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Amadeus finds Lean IT transforming HR

One of the divisions most affected by a company’s move to Lean IT is the Human Resources Department. This is to be expected as Lean IT is about a business’s people and their development.

business man hand use mobile phone streaming travel around the wAna-Paula Ribeiro, director of data store services at Amadeus made some striking points recently on how Lean IT is transforming their Human Resources Department.

She noted that while silos still exist at Amadeus, as they do in any company, communication is now much better, gatekeepers prevent bad data coming in, and the goals are clearer.

Read the full Amadeus report with contributions from Lloyd Parry.

Read the full Amadeus report with contributions from Lloyd Parry.

“Because they now do their own performance management reviews, silo managers are more mindful of the impact of their work on other departments, and of the whole process of getting IT projects out of the door. We have stopped having a separate cadre of project inspectors. The team that does the project is in the business of experimentation, not compliance and it rates itself against outcomes for the customer.

“We find that staff work best when they have the time to allow them to think. A robot can’t think. People, by contrast, really want to achieve something, including recognition, whether it’s for pragmatic acts or strategy conceptions. The people view behind Lean  IT is to put the power to make decisions in those who can really improve the work and that means the technicians not just the managers.”

 

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Given that Lean IT is, at its core, about a company’s people and their development, Ms. Ribeiro’s observations go a long way to demonstrating how that happens in actual practice when embarking on the Lean IT journey.

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From The Newsroom: Complaints Management Network hosts initial meeting

Network aims to help businesses with complaints management

On Monday 6 May 2015, the inaugural meeting of the Complaints Management Network took place at the Dominion Theatre in London.

Formed from a joint initiative by Michael Hill of Complaints R Great, Stephen Parry from LloydParry and Don Hales, chairman of the Customer Service Training Network, the inaugural meeting was set up to explore the viability of a network to provide ‘complaints management’ support, expertise and advice for businesses across all industry sectors.

Headline speakers at the event were James Walker of Resolver and Caroline Wells from the Financial Ombudsman Service. Individual presentations covered a wide range of topics, from the psychology of complaining to what the future of management may look like.

Following this highly successful first meeting which provoked many positive comments from attendees, the organisers have now moved to formalise the network, and it is now set to meet on a semi-regular basis.

Discussing the benefits of the network further, Stephen Parry of Lloyd Parry International said:

“If complaints are handled badly they can escalate in the echo-chamber of social media and cause considerable damage. Complaints managed correctly, on the other hand, can drive standards of customer service higher and help organisations provide better services and better products. By providing shared support, the Complaints Management Network promises to meet a genuine need.”

Explaining how the network will operate, Michael Hill of Complaints R Great said:

“Every few months, the network will hold a conference with industry speakers and ombudsmen in various fields speaking about items such as legislation regulation and important issues such as the psychology of how we deal with complaints. Members sharing experience and best practice can then set up networks through their own industries.”

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Don Hales of the Customer Service Training network said:

“This first event was a huge success and has provided a lot of momentum for us going forward. Ultimately, this network is not just about helping people to handle complaints, it is about reducing them.”

The next Complaints Management Network is already being organised for early July and will be held at the offices of Barclaycard in Canary Wharf. Speakers will be confirmed in coming weeks, with details published on the CSTN website ( www.cstnetwork.co.uk ).

Further information contact:

Stephen Parry: Stephen.parry@lloydparry.com

Don Hales: don.hales@worldofcustomerservice.com

Michael Hill: info@complaintsrgreat.com

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The value of purpose in Lean IT

There are always times when we falter and stop for a moment, when expectations of an outcome are turned on their head and we feel we’ve done something wrong. We think we should or could have done better.

Stephen Parry Biog PhotoThat is why purpose is so very important. We can become fixated on the means to achieving our purpose and when those means are threatened, believe that the purpose is also under attack. The purpose isn’t really threatened: it simply means that another strategy to develop a different means is required, perhaps even one that will turn out to be better.

We always consider first, the easier methods which are usually recycled solutions from our experience. When those don’t work, we can feel angry, frustrated and blame ourselves for their shortcomings. The reality is that the challenge is a blessing in disguise, an opportunity to be more creative in our exploration of other possibilities.

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Countermeasures, countermeasures and countermeasures. – Go to plan C.

That’s why in Lean, we have more than one countermeasure when we are seeking solutions. We force ourselves to look for solutions beyond the obvious and not become attached to any countermeasure. When designing countermeasures we don’t stop at the first thing we think of. In fact we deliberately take those first countermeasures off the table and force ourselves to think about alternatives which do not include any of the earlier elements. It forces us to look beyond the easy quick fix and discover new perspectives and unexpected solutions that are elegant, simple and innovative which really get to the heart of the problem not simply provide a surface fix.  This is not a case of having plan B on hand just in case plan A fails, its about implementing plan C knowing that the purpose remains constant even if the means of achieving it have to change.

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In today’s market, adaptability outstrips technology

Recently I sat down with Tom Cagley, the host of SPaMCast to talk about adaptable organizations. What follows in this blog post and those in the coming weeks are excerpts from our talk.

Tom: You’ve recently been discussing and talking about adaptable organisations. How do you define adaptable in this context and why should the software Process and Measurement Cast listeners care about adaptable organisations?

Stephen: I think people should care about adaptive organisations simply because they need to stay in business.

Stephen Parry Biog PhotoBefore I expand on that I must firstly say that most businesses are to some extent adaptable, they have to be. The real question is are they adaptable enough and how can they become more adaptive?

If you wish to stay ahead of your competition today the level of adaptability of your staff, business processes and organisational structures outstrips even the speed of change created by destructive technologies and the new industries and economies that spring up as a result.

The speed of business change today is absolutely phenomenal, however the way we have designed organisational structures and trained people to work in them has not kept up with the new challenge.

So what I’m calling for are new organisational designs, new approaches to people management and a complete rethink about the kind of skills we need to build into our work forces, basically all this requires us to consider new forms of organisational adaptability.

The new forms of adaptability I am advocating are intrinsically implied in Lean Management and Agile. However, people have not really focussed on the adaptive elements they can provide. Most have been content with driving down costs, looking for efficiency gains and maybe hoping for a little more customer engagement.

What I’m highlighting is that Lean has always been about continuous value creation ‘on-demand’ for our customers and continually innovating new services and products for them. But most organisations that adopt Lean are content to simply focus on removing waste from their processes.

I challenge organisations to think about adaptability and continuous value creation and what they might achieve strategically. Also what might happen to their business if their competition gets there first?

These new forms of organisational and workforce adaptability allow us to latch onto our customers value needs and keep meeting those needs as they change.  Our customers will pull us ahead of our competition.

That form of adaptability requires us to rethink the way we structure work and the way we incentivise our people.

We must also create work climates that foster willing contribution from the staff, innovation, and rapid experimentation. This is what we need to do to stay ahead of the game in today’s market.

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I think small companies can do this because they don’t have a lot of bureaucracy, they don’t have a lot of change management issues, they don’t have to worry about keeping people in the process department happy or changes in technology and policies.

Those small scale features are the sort of attributes we need at scale. The adaptability features of Lean and Agile create completely new capabilities, where the workforce itself can change everything to meet new demands. This is the new core competency, the new battle ground.

It’s not about operational efficiency anymore. Operational efficiency on its own is not going to get you there why? because being adaptive means changing rapidly, making it efficient and then changing it all again.

Adaptive organisations are about creation, optimization, destruction and recreation, this cycle needs to become the normal way of life.

It’s no longer about mastering continuous improvement, it’s about mastering continuous change.

Lean IT and the customer experience

Parry presenting 10The fourth principle of Lean IT is about getting IT staff at all levels to really understand how IT is working in the customer environment: engaging service managers, doing site visits and observing customs to understand that they’re really doing with the IT.

They really need to start developing measurement systems internally that look at the customer external outcomes and they need to do measurements that link internal and external effects.

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If you give people within the organization the right data to be able to interpret the effects of IT on the business, they’ll be able to make different decisions.

It’s about interpreting your customer data in order to improve the customer experience and the customer business outcomes.

Admittedly, that is not a role typically associated with IT but in Lean IT, it is fundamental to everybody understanding the customer outcomes.

Because the first principle of Lean even from the early days in manufacturing is to understand value from the customers’ perspective.

If you don’t get that right everything else that follows will have no better than chance to hit what the customer wants. and in todays business world, we want to be far better than chance.

This is about teaching everybody at every touchpoint what’s really going in the customer’s world, ringing that in and sharing it.

If you’re not doing that, its not Lean IT. Its just probably traditional IT done better.