Phil Byrne, from Positive Sparks, recently interviewed me on a wide range of topics. We talk purpose, problem solving and how automation helps grow businesses whilst giving people back time – so we can spend that time with other people…
I’ve been asked recently to present on my experiences in business analysis, and how they might help businesses and IT teams work together as they prepare for GDPR.
The talk, with its examples and stories from the trenches, has gone down well with the audience, so I decided to record it as an on-demand webinar.
You can find the webinar at https://youtu.be/eJBXUajwK_U or watch it here.
You can also access the 7-question diagnostic I mention in the webinar to get your own personalised ideas directly at https://mydiagnostic.online/diagnostic.php?diagid=10
We’ve been doing a fair bit of work recently around roles and role-based access.
These projects have been around things like Active Directory, new ERP/CRM systems implementations, changes to responsibilities and working processes, and data migrations.
If this sounds like something you’re about to embark upon, and you’d like some assistance with the analysis and logical design, to feed into your technical design, you might find our short role-based permission white-paper gives you some food for thought.
Over a few pages, we share a summary of our thinking, observations and ideas for why role-based access is good, what sort of questions to ask, and how to map roles to groups to permissions.
We’d be delighted to talk you through our approach in more detail if you’d like to contact us.
We’re please to announce that our new Vision2Action programme (V2A) is now available!
It’s a fast-tracked, concentrated shot of our customers’ favourite tools and processes. It’s designed to give busy business owners and directors a structure for turning their vision into a strategy with defined objectives, plans for delivering change, and the time and support to keep the momentum up.
The emphasis is on working with you to make the most of your time and knowledge, so we can create for you “actionable documents “- in other words, real documents, with content, decisions, guidance and information; which you can share with your people, refer back to yourself, or use with external suppliers.
Each fixed-price programme includes an initial, intensive set of activities to get things moving, and then quarterly review meetings, plus use of our online goal-tracking platform.
Bespoke versions of the programme are available for larger businesses, organisations or departments – please contact us for more information.
I was flicking through some old day-books last week, as I was doing some business plan review work for Critical Action. I came across some notes I made on “what we look for in our people” for use during recruitment and helping clients with interviews.
Here were my three “top picks”:
- Be a miniature force of nature – whether the blast of the hurricane, the constant shift of the tides or the inexorable force of tectonic shift – look for that attitude in someone that says “it will get done”; and look to balance the forces at play across your team to meet all situations.
- Have the humility to listen, learn and share every day – even when we are bringing our own knowledge to bear, we are always learning – new knowledge, new ways of understanding customer needs, new client pressures, new market developments.
- Earn and have the confidence to hold the room – our clients often look to us for leadership and to help them arrive at decisions; to do this well, we need to have done the ground work in the years, weeks, hours and minutes beforehand – and then to share our honest thoughts.
Of course, there are always many other role-specific or “technical” areas to explore – but for me, these come secondary to these top three.
It’s great to see recent initiatives such as the Year of Code, the Raspberry Pi foundation, and many others. They are helping get people, especially young people, be curious about what happens “under the hood” of computers, and try things out for themselves.
If you haven’t seen the Moshi Pong coding game/lesson at yearofcode.org it’s well worth a look. It’s main purpose is to introduce the key principles of coding: logic, events, getters, setters, objects and attributes, etc., etc. all with immediate gratification – make a change to the code and the game behaves differently.
Another aspect I really like is the visual, block-based approach to editing the game – tacitly, this is doing requirements analysis, user experience (UX) design, and visual organisation of needs. We see these as crucial elements of the analysis work we do with businesses when they are transforming processes and gathering requirements for new systems.
We recommend to clients that at least the main user journey and key process flows should be walked through on whiteboards, paper or similar software before even thinking about detailed specs and coding.
Our experience is that time invested early is rarely wasted, and usually identifies several “gotchas” and opportunity to add really valuable new features to the end result.
I’m re-reading a couple of my business books this month, both of which I felt it was worth mentioning. Both are thought-provoking, and full of practical things to try, even if you don’t agree with everything in them.
First up is “What Would Google Do?” by Jeff Jarvis. Not just an interesting manifesto/thought piece, but also interesting to look at 2009’s predictions through 2011’s lens!
Second is “Yes! 50 secrets from the science of persuasion” by Goldstein, Martin and Cialdini, which never fails to give me ideas for new things to try and new ways to look at old problems.
If you’ve not read them, give them a try – I’d love to know what you think of them.
Some time ago, founder Keith Shering was being filmed for our intro video; and in the spare time at the end, the cameraman shot some off-the-cuff footage of Keith answering his questions.
In this short video (approx 3 mins), Keith considers whether you can start to make a difference to a business with just a few hours work.
Link to video: Can you make a difference in a few hours? (link to YouTube), or click on the video below.
Keith Shering, MD of Critical Action, was one of the speakers at the recent, very well received “Creating An Unbreakable Business” event, held at NetSupport in Market Deeping, and organised by The Business Club, Peterborough.
As well as coordinating the speakers, Keith was one of eight subject matter experts giving business owners and decision makers quick-fire, thought-provoking 15-minute talks on what can break businesses, and what we can do to make strong, resilient businesses that survive and prosper – making businesses more unbreakable. Continue reading
One of our mantras is “keep it simple“, because we work in an area that is complicated enough to begin with!
When we look at how businesses can improve, it inevitably means having to maintain the big picture (where are we heading?) together with digging into the details (as they can often be the blockers). To drive simplicity through what we do, we evolved a very simple set of tools & reports, which we use to run projects.
Why simple, when we’re trying to analyse and solve complex problems? Continue reading