There are so many methodologies to consider when trying to transform your organization.
· Service Design / Design Thinking
· Six Sigma
· Lean Startup
Where to begin?
In our experience, organizational issues do not always fit cozily into these categories. Making organizations work better requires more of a toolbox than a single tool. In our practice, we adapt the discipline that is best suited to each specific challenge.
The following tool is designed to help you understand the strengths of different improvement methodologies, so that you can use the right tool for the job.
Philosophy, methodology, routines and improvement tools to flow value to client; a management system to lead/manage an organization.
A business strategy - large-scale redesign of processes, often involving IT systems.
A project-based process improvement methodology to reduce defects, variation to deliver more consistently.
A philosophy (Agile), project methodology, and set of practices/routines (Scrum) to develop products.
A set of skills that help organizations provide services that meet user needs in a cost-effective way.
A method or approach for designing/improving new products or services.
A framework for understanding/ managing the entire lifecycle of client relationship with the organization.
A methodology for developing new businesses and products.
Framework to deliver IT services through prescribed processes, procedures, tasks, and checklists.
Maximize client value while minimizing waste (of human and other resources, time, etc.) through breakthrough and continuous improvement. Create flow across functional islands, make the work visible, create routines of learning/improvement.
Business process reengineering (BPR) is the practice of rethinking and redesigning the way work is done to better support an organization's mission and reduce costs.
Six Sigma is a disciplined, data-driven approach and methodology for eliminating defects and reducing variation in any process.
Approach to develop products (often software) in chaotic, uncertain environments. Solutions evolve through collaborative self-organizing, cross-functional teams and clients.
Identifies service failure root causes, seeks evidence to make informed improvements to meet user needs in a cost-effective way via influencing design of technology, processes and organization culture.
Cognitive, strategic and practical processes by which design concepts (proposals for new products, buildings, machines, etc.) are developed.
The cumulative impacts of all interactions (“touchpoints”) between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship.
Measures-driven method of iterative product development to increase speed of learning about the true market demand and commercial viability of a product.
A set of detailed practices, tasks, checklists for IT service management (ITSM) focusing on aligning IT services with the needs of business, and improving delivery on these needs.
Focuses on delivery of client value and involving all employees in problem solving and continuous improvement. Very people-centric. Focused on process and also routines/habits and visual systems of management. Creates “North Star” focused organization strategy and execution.
Usually relies heavily on enterprise resource planning software (ERPS) to redesign business processes.
Project-based with an emphasis on empirical, statistical analysis, Six-Sigma strives to identify and eliminate defects in a process while minimizing variation.
Adaptive planning, iterative development, early delivery of value, and continual improvement. Rapid and flexible responses to change over more traditional, plan-based approaches.
Helps improve services from start to finish, from the back office to user-facing touchpoints, across all channels.
Uses creativity and industrial design techniques in the development of highly people-centric/user-centric products and services.
Goes beyond transactional model - considers the emotional connections clients experience with a brand/organization over time, also client journey/experience of using the product/service — to create client flow, not friction.
Adapts selected elements of Lean/Agile methods to startup businesses and their products.
Detailed, prescribed approach to create standard IT processes, procedures, governance, strategy development; While prescribed, it does leave room for “how” to improve.
Engages all employees and leaders in freeing up capacity and improving speed, quality and/or cost of producing/delivering a product or service. Creates greater focus, alignment, visibility and sustained ongoing improvement.
Defines a company’s strategy and mission and then aligns processes to them, often by eliminating processes completely and then rebuilding them from the ground up.
Uses a technical, expert-driven approach to improve speed, quality and/or cost of producing/delivering a product or service to a customer.
Delivers working product faster to customers with less effort. Especially useful when requirements change often and there is uncertainty about what customers/markets want.
Most useful when dealing with uncertainty surrounding problems with services running within complex ecosystems, with many factors influencing the quality and cost of a service.
Useful for new product development and solving complex problems that cannot be solved by technical expertise alone. Design for usability.
Integrating all aspects of the organization's relationship with client, building loyalty over time, increasing smoothness of the experience and reduction in frustration.
Shortens product development cycles and tests business model viability. Reduces risk of spending money and time on unviable products.
Standardizes and sets up for improvement of IT services so that they are more aligned and better support the organization’s businesses.
“Lean” is the term American academics used to describe the Toyota Production System in the late 1980’s. Subsequently adapted to knowledge work and services.
Became popular in 1990s to improve competitiveness and the tendency for IT to automate existing processes rather than rethinking and redesigning.
First introduced by an engineer at Motorola in the 1980s and was popularized by Jack Welch at General Electric in the 1990s.
2001: “Agile” popularized by a manifesto written by 17 software developers. Practices like Scrum, XP and others came to be known as agile methods.
G. Lynn Shostack: created service blueprints for banks in 1982. London design agencies started selling it in 2000, it went global from 2008 onwards, and in-house from around 2012.
Gained popularity outside industrial design world in early 2000s due to the success of IDEO, Stanford’s D-School, and many popular books.
Emerged from marketing research in the early 21st century. Gained increased attention to manage and improve digital relationships with customers.
Eric Ries used ideas from lean, agile/scrum, and entrepreneurship to improve the odds of a new business succeeding.
1980’s UK government created ITIL to create common practices of delivering IT services. Evolved to incorporate principles of Lean/Agile, etc.
Incompatible with command-and control cultures; lack of leaders understanding their role; stalls when “tool”-focused and people/behavior-side underestimated.
Has been used as a pretext for downsizing. Technology over people engagement, culture and change management focus.
Often presented as technical and statistical, frightening non-technical people. Can be used in a too tools-focused way.
Some cultures struggle with allowing development teams to self-organize; unclear on role of leadership; can be challenging to scale-out.
When service design only informs strategy, too far away from delivery, the blueprints never get implemented.
Formulas can be applied too mechanically to create breakthroughs. Low trust and command-and-control undermine it.
Don’t truly listen to true client needs. Lack of ownership. Silos take priority over clients. Lack of measurement to guide improvement.
Organization may short-circuit its experiments, or not truly learn from them, instead using the exercise to confirm their existing ideas.
Treating ITIL as the end point, not a means to the end; not adapting ITIL to own needs/reality; cultural resistance; major effort to deploy, so abandoned.
Manufacturing, healthcare, government, many other industries
Many major industries
Precision/volume industries where defects are critical.
Primarily in software/complex product development
Service sector, across all of the private and public sector
All major industries, especially facing clients/users
Primarily in retail and services
Startups, also US government programs
Government, universities, large corporations
Toyota, Intel, ThedaCare
Motorola, General Electric
Google, Facebook, CNN, IBM
Government Digital Service UK
UK Government, Boeing, Target, Disney