Monday, 28 January 2013

Big business appears to favour big change

Big business appears to favour big change - that is, big initiatives, organising lots of people with large budgets, culminating in big announcements. I think that this is partly because bigger initiatives with bigger budgets look better on CVs.

But smaller incremental changes may produce better results:
  1. They start to earn a return sooner.
  2. The get customer feedback sooner - allowing you to change, speed up, slow down or even abandon programmes of change.
  3. They needs less, if any, financing.
  4. They are easier to project manage.
  5. They allow you to try more alternatives, abandoning directions that don't seem promising and continuing with those that deliver results.
Success can then be measured in terms of outcomes, not initiatives - in terms of measures like customer acquisition, satisfaction and retention rates, operational efficiency, costs and revenues, rather than in terms of projects delivered (whether or not they delivered any actual benefits).

I think it is time big business started seeing change as a continuous process, an element of culture, rather than a series of events. Almost any project can be broken up into a series of smaller changes. As a rule of thumb, I believe that, projects should be broken up into the smallest separately deliverable changes possible.