Work from the Customer Back…

I went to a great Agile Meetup presentation at Thoughtworks last night where REA presented how they applied brave leadership,  agile/lean & systems thinking to transform their customer contact centre. The problems they were aiming to solve were:

  • Low customer satisfaction
  • A disengaged team
  • No link to organisation

Here are some notes:

Brave Leadership  = question the status quo. Servant-leadership is key. Brave leaders observe the work and help remove failure.
Agile/Lean = not the silver bullet, but provides teams the tools/processes to collaborate and deliver. Design a human system that works. Lean thinking: remiove metrics that don’t matter. Rapid experimentation. Team drives improvement. Work from the customer back. How many hoops does customer have to jump to get what they want. Understand the root cause of failure. How many things are we doing that we don’t need to?
Systems Thinking = understand the system – eliminate the wrongness & use empirical data to reduce waste and affect change. Staple yourself to the problem to understand it!

Other thoughts presented included:

Brave leaders:

  • Assume everyone’s already doing their best
  • Are willing or expecting to do things against the norm
  • Take imperfect action
  • Develop other leaders
  • Cultivate a culture of trust

Good coaches:

  • Don’t talk agile – they assist with problem solving
  • Help leader articulate the problem rather than jump to a solution
  • Work collaboratively on the strategy
  • Gentle, reassuring and make them feel safe
  • Show value early
  • Provide feedback in a safe environment

And we were left with homework!

  • Does your team/company understand your customers’ demand?
  • How many calls relate to failure and how much is demand? (Reduce the failure!)
  • How much is customer-thinking prevalent?
  • How brave is your leader?
Work from the Customer Back…

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