Stir the pot

I’ve enjoyed working with many wonderful people during my career, people that I’d love to work with again. I resolve to stay in touch. But soon I’m fully focused on my next engagement and the resolution starts to slide.

Then a few days ago, Drew Kennedy, a past colleague, replied to one of my newsletters, “Hey Joe – it would be great to catch up, and I’m hoping we can grab a coffee.”

There was no specific agenda, just a long overdue ‘hello’ for the first time in many years. During our conversation I asked Drew how he kept consistently finding new assignments, “I stir the pot – I periodically grab coffee with people,” he said.

At the Business Change Academy, we have a similar view that “People don’t come on training when we would like them to come on training.” People go on training when they need to go training, and it’s up to us to be there at that point in their journey.

The same goes for you and your next opportunity.

Who can you grab a coffee with today?

The very best elicitation technique of all

Interviews are a wonderful technique through which to have a detailed one-on-one discussion, build rapport as well as gaining buy-in. And as a trusted confidant, you can get the inside story too.

Workshops are the perfect technique to put everything on the table for everyone to understand. Then working productively as a team, to make quality decisions, with group consensus and ownership.

Observation is a real winner. Seeing for yourself gives you an objective view of what’s happening on the ground. You’ll see things that have not been said and you will find new questions to ask.

Whilst you’re out observing, pick up some sample souvenirs for analysis. Identify artefacts that provide you with information such as process, data, rules, frequencies, standards, and quantities, etc.

But, the very best elicitation technique of all?

It’s the skillful blend and balance of all of the above.

PESTLE and the City of Cape Town water crisis

Political:

  • Responsibility for the water supply is shared by the local, provincial and national government
  • The City of Cape Town criticised for the slow pace of procurement, high level of bureaucracy, lack of urgency, and the inadequate scale of the proposed water supply projects
  • DA (Democratic Alliance) criticised for a lack of forward-thinking on the development of new water sources and infrastructures
  • ANC (African National Congress) accused of withholding funding to sabotage and embarrass the DA-led local administration
  • Removal of Cape Town mayor from leading the drought response task team, replaced with the leader of the Democratic Alliance
  • Debt and corruption in the Department of Water and Sanitation may account for its failure to accept Western Cape’s request to increase water supplies and infrastructure in 2015
  • Premier of the Western Cape called for the national government to refund the City of Cape Town for the costs of managing the water crisis

Economic:

  • The average water demand dropped by 45% (February 2017 to February 2018), resulting in a shortfall of revenue for The City of Cape Town (R2 billion).
  • The City of Cape Town raised water tariffs to increase revenue, especially from residents who continue to use large amounts of water, often for luxurious, non-essential uses
  • Agricultural water stress produced smaller yields and an estimated economic loss of R5.9 billion and a 13-20% drop in exports
  • Water crisis resulted in the loss of 37,000 jobs in the Western Cape
  • Estimated 50,000 people pushed below the poverty line due to job losses, inflation, and increases in the price of food
  • Estimated that the water crisis will cost 300,000 jobs in agriculture, and tens of thousands more in the service, hospitality and food sectors
  • Level 7 water restrictions would see the taps being shut off and the need to queue at designated collection points for daily rations, which would further affect Cape Town’s economy as people would have to take time off from work to wait in line for water

Socio-cultural:

  • Conscious consumption, for example by showering rather than bathing, by showering for less time, switching off taps whilst washing hands, brushing teeth or shaving, flushing toilets only when necessary and washing the car in the rain
  • Recycling water, for example by collecting shower water in a bucket and reusing the greywater for toilet flushing, watering of gardens
  • Collecting drinking water from mountain streams and natural springs
  • Public kudos for compliant households, through published lists
  • Media naming and shaming top water abusers
  • City officials drive through neighbourhoods that are using too much water with a bullhorn calling them out
  • Drought learned behaviours established and many continue as post-drought conscious habits

Technological:

  • Improved infrastructure, such as checking for and fixing all leaking pipes.
  • Water rationing occurs through extreme pressure reduction
  • Installation of water storage tanks to collect rainwater
  • Drilling of private boreholes to source water, though borehole water use is discouraged as it takes away vital resources for groundwater reclamation projects
  • Installation of greywater and swimming pool backwash recovery systems
  • Hand sanitizer provided in offices and public buildings instead of conventional hand-washing
  • Municipality purchasing of additional water from reservoir, commissioning small temporary desalination plants and water recycling project
  • Hackathons held to find creative solutions
  • Research into, and the adoption of, more water-efficient methods of farming
  • Examining traits from wild plants that can grow with limited water, with hopes of replicating such traits in food crops through conventional breeding and biotechnology

Legal:

  • Various levels of water restrictions are imposed on both agricultural and urban use of municipal water
  • Limitations on what is considered acceptable usage of water – essentially drinking, cooking and washing are permitted, anything else is banned.
  • Limits on what is considered acceptable consumption (varying from 100 litres to 50 litres per person, per day at home, work or school, etc.)
  • Residential units using more than 10 500 litres per month will be
    fined
  • Water-management devices installed that strictly limit daily consumption for homeowners exceeding consumption, with the offender having to foot the installation bill
  • Public water collection leads to long queues and fights between people break out, resulting in City of Cape Town stepping up security

Environmental:

  • A 1°C increase in temperature over the past century
  • Between 1995-2015 City of Cape Town population increased by 71%
  • Dam water storage capacity increased by 17%, during the same period
  • Water-thirsty alien plants in crucial catchment areas have reduced water supply by an estimated 30 million metric cube per annum
  • In 2007 it was predicted that demand will exceed supply if water conservation and management measures not implemented
  • Mother Nature brings a drought from 2015 to 2018 – three consecutive dry winters ahead and water levels start declining
  • Drought the City’s worst in a century, with 2017 annual rainfall lowest since records commenced in 1933.
  • Declining quality of water and concerns about inadequate sanitation, diseases, and health services
  • “Day Zero” looming, the date when the dam level is forecast to be 13.5% – the unusable level
  • The average temperature in Cape Town is expected to increase by 0.25°C in the next ten years, increasing the likelihood and severity of drought

TLC

Many organizations are turning to Agile as a better way of developing software requirements.

Here’s what happens…

Management makes a plan:

  1. Find a suitable Agile consulting/training partner
  2. Send the team on a 3-day Agile training course
  3. Hire an expert to establish a new way of working
  4. Run a few initial projects through the organization
  5. Retain the expert to coach the people involved
  6. Show up physically, demonstrating visible support
  7. Wean expert off and handover to the project team

Management sees the results:

  • Greater collaboration
  • Speedier delivery
  • Improved quality
  • Faster ROI

Management gives pats on the back all round for a great decision.

Yet here’s the thing…

It wasn’t about the methodology, it was about people.

When management shows tender loving care, everyone will be more motivated and everything has a better chance of blooming.

Consequence is all around

Wherever we go and whatever we do, the effect of business analysis plays out in our lives.

Whether we’re navigating our morning commute, performing our job function, or shopping our evening meal, all of our daily encounters, good and bad, are the result of (good or bad) business analysis.

  • Did the train arrive on time or was it late? Were you able to find seating space in a carriage? Perhaps standing room only? Or was the train too full to even get on?
  • Did your work day go to plan or were the goalposts moved? Have you got the capacity to deliver? Colleagues delivered on time? Or are you having to catch up this evening?
  • Did you find the product or was the shelf empty? Were you able to pay for your goods quickly? Via the self-service checkout? Or were there insufficient cashiers open?

All these experiences are a consequence of the chosen configuration of four fundamental elements — the organization that controls, the processes that drive, the tools that enable, and the people that serve — that come together (or not) to operate the business system and shape our place within it.

For better or for worse, it’s designed that way.

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