog steeds niet op rekening. Ik stuur een mailtje en het komt in orde. Later blijkt dat dit ‘eToro credits’ zijn en het geen “echte” 100 USD is. Ik kan het wel gebruiken om te investeren.

Op 10 februari krijg ik een email dat er door een fout in hun programmatie voor 3 traders te veel ‘copy dividend’ uitbetaald is. Ze vragen dat ik het corrigeer en er staat een hele uitleg bij, maar geen idee wat ze nu écht bedoelen. Ik besluit de mail te negeren en tot op heden heb ik er niets meer van gehoord.

Winsten incasseren

Omdat ik niet actief bezig ben met beleggen, investeer ik normaal vooral in fondsen via Bolero. eToro heeft duidelijk wat meer beheer nodig. De rendementen van de beleggers variëren nogal en een ‘copy stop loss’ vangt de bodem op. Om je winsten te incasseren, moet je wel actief beheren.

Stoppen met het volgen van een investeerder via smartphone lukt precies niet goed. Samen met collega Koen kijk ik er naar: de swipe werkt niet op Android en de afrekening van een positief rendement eindigt in een negatief totaal? In de browser werkt het dan weer wel. Ik stop met het volgen van 2 investeerders waar ik meer dan 15% winst gemaakt heb. Bij het stop zetten van het volgen, passeer je langs de eToro kassa. Als je later effectief geld terug van de rekening wilt halen, mag je er nog eens langs.

Besluit

Investeren, investeren, wie zijn best doet zal het leren? eToro biedt een mogelijkheid om op een andere manier te investeren via sociale netwerken. Ga je er rijk mee worden? Waarschijnlijk niet. Net zoals op de traditionele beurs zijn de koersen afhankelijk van emotie. Er zijn een aantal investeerders die het beter doen dan de rest. Maar hun volgen is op basis van het verleden en dat is reeds gepasseerd, dus geen garantie voor toekomstig succes.

Rond het hele eToro gebeuren blijft er een geurtje hangen. Er is vanalles al mis gegaan en de contacten met hun waren niet om over te stoefen. Uiteindelijk gaat het allemaal ook over vertrouwen, en dat is nu net niet dat extra wat de traditionele financiële instellingen aanbieden?

Meer lezen

New eToro op YouTube

Advertisements
Tagged , , , ,

Change, the emotional roller coaster, and user reviews


Customers emotional roller coaster

Customers emotional roller coaster

When buying new stuff, you as customer go to the emotion roller coaster of change. Let’s take a look what’s the effect on user reviews and how you can use it for your organisation.

We talked a lot about change and resistance on this blog and, of course, its correlation. There’s an old saying “The only one that likes change is a wet baby”, but we know that this isn’t correct. People change all the time: new work, new friends, new home, new city, etc. We can agree that there’s resistance to the change when the change isn’t welcomed by the ones that undergo it. In most cases when people don’t want to change, it’s a case of bad or not enough communication.

On the other hand, there are changes that we choose for ourselves. Think of, among others, buying a new smart phone or a new car. In those (and many other) examples we are free to choose to stay or to change. To keep our device or decide to use the new one. When we choose for a new device we still go through the same acceptance period as an unwanted change, only the lows won’t be that low.

As example, let’s zoom in on buying a new car. After careful selection between different models you decide to invest a large amount. You may even have to take a consumer credit for it. The tension builds up while waiting some weeks, maybe months for your new purchase. The first days will be great. No, they will be amazing. The car is better that your old car and drives very smooth. If you would write a review (eg. on a website) at this point, it would be good to great. Your judgement is clouded by the ‘buyers high’.

After a while you start experiencing the negative parts: the seating is not as you expected, the dead angle is not good visible and the door list blocks your side in the turns. You wonder how did you miss this while testing. If you would write a review at this point, it would be bad. Your review would highlight the negative parts and lacks objectivity.

Once you went completely through this acceptation curve some time has passed and as a not-so-new-anymore owner you’re quite reluctant to putting effort in writing an old review.

So you may start to wonder how you as an organisation can use this emotional roller coaster in your advantage. It seems like there isn’t any time suited for an objective review (in the way that a subjective review can be objective). As a potential customer you are also confronted with this. Dependent of at which point the reviewer was on his acceptance curve, the review will be dominated by his current feelings. So you cannot use the review to make your decision. Only if you’re aware of it you can see the extremes are documented, the highs and the lows. As a test, open any user review section of an online smart phone shop and browse to the reviews.

A Dutch car website, Autoweek.nl, has found a nice solution for this. On their website new car owners can create an online diary and document their experiences with their newly bought car. The user can add reviews to his online car diary when he wants and the reviews are sorted by mileage. Because of the diary speaks to the user’s intrinsic motivation, it’s kept up to date in many cases. The diary gives an overview of the highs and lows of the user experience and sometimes also covers exceptional cases that are not covered in a one-time review after buying. For example, a long trip to Austria in wintertime.

Further, other users can react on the reviews in a separate comment section too and they can rate the diary.

An example of such a diary can be found here: http://www.autoweek.nl/autoreview/35177/bmw-118d-business-line

When buying a car these diaries are thé source for getting your honest and balanced user reviews.  Give it a try!

Tagged , , , ,

Ecopolicy game – Coaching at performance review meetings


Ecopolicy game

Ecopolicy game

In June we did the Ecopolicy game as an exercise for coaching at performance review meetings (or also: steering meetings).

The game was done in two phases and the goal was:

  1. To lead or attend a performance review meeting and have a similar experience like the management of your organization has each week, month, quarter, …
  2. To coach an attendee of the performance review meeting and practice your coaching skills.

Game contents

You and your team are the leaders of Cybernetia, a cyber state that needs a government to survive. Politics, production, environmental stress, quality of life, education and population are the measured sectors of human life and are expressed in KPIs. In the game these KPIs are all interlinked in such a way by mathematical relations that each decision results in a chain of effects and repercussions just like in real life.

Lead or attend a performance review meeting

In a 20 minute long performance review meeting the ambassador decides together with his 5 ministers on the policy of Cybernetia. Some and certainly not all KPIs are under the influence of the government.

You get 5 attempts of 20 minutes to lead your nation, Cybernetia. In one session, the goal is to take at least 12 decisions in up/down grading the KPIs which you can influence.

If the quality of life for your population is getting worse, your population will question your policy. When it escalates, the population does a coup d’etat and you loose.

What did I learn as board member?

In the first round I was the ambassador of Cybernetia and together with the board, we determined the policy.

  • A performance review meeting can be very stressful! The first round went almost completely to trying to understand the tool.
  • When all board members are coached individually you see strange behavior and changes in behavior between the board meetings.
  • Because you are also coached individually, the board sees your behavior changes and reacts on it.
  • Group dynamics are always happening. I repeat: group dynamics are always happening! Even if the team work moments are very short, the group will go through the forming, storming, norming and performing stages. Be aware of it.
  • After each performance review meeting there is a recap session. Use it as ambassador to give feedback on people behavior. But don’t wait to the recap session if the behavior is not acceptable during the PRM.
  • Use your dashboard. Look at the facts. When emotions take over, our rationality stays behind.
  • It is not needed as team leader to know all the details.
  • It is not needed as team leader to facilitate the discussion. If somebody else is better, let him do it.
  • It is needed as team leader to take decisions based on uncertain elements.

What did I learn as coach?

In the second round I was the coach of a minister of Cybernetia. I watched my coachees behavior, the group interaction and the process.

  • Write down facts and observations, not interpretations. Interpretations are assumptions that you have the right answer.
  • Coaching on behavior and facts is a hard job. You need to be observing and writing at top speed to get everything right.
  • Giving feedback is not always easy. You coachee can go in resistance. Use a much facts as possible. Pick your battles.
  • Try to ask questions during feedback talks. Challenge, but try to understand. Why did he do that? Did it have the wanted result? What could have gone better?
  • If your coachee doesn’t do anything, he still doing something! Don’t fall in sleep when your coachee remains below the radar. Why is he doing so? What does his body language see? How is the group interaction?
  • Observe the process of decision making.
  • After the coaching talk, make a summary. What is the most important thing he learned? What will he do different next time?

More information on the game

Flyer

http://www.vandewijnckel.com/images/stories/pdf/Ecopolicy_Flyer.pdf

News message

http://www.vandewijnckel.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=86%3Ahogeschool-zeeland-ecopolicy&catid=45%3Aprojecten-systemics&Itemid=130

The inventor

http://www.frederic-vester.de/eng/ecopolicy/

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Improve team flexibility and continuity with skills matrix analysis


A skills matrix (also refered to as knowledge matrix) is a map or index of the team skills, listed by each team member and cross-referenced with the different areas or expertise.

The skills matrix is used for mapping the current skills, identifying potential harmful situations and taking action.
Uses for a skills matrix:

  • A skills matrix comes in handy when a new member joins the team and you want to get him up to speed.
  • When a team member leaves the team, the skills matrix can be used to identify possible knowledge gaps.
  • The skills matrix can be used proactively to guarantee team continuity.
  • Identify knowledge sharing and development needs between team members.
  • Installing cross-functional teams (in cross functional teams, team members have no specific speciality only, but a more generic profile).
  • Check the impact of key persons leaving the team: will it be a problem?
  • Increase team strength & flexibility, but also team spirit (eg. during the huddles team members will know each others areas better).
  • Create a RACI for the different areas of expertise: who are the SPOCs? Who are the experts to be consulted?
  • Identify which roles in the team need which skills (eg. soft skills vs. technical skills).
  • Set development targets.

Why do you need a skills matrix?

You need a skills matrix when you pick up following signals:

  • Estimations for new assignments are not made when key persons are not available.
  • Estimations for new assignments need to be approved or checked by key persons.
  • Permanence is difficult to arrange.
  • Statements like “if person X leaves, we will be in real trouble”.
  • Difficult arrangements for team continuity during the holiday periods (eg. summer vacation, Christmas).
  • Single Point of Confusion instead of Single Point of Contact.
  • Unclear responsibilities.
  • During a huddle, team members have no clue whatsoever what the other team member is talking about.

Skill matrix analysis

To score skills you can determine the criteria yourself:

  • None, insufficient, basic, good, expert
  • None, trained, coached, lead, training given, coaching given
  • Scoring on behaviour types

You can also use weights for both a horizontal and vertical analysis:

  • Horizontal: the extent to which every area is covered by different team members and expertise levels.
  • Vertical: the extent to which each team member is covering different areas and taking on different expert roles.

What can we learn form a skills matrix:

  • New team members will color red over the whole line. Use the skills matrix to set priority and focus for training purposes.
  • Identify key persons which are dominant in certain areas. Make sure these areas are also covered by more team members.
  • Identify knowledge gaps in certain areas.
  • Which team members have certain expert knowledge in areas which we don’t have (eg. Java knowledge in a .NET team).

Ready, set, go!

Setting up a skills matrix without taking further action is like creating a risk matrix without a mitigation strategy.
If you invest the time & effort to create one, don’t just hang it on the wall, but use it to take action and improve your team strength!
Next to each skill assessment you can add a target for the team member in that expertise area. Not all team members will have/need the same targets.

Further, the skills matrix is outdated from the click you use to close the file. People learn all the time.
So plan a recurrent update and action time slot in your agenda to check the progress.

Additional reading

http://management411.net/skills-matrix-scoring-a-simple-management-tool-to-move-your-organization-in-the-right-direction/

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Work fascinates me, I can watch it for hours.


Werk fascineert me, ik kan er uren naar kijken

Werk fascineert me, ik kan er uren naar kijken

“Work fascinates me. I can watch it for hours.” During a gemba, I came across this statement at the back of a Hoegaarden beer mat which was attached to a whiteboard.

Sometimes we are so absorbed by our work that we forget to take a step back once in a while. A step back to observe the process, to observe the work delivered, to look for improvements, to adjust the strategy, …

The disadvantage of not being able to take a step back is that it’s perfectly possible to start working very efficient, doing non-effective (read: non-value contributing) work. Like they say: doing the wrong things in a very efficient way.

Toyota

The rumor is that the ability of taking a step back is one of Toyota’s criteria for acquiring people. During the job applications they leave the job applicant waiting somewhere in the production line/hall for half an hour. Afterwards they ask him what did he see during the waiting time and what could be improved.

Step back, look forward

Step back, look forward. Start, pause, stop. Evaluation. What’s in a name? It are all initiatives to taking the time (and courage) to take a step back and evaluate the current situation and progress.

The challenge is that when times get hard, it’s extra difficult to take the time for this review moment. Nobody has time for a step back moment when shit hits the fan. However, it could help that to build in review moments into your calendar and into the process.

Let’s take a look how Agile did this.

Agile and retrospectives

Agile is an iterative and incremental method used to develop software. (More about Agile in “GAP analyse: Agile projectmanagement en de PMBok aanpak voor kennisgebieden Project Integration, Scope en Time Management”)

In contrast with the familiar waterfall approach, Agile works in bursts. Short sprints of 4 to 5 weeks after which a working piece of software is delivered.

Agile has it’s step back moments build into the process in the name of retrospectives.

After each sprint, the team and customer get together to evaluate their last team effort. What went well? What could go better? It doesn’t matter which technique they use: brainstorming, root cause analysis, … The principle of taking a pause to observe the current efforts and see how the team can improve will positive effects on results, commitment and team mood.

Plan – Do – Check – Act

There’s no use for a step back moment when you’re not taking action. So design a method for assign and follow-up on actions and progress. Use the action list in your next retrospective. See if you made any progress (see also blog entry “A daily sense of measurable accomplishment”) and act upon it when it’s not working.

So, when are you planning your next step back moment?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Work is like a horse race


Racehorse runs with blinders

Racehorse runs with blinders

In a previous blog entry, we discussed the difference between a plan and steering board. The plan board is used for planning and balancing work for your team. To set focus. The steering board is used for measuring if your team is doing fine and reaching their objectives.

We can use the metaphor of a horse in a horse race to elaborate on the concept.

A team plan board is used to plan team effort on short team. You can compare it with the horse in the horse race: blinkers are used to focus its attention to the track and avoid the horse is distracted from the screaming audience all round.

A team steering board will contain measurements, KPIs, to see if the team is still on track. In the horse race you can compare this with taking off the blinkers and taking a step back. Where are we now? Are we doing good? How’s the rest doing in the race? Are we still on the right track? Almost like you would set the race on pause with your TiVo and taking a different camera angle.

To measure is to know, but don’t forget to plan for success! If you want to reach your team target, you have to plan for results. A KPI goes further that an actual today and a target value in x months: you need result planning. Plan small steps during the available time period that will lead you to your target.

If you’re not working with result planning, it’s like riding the race with the blinkers of your horse closed. Every round you open the blinkers for a second and then close them again. You are only measuring the actuals and not planning for the future, nor for success. You don’t know how you are doing in the race and what you were supposed to do, but only taking note that you are still on the race track.

Don’t limit this metaphor to planning and steering of day-to-day work! The same is valid for your Voice Of the Customer approach: take a moment to step back and see if you’re still on track.

Tagged , , , , , , ,

Get into flow


FlowFlow is a term used for different concepts. The concept that is described here today is high performance work.

Everybody has moment when time flies by. You are working hard and for some reason, you become unaware of what is happing around you, the music you hear and the feeling of time passing by. You are working hard, you like it and things get done.

For getting into flow you need a lead time: you cannot just start right away with high performing. The lead time is estimated to be as high as 15 minutes, so switching between tasks can have a very negative effect of getting into flow and your productivity.

Here is where the problem lies in many cases at our work and even personal live. Our society is becoming more and more interconnected and next to colleagues asking questions, you now also have cell phone where people can reach you at any point in time by calling or texting. On a smart phone you even have notification for each new email, Facebook request and software update. Your email and agenda client at work (or even at home) is popping up for every new email or calendar notification.

Next to all these, you have the forums, blogs, news sites and communities you are following.

For the digital attention drawers there are some easy tips which you can apply:

  • Put your messenger offline when your dedicated to one task.
  • Disable email notifications on your email client and smart phone.
  • Disable other notifications on your smart phone (eg. Facebook, software updates, …)
  • Only enable reminders for meeting that you have to attend to. Limit the amount and time of reminders.

Team work?

But what about those colleagues that ask you questions every x minutes? You cannot ignore them because the team and team goal are important, but you also can’t devote all of your time to helping them with every question.

How to detect the problem?

First of all, keep your eyes and ears open for complaints from colleagues at the work floor. If you notice there is some frustration, you study it to estimate how big the problem is.

The DILO (Day In the Life Of) technique is a very useful activity study technique for capturing problems like these. Sit next to the employee for one day and capture all actions, requests, meetings, interrupts, … of the day. When he switches tasks add a lead time of, for example, 5 minutes to it and categorize it as non-value adding (waste). At the end of the day add up all the wastes and express it in percentage of time. When the numbers speak, you have a burning platform.

How to handle the problem?

Once you’ve got buy-in, you can start with discussing the problem. Do a root cause analysis to find the real causes of the problem: why are colleagues interrupting your work so much? Or SMARTer: “why are colleagues interrupting my work so I loose 1,5 hours each day by task switching?”.

Typical improvement actions range from coaching, peer coaching, training and mentoring for junior colleagues, product usage demonstrations by business and technical demonstrations.

In extreme cases, you can apply concepts like the cockpit and quarantine. The “cockpit principle” for example is used in the flying industry: during take off and landing the pilots need to be very focussed on achieving success and putting the plain up/down in a safe way. To ensure this the agreement is made not to speak during these critical moments with the only exception when safety is at risk.

In the Agile literature I’ve come across of some application of the cockpit principle where IT workers use flags, mascots and other indicators that they cannot be interrupt for a while, unless for really urgent problems.

But first, let’s look at the root causes before putting on your captain’s hat.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Responsibility (or RACI) analysis of a process flow


ResponsibilityThis blog entry will describe the steps of a workshop that will create a RACI (Responsibiliy – Accountability – Consuled – Informed) matrix for a process flow and analyze it.

The flow will first start with creating the As Is situation, before starting with developing a To Be situation and action plan. This approach will guarantee that you start from the real situation before making the ideal situation.

If you notice that participants are creating flows, roles or RACI matrices “like it’s supposed to be”, address them and remind them of the purpose of this exercise. You cannot solve the problems if you don’t know (or acknowledge) them first.

Explain what RACI stands for

Everybody knows what a responsibility matrix is, but a RACI matrix is not always known. Make sure everyone is on the same page. What does RACI stand for? How do we use it now? What is the difference between Accountable and Responsible?

Expect some discussion about the A(ccountable) and the R(esponsible). When it proves hard to get the principle across, try to use a common practice example where they can relate to.

For example, in an ICT environment, the analyst is responsible for the analysis of a project, but the lead analyst will have the accountability.

Create high level workflow

When you create a high level workflow (eg. with a SIPOC) of the process, it’s easy to start with assigning the RACI.

Use the high level flow to set focus: which parts of the process (eg. website development process) are you looking at? Is it from start to end, from idea phase to delivery or only just the steps where your team gets involved?

Create detailed level workflow

When the focus is set with the high level flow, you can create the detailed level workflow. The high level flow will probably be too high level to assign into tasks and roles. This will not make the RACI assignment and analysis easy.

Collect roles in the process

For each step assign roles (not name) and provide an empty RACI matrix. Do this step before you start with filling in RACI matrices! Otherwise after every new role you find, you will have to update all RACI matrices you filled in earlier to check the applicability of the role there and check the responsibilities again.

Everybody makes a separate proposal

A RACI discussion can take some time. My experience learns me to create a RACI proposal before the RACI matrices are discussed in group. If you host the workshop in one time, you can do this step by giving everybody 15 minutes to make a proposal.

Avoid long groups discussions with this step.

Run over proposals in group

Once everyone has his proposal ready, you can discuss the results in group. There are different possibilities here: you can compose the matrix in group or you can aggregate the results first, mark the differences in the matrix and discuss them in group.

Do a RACI analysis

If you followed the “As Is first, To Be later” approach, it will start to work now: you can use the As Is to find flaws in the system and opportunities to make responsibilities clear. Avoid ambiguous arrangement and go for group consensus.

You can find a detailed description of a RACI analysis here: “RACI is (no longer) carved in stone”.

Implement To Be RACI

When you have the To Be RACI, check which are the next steps. Can you just implement the RACI or is an action plan needed for it.

Communicate and distribute the RACI. Ask for feedback from the people in the process. What changes for them? What stays the same? Does it make sense?

Further, you can check the RACI matrices of the process with the End-to-End (E2E) process responsibles.

Follow-up

Plan a RACI review exercise every year for you key processes to check if the current RACI is still valid. But don’t wait to improve when you stumble upon problems in the mean time!

Tagged , , , , , , ,

The ideal moment for a Root Cause Analysis (RCA)


Car break downA Root Cause Analysis (RCA, Ishikawa diagram or fish bone) is a problem solving technique that gets to the root causes of problems. The workshop has an action plan as output to deal with the real (root) causes and make sure the problem doesn’t occur  again.

You can do the root cause analysis on different moments in time: during right after the incidents or even later.

During the incident

When an incident takes place, there will be no time to do a root cause analysis. The focus is to get up & running as soon as possible. Afterwards the problem can be studied with a root cause analysis to solve the root causes and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Right after the incident

The ideal situation for doing a Root Cause Analysis is immediately when the incident is solved.

The reason for this is that the incident is still fresh in people’s mind. Everybody is thinking of the same and there is no (better: less) room for interpretation and assumptions.

To make sure everybody is on the same track, some best practices are to prepare the problem statement in advance and to agree to it in group when the workshop starts. This approach will save you lots of group effort (time) because the discussion is held up front with the necessary contributors, and the focus is clear and set when the group effort is needed.

It is also easier to agree to the problem to investigate with a smaller group.

When the workshop starts you can recapitulate the problem you are about to investigate and see if everyone present agrees that his is this problem to make sure there is no room for interpretation and assumptions.

After some time

Due to time and other restrictions it is not always possible to facilitate a Root Cause Analysis workshop right after the facts and more time is needed.

An example of this could be a postponed workshop for a software release evaluation X that is held after release X+1 went to production.

The challenge for this workshop is to get everyone looking in the same direction. We want to evaluate software release X, but in the meanwhile another software version (X+1) is already released. The risk here is that during the evaluation of X, participants are confused and will discuss or mix-up incident details with the evaluation of release X+1.

How can you deal with this?

  • Think carefully about the added value of doing the workshop for release X after release X+1.
  • Address the issue to the participants. You know it’s rather late to make the evaluation, but the added value is high enough to put in the effort (and take the risk).
  • Tell the story again: what happened? What were the conditions? Who was involved? If needed, create a time line.
  • On workshop start, make an in and out of scope board. Put topics on Post-Its to set them explicitly in or out of scope. When in doubt during the workshop, you can refer back to this board. “In scope is the release X and out of scope is release X+1, some more?”
  • Don’t make assumptions: when in doubt, don’t assign root causes.
Tagged , , , , , ,

Using the Johari Window for your customer strategy


CustomerThe Johari Window is a psychological tool that is used to help people understand their own interpersonal communication and relation with others.

A typical Johari Window exercise would ask the subject to describe their personality and the same for peers of the subject.

The result of the exercise is mapped into 4 areas:

  Known to self Not know to self
Known to others Arena Blind spot
Not known to others Facade Unknown

The Johari Window can also be used for giving people feedback during their yearly/quarterly performance review talks or even just after an activity they have participated in.

But we can also use the Johari Window for creating our customer strategy.

Collect customer feedback

The customer feedback can be collected in different ways: surveys, interviews, release evaluations etc.

This feedback can be mapped to the different areas of the Johari Window. Use the feedback for working improving your Arena area and use the feedback to discover your Blind Spot area. Internal assessments of customer interaction can be placed in the Facade Area.

Create customer vision

Since the vision, mission and strategy of an organization should be attuned to the customer, the customer feedback can be used to check if we are doing the right things.

This vision can be used to create a Dream Johari Window. The Dream Johari Window is the projection of what you want to be and how you want to be perceived. It is not the actual situation, but it is suited for setting your targets, your ideal picture.

When used in this context, the Dream Johari Window can be compared with a vision statement: “we see ourselves at…”, “we try to be…”, “we want to accomplish…”, …

An example from PepsiCo:

PepsiCo’s responsibility is to continually improve all aspects of the world in which we operate – environment, social, economic – creating a better tomorrow than today.

Our vision is put into action through programs and a focus on environmental stewardship, activities to benefit society, and a commitment to build shareholder value by making PepsiCo a truly sustainable company.

Create customer strategy

If you have your vision, your ideal picture, and have feedback from your customer about your actual performance, you can create a customer strategy!

Which are the improvement areas? Which do matter most? What is your focus? What is your action plan?

Attuning vision

Next to developing and attuning your strategy, you can also [use the feedback to] attune your vision.

If the customer feedback leads to conflicting interests and conflicting values: is it still the right vision you as organization are willing to pursue? Is the feedback just not in line and can you ignore it? Or do you need to drop the customer from your target customers?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: