Overcoming cultural debt to deliver ongoing customer experimentation
I had always promised myself I would write a business book and the lockdown created the time and headspace to do so. I have been attending conferences and meetups on the topic of Agile and DevOps for over 5 years and ideas had formed in my mind which I hadn’t heard elsewhere. It was time to keep my promise.
It is widely accepted that businesses engaging customers in ongoing digital experimentation will outperform their competitors. By exploring customer needs as a series of small experiments successful organisations double down when they find customer value and cut their losses quickly if the experiment is not returning the desired results.
Booking.com is running circa 1,000 experiments at any one time and 30,00 annually.
Traditional Business to Consumer (B2C) industries are uniquely challenged to adjust their ways of working to the iterative engagement models that are the modus operandi of digital natives. This book explores the root cause of these challenges and how to overcome them.
Lead time for digital natives from business idea to customer feedback is measured in days. Processes to generate large volumes of high quality ideas, A/B test these ideas and automate customer feedback confers the ability to adjust their products in flight in response to ever changing competitive pressures. And curiously, the well run organisations are very aware of, and informed about their competitions technology competence. In an early Chapter there is focus on how to do this, and in a later Chapter there are guidelines on how to continuously generate new high quality ideas to turn the tables on competitors.
Top teams release software instantly to the customer one Feature at a Time (1FaaT™) directly from the Engineers desktop. You can think of each feature as one experiment. The book works back from this point to identify the ten most common behavioural blockers and techniques to remove them. Engineering process and tools barely get a mention except as a means to help business people to improve communication with technical teams.
Because Daysha’s customer focus is more established organisations playing catch up with digital natives, our clients had to overcome the ten challenges facing an organisation that wants to overcome its own cultural debt.(See Panel) The ten blockers relate to how people behave towards one another and they are addressed in each Chapter through case studies, quotes and anecdotes to distinguish between what poor looks like and what good looks like. Values, leadership style, organisation structure and team composition are explored to help organisations deliver one feature at a time. (1FaaT)
Not all organisations will start their journey to 1FaaT™ from the same place. Consequently each Chapter concludes with a challenge for different starting points. Context is everything and no two change journeys are the same. This is where the book ends and and our solution and online training offers can add value.
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