I was recently interviewed by cio.co.uk (Trinity Mirror Digital Recruitment completes transformation). It’s always fun to see the angles that are interesting to journalists and industry commentators, and it gives me a chance to reflect on what’s important in what I am doing every day in my job. The framework I am using to plan what we do is across 4 pillars (there are always 4):
- Cloud – scale and speed of infrastructure
- Social – recognising that the way communications happen is continuing to change
- Mobile – usage of software in the post-PC (and Mac) world we are now in
- Data/search – trying to personalise and be smarter with what we (our systems) know
This translates into roadmaps for the different web platforms and back office systems we have. It is brilliant to have largely removed the millstone of legacy systems from our TMDR business – and now to be able to move forward so much faster. As the article mentions, for me that is about improving the user experience in online recruitment – using technology to replicate the personal, face to face experience – not putting technology barriers in the way of people hiring people.
My next mission is more process-based, and it centres on these 3 consecutive steps:
This is a simple technique I came up with in my consulting days and it has stood me in good stead whenever I have been looking to take (technical, product and customer service) teams forward.
Firstly, Quality: invariably digital teams are trying to move at the speed of light and losing internal and external credibility by just not doing a high enough quality job. Sure, you need to define what quality means, and it definitely doesn’t mean bug-free software or months in QA, but on the whole – quality is king. Too often, Quality is the accidental sacrificial lamb in projects where Iron Triangle* trade-offs have not been properly considered. “Good enough” ends up meaning “pretty crappy really”. Lean start-up is a trendy spin on this, which is basically saying Scope trade-offs are the right way to launch digital products – but that’s only giving part of the story of the Iron Triangle:
Secondly, when the building block of Quality delivery is in place, the focus moves to Visibility. Visibility is pretty simple – it’s communication – ensuring everyone sees and hears about successes. Technical teams can sometimes not be the best communicators within a business (my own excluded of course), and often the simple fact of increasing visibility and increasing communications can result in a virtuous circle of confidence, trust and delivery.
Thirdly, once we’re delivering Quality outcomes, and everyone has Visibility about those outcomes, we can move on to Innovation. When we have the Quality and Visibility credits in the bank, and the trust and goodwill of our customers and colleagues, it is so much easier to persuade everyone that (a) it is worth investing time/money in developing something new and (b) it is worth changing to something new. Quality and Visibility means the corporate antibodies don’t come to life, and Innovation has the opportunity to thrive and grow, or act as a learning experience.
* Please note the Iron Triangle is no longer a PMI approved concept.