I have to be honest and say that I didn't come away from the conference buzzing from how good it was. There were a few gems of insight, but the practical tools and advice I was hoping for on how you implement a Lean culture within the ‘Lean Innovation’ tracks I attended, was not there.
I'm going to share one thing though that has stuck with me…
In Operations you often get a bad name for being the ones to either say no, bring bad news, make annoying changes, or perhaps don’t seem to do anything at all…trust is an issue and it’s a personal battle I deal with in feeling whether people value what I do or not. We have been guilty in the past of squirrelling away designing ‘processes’ for people doing a job that we don’t do, with the absolute best intentions, but not really being clear on output and measures of success.
What the conference reiterated to me, and what is a current mantra across the Support teams is 1) the need for evolutionary experimentation in everything - no 'ta-da' moments and 2) the need for crystal clear visibility.
I think Code has come a long way in being clearer on changes we’re making, and in bringing people who are going to do the stuff in to help us define solutions, but we can be better. We need to be much more visible and clear on what we’re doing, why we’re doing it and how we’re going to measure it to see whether what we expect to happen has happened. Just like with development work, the quicker we get something out there and the quicker we test its success, the less time we’re going to waste working on things that aren't going to have impact on us reaching our goals, and the more value we’re going to bring. This doesn't mean changes we make will always be popular, but if we can evidence impact in helping us reach commercial and company goals then we know we are doing the right thing for the business which is what the role of Operations is all about.
'Hypothesis-driven [insert action here]' is a bit of a buzz thing at the moment, but for good reason, and I think its super relevant across every level and discipline of the business. It’s equally useful when defining business initiatives, experiments and retrospective actions as it is for Experience Design and Development:
Because of [insight], we believe that doing [experiment] will help us reach [goal]. We will know this is true when we see [measurable impact].
The more we give this level of visibility to the whole business for continuous improvement projects and experiments, the clearer it becomes as to what we are trying to achieve and why which hopefully in turn will return trust, credibility and finding the right solution for the goals we are trying to achieve.