March 12, 2015

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It’s All About Follow Up, Son!

Necessary, but not sufficient

There is enough and more rhetoric on providing a complete solution, and umpteen cases where despite focusing on necessary features, it is still not sufficient for the end user.

There is an excellent quote which highlights this –

“Good judgment comes from experience. And experience …. Well! That comes from bad judgment”

So, here is one of my experiences, which might help you improve your judgment….

Situation: As a Product Manager for the Business Intelligence Product Suite, I was making a pitch to the CEO of a consulting firm which had excellent connects with the Swiss Watch Industry.

Data >> Information >> Intelligence >> Insight: I talked about how we convert data in isolated islands into useful information by aggregating the data and providing a frame of reference, deriving intelligence from the patterns and relationships therein by slicing and dicing the information along multiple dimensions and tying that in with domain knowledge to provide the right insights to business users. The corporate performance management solution uses the balanced scorecard methodology, addresses planning and budgeting and facilitates informed decision-making through action-ready analytics. My whole presentation, including the demo, went on for over an hour.

Sound Byte: The CEO (a tall, bald, German–speaking Swiss gentleman) after patiently listening to the whole spiel, turned the tables around in a simple 2 minute speech.

He said, “Do you know how I spend my time? You say, I can improve my decision making, but I only spend 10% of my time on decision making. Quick ones – right or wrong before I move on. You say, I can plan better, but I only go through the planning cycle twice a year and spend only 20% of my time on planning.

I am a delegator, not a doer. Somebody else executes my plans. I spend 30% of my time on follow up and you haven’t talked about that at all. Your Dashboards are only a small part of the solution.

As regards the rest of my time, trust me, there isn’t much you can do. I spend 40% of my time worrying, though I might be physically performing some other actions.

It’s all about follow up, Son!

Come back to me with clear processes for closed loop follow up and we can talk. I still don’t have a handle on how my plans are being executed.”