Evaluating a Sales or Service Control Point


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In a recent podcast with Evan Leybourn (Related Podcast and Transcription: Agile Business Management), we had a discussion about Project Closure. In the past I thought it was a good thing to do. It ties into my most recent work. We have been discussing projects in general and how project management has changed. Especially from the plan-do style to the envision-speculate models. The plan-do assumes that you have acquired all the knowledge up front and can guide you to the desired outcome. The Envision-Speculate assumes you will be learning along the way and making adjustments accordingly to reach your desired outcome.

The traditional style of project closure has also changed. I grew up working projects and always understanding that every project had a beginning and an end. And in the end we had a Lesson Learned or project closure. We even used to have project stage gates or control points where we would get things back on track. This was during the days of Product Dominant Logic Thinking and transactional thinking which still exists but in the SaaS industry it is getting less common. We used to sell something hang on for dear life during the warranty period and hoped at the end we came out ahead.
Now that has changed. Car dealers make their money after the sale for example in their service departments. Rolls Royce sells aircraft engines over the lifecycle of the plane it goes on and handles all service of the product. I can go on with Kindles, mobile phones, etc. But that is not the point. Service-Dominant Logic is based on the principle that there is no value derived till the product/service is used is becoming dominant; pun intended, in our culture. Even LinkedIn and Slack credits your unused credits. Rewards cards can also be an example. What has happened is that we now view lifecycle and projects are minimized or non-existent.

Customers are now being looked at on a lifecycle basis and for good reason, especially in a SaaS company that is funded by a subscription model. When you think about project closure, it really needs to be more of a transitional step that leads to further integration between the companies versus minimizing the gains and relationships. A good transitional step that I referenced several years ago and use it quite often in SaaS type developments and on-boarding is looking through the lens of that term MoSCoW. Moscow_thumb.jpg

• M – Must Have: non-negotiable principles that every activity must comply with me in order to be considered done.
• S – Should Have: teams need to comply with these principles or justify their non-compliance.
• C – Could Have: optional principles that act as guidelines at the discretion of the team.
• W – Won’t Have: negative principles that teams should avoid.

In sales and service processes, we are always trying to evaluate the marketing funnel or in most recent terms the customer journey. How do we know when a cusotmer is ready? Are we evaluating it from a transaction-type experience or a system-type, more holistic view? Setting guidelines on how we get to the next level is imperative in a world governed by use. What is the next obstacle or target we must overcome? What is the next horizon not just for us but for the customer and for the two to co-create value together? How can we make it easier to do business with us? What is the largest risk we have? Questions like this are always popping up. However, using a consistent guideline described in the term MoSCoW may lead to more consistent results.

About: Evan Leybourn pioneered the field of Agile Business Management; applying the successful concepts and practices from the Lean and Agile movements to corporate management. You can find out more about Evan on his website, The Agile Director.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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