Business strategy is one of the most important things for a company. Some companies have a vision statement, a mission statement, followed by strategies to achieve the mission and implemental tactics to meet the strategy.
The basic premise is that people understand what they are working towards and why. Focus and clarity are the keys.
Guy Kawasaki suggests the use of simple mantras to provide direction rather than 60+ word MBA written, jargon-filled mission statements.
A mission statement that doesn't provide focus or clear direction does what exactly?
Here are some mission or vision statements from some companies. Tell me if you know what they're doing. Do they provide direction?
3M is a diversified technology company with a worldwide presence in the following markets: consumer and office; display and graphics; electro and communications; health care; industrial and transportation; and safety, security and protection services. What makes us so diverse is our ability to apply our technologies often in combination to an endless array of customer needs.
At IBM, we strive to lead in the invention, development and manufacture of the industry's most advanced information technologies, including computer systems, software, storage systems and microelectronics.
Alliance Data partners with its clients to develop unique insight into consumer behavior. We use that insight to create and manage customized solutions that change consumer behavior and enable our clients to build stronger, mutually-beneficial relationships with their customers.
Great companies will call Alliance Data first to create more loyal and profitable customer relationships.Ultimately, simply having a defined mission, vision or mantra is not enough. You need direction and a clear objective so you can tell if you are getting closer or further from your goal.
- Get feedback from audience members informally where they can be open and honest. Allow yourself to be receptive and clear up any issues. Make note of what is said, it will help you the next time.
- Do they want more? A great sign!
- Try to determine what can work on in terms of your delivery. Personally, I know I have a difficult time slowing down my speaking as well as speaking loudly.
- Follow-up with people after the fact to see if your message has sunk in.
I gave a quick run through of my presentation for the individual setting up the session. This opportunity was used to confirm that I was on the right track and to gather additional information to make the presentation more personal and appealing.
Things that I learned that would helpful included:
- Additional issues facing the audience. Now that I know all of their issues I can make sure that my presentation dialog addresses them.
- All of their reservations about the chosen requirements management product, Telelogic DOORS. Many people have developed first impressions of the product based on what they've heard from other individuals. One of my goals is to educate them so they can develop more informed opinions (on the product.)
- Obtaining specific examples of problems this team has had with requirements and requirements management in general. Nothing hits home as well as this.
Here's a link to an on-demand webinar that may be of interest. Below is the description.
Increasingly, enterprise IT organizations are managing IT as a set of defined, customer-facing services. This concept of IT service management allows IT organizations to better package what they do for their customers and to more closely align their capabilities with business requirements. The worldwide de facto standard IT service management framework is the UK-government developed IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL). ITIL provides guidance on the most fundamental IT operations processes and is used by leading companies around the world for risk reduction, quality improvement, legislative compliance, and cost control. This webcast will introduce IT service management and ITIL with emphasis on the fundamental concepts and principles that IT executives need to know during the decision making process.
My basic presentation has been assembled as per the plan found in my last post. I'm still preparing my demo scripts and getting ready to do a short mock presentation for one of the individuals helping setup this meeting. Any feedback or suggestions I get from the mock-up will be incorporated into the presentation. Additionally, I still need to take into account presentation best practices to help the delivery.
You can find a copy of my version 1 presentation on my enips.com account. The name of the presentation is: RM & Tools v1.0 - small.ppt. If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to tell me about them.
Let's continue on my building a presentation series with the next stage which is to map out and plan my presentation using the information gathered previously in the 1st and 2nd articles. To recap, the objective of my presentation is to introduce requirements management techniques and Telelogic DOORS to a team that is skeptical of the software tool.
Assemble the material
I've looked through my existing material and saw a decent PowerPoint presentation titled Clarity in my esnips.com account. There were also, earlier incarnations of requirements management presentations I had laying around. I'm sure I can reuse some of this material.
I am definitely going to have to come up with some demonstration scripts and new slides to show benefits etc...
Major components to present
Here is a summary of the major components I want to include in my presentation:
- A demo of loading an MS Word requirements document into Telelogic DOORS. All of their requirements exist in this format. This will show how requirements can be migrated into the software package.
- A demo showing traceability and its application to a project. Traceability is what will allow this team to assess the impact of a change.
- A demo illustrating how to export requirements from Telelogic DOORS to a more readable MS Word format. Before I go through this demonstration, I will show them requirements from a project that does this without telling them. This demo will bookend the presentation with the first demo.
- Tips on how to get the most out of requirements management. To ensure clarity, modularity and make requirements testable.
Map the material to an appropriate presentation style
In a previous post, "Use the right presentation style to convey your message," I wrote about some templates for presentations. One of them, "selling an idea," seems to fit in with my objective. Based on that format, I will lay out my presentation as follows:
- A simple statement of purpose. To show how good requirement management practices and requirements management software can benefit the execution of projects.
- An articulation of the audience's needs. Currently there is little / no documentation. The team has a difficult time assessing the impact of a change in requirements.
- An illustration of the features of good requirements management practices. What are traceability, modularity, verifiability and clarity?
- The benefits that can be realized by the team. What benefits do these features yield? Let's load in a requirements document to the product.
- What's wrong with the status quo? We need to change because we have difficulty understanding the impact of a change in requirements. What does this change affect? Who knows!?
- Reconfirmation of the benefits. Now let's manipulate some of the requirements within the product and show how we can understand the impact.
- What we need to do to benefit. What steps do we need to take to improve?
- Complete the 'sale.'
- Assemble the material as per my plan.
- Follow presentation best practices.
- Give a quick rendition of my presentation to one of the individuals helping set up the meeting. This will ensure that my presentation speaks to them.
I've been goofing around with a Nintendo DS Lite trying to reduce my Brain Age (I'm hovering around 23-24 for anyone interested.) One of the more interesting exercises in the game is something called the Stroop Test.
The Stroop Task is a psychological test of our mental vitality and flexibility. The task takes advantage of our ability to read words more quickly and automatically than we can name colors. (University of Michigan)The object of the test is to say the color not the word. For example, if you saw BLUE, your answer would be, "Red!" The Brain Age test is basically to answer 50 of these items as fast as you can.
This got me thinking about how this relates to business requirements and clarity. One party sees, "Red," while the other sees, "Blue," even though they are both looking at the same thing. Furthermore, both parties think they understand completely. Hence, techniques like active-listening need to be used.Of course, the Stroop Test probably won't work if you have a condition called synesthesia, but that's another story. A common form of synesthesia results in an affected individual seeing letters and numbers in color.