DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: a way to significantly improve the Business productivity

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION:  a way to significantly improve  the  Business productivity

With no doubts, Digital Transformation is creating disruption for SMEs  worlwide by means of  significantly improving the Business productivity and efficiency whereas  traditional business models are challanged notably.

This non-stoppable change requires of  Senior Director (Interim Managers) to drive the revolution successfully. ERNEL+  assist companies with their challanges ahead, working shoulder-to-shoulder with firms until the business mission be completed.

It goes without saying that, Business models based on a digital platform involve less admin and clerical staff, are more responsive, and allow a wider product base. The digitalisation practice is now embedded within many sectors, taking the lead on  the modernization and business efficiency enhacement across the rainbow of business types.

Likewise, the digital businesses all have one thing in common- they are actually challanging the traditional high street models with  more efficient business practices. Many firms are embracing the digital side to complement the in-store experience whilst there is  yet room for further changes.

” At least 35% of all kind of businesses will die in the next 10-12 years if they do not figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies”, Chairman of Cisco Systems concluded in a recent Technology gathering celebrated in London.

While many firms might not have the capacity to deal with online orders or even have the knowledge to switch to a dedicated digital platform, there are benefits to be had from becoming a little more switched on.

Even the smallest company, which may feel that analytics are beyond its needs, can surely benefit from reduced paperwork, less manpower,  and the ability to run its finance digitally. Whilst one simple App may seem like nothing in the tsunami of digitalisation facing businesses today, each one represents a way of adopting a powerful digital tool  to modernize the business operations and improve their perfomance nowadays.

ERNEL+ provide bespoke management solutions to companies so as  to compete in the new business scenarios.

INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS (IIoT)

INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS (IIoT)

In the most general of language, INDUSTRIAL INTERNET OF THINGS (IIoT) refers to the hardware, software, and services associated with the control, management, and analysis of devices and machines. Companies may use IIoT solutions to become more efficient, drive quality, and even bring new products to market via lower-cost, improved manufacturing processes.

In the same “IIoT-breath”, a sensor  can be used to monitor pollutants in a water pipe  or just  to operate and automate an entire factory. ERNEL+  work side-by-side with an arrow of expert in IoT Analytics  and IIoT use cases are put in place. The results are shown below:

Source: IoT Analytics

The basic story underpinning the IIoT market is that the number of connected devices/machines is expected to grow exponentially, along with the data thrown off by those machines.

Source: IoT Analytics – IoT Platforms Presentation

Simply, the scope of IIoT is very broad, whilst for the purposes of this article, it has to be distinguished between IIoT and IoT with the former referring to industrial applications and the latter referring to consumer applications, even though the enabling technologies may be the same or similar between the two markets.

Let’s just assume they are distinct albeit with some degree of overlap:

There are good reasons to be excited about the potential for IIoT applications, and that has a lot to do with the underlying technologies. Suffice it to say that IIoT solutions, as they are described by most analysts and experts, encompass a multitude of technologies. IoT Analytics offers a simple diagrammatic representation of the key components comprising an IIoT platform:

Diagram Source: IoT Analytics – IoT Platform Presentation

The software component is broken down further into building blocks as follows:

Diagram Source: IoT Analytics – IoT Platform Presentation

So, just how big could the IIoT market be?

  • The Industrial Internet has the potential to deliver up to $11.1 trillion in value on an annual basis by 2025, with 70% or $7.8 trillion of that value captured by business-to-business solutions. Source: GE Digital, The Emerging Industrial App Economy.
  • Investment in the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is expected to top $60 trillion during the next 15 years. Source: GE Announces Predix Cloud – The World’s First Cloud Service Built for Industrial Data and Analytics

 

 A great analysis is herewith-enclosed, probing the demand and  potentials  our  seasoned Senior Directors (Interim Managers)  foresee  whilst  it’s probably fair to say that no reliable estimate for the IIoT market exists because:

  1. It’s really not possible to agree on what the market is and what it isn’t.
  2. For a variety of reasons, including the immature nature of the market itself, it’s been difficult to analyze the market over recent years, and to build forecasting models.

 

Nonetheless, a  comprehensive list of key players in this market are shown below for your ease of reference:

  • IBM
  • Cisco
  • Intel
  • GE
  • Microsoft
  • Verizon
  • Huawei
  • LG
  • Qualcomm
  • Gemalto

It goes without saying that, Business Transformation plays a key role nowadays and companies should take the tsunami- approaching- the coast- line seriously if they look foward to surviving.

Is your company in need of help? ERNEL+ is to ready to assist!. We are your partner!

 

Operations Optimization: LEAN MANAGEMENT

Operations Optimization: LEAN MANAGEMENT

The concept of LEAN MANAGEMENT was developed for maximizing the resource utilization through minimization of waste: Operations Optimization.

Afterwards, LEAN was formulated in response to the fluctuating and competitive business environment. Due to rapidly changing business environment the organizations are forced to face challenges and complexities. Any organization whether manufacturing or service oriented to survive may ultimately depend on its ability to systematically and continuously respond to these changes for enhancing the product value. Therefore, value adding process is necessary to achieve this perfection.

ERNEL+ provide assistance and guidance throughout the course of the lifecycle until the mission be completed. Hence, implementing  LEAN MANAGEMENT is becoming a core competency for any type of organizations to sustain and it  requires the assistance of seasoned  Senior Directors (Interim Managers) for a successful implementation whilst the organisation  will be focusing on all  aspects such as Value Stream Mapping (VSM),Cellular Manufacturing (CM), U-line system, Line Balancing, Inventory control, Single Minute Exchange of Dies (SMED), Pull System, Kanban, Production Levelling etc.,

Whilst there  is likelihood of  a manufacturer getting the opportunity to build a facility from the ground up; typically, LEAN MANAGEMENT  is introduced into an existing plant and optimal layouts are constrained by any of several factors: inconveniently placed walls or immovable equipment, for example. It has to be highlighted that some mayor benefits to firms are, as follows:

  • The layout maximizes flow, with raw materials entering one end of the building and exiting the other.
  • A key raw materials supplier is located nearby, shortening the supply chain.
  • A production wheel approach to scheduling allows the plant to be more efficient with changeovers and clean-outs.
  • New packaging technologies provide better stacking capabilities and create more ergonomically friendly handling.
  • New production technologies allow for finer control and tolerances in this highly automated facility.

It goes without saying that  engaging with employees  is the key factor for LEAN MANAGEMENT to succeed. Engagement is the primary driver of improvement across the company .  ERNEL+ is ready to assit to your firm. Are your company in need of help??

Managing People and Tasks: Tips for Daily Standup Meetings

Managing People and Tasks: Tips for Daily Standup Meetings


ERNEL+  have compiled and developed some key tips for Daily Standup Meeting,  an useful   management practice across the modern world, for your ease of reference. Our  vast  experience is  an  asset  for your  company!

The daily stand-up meeting (also known as a “daily scrum”, a “daily huddle”, “morning roll-call”, etc.) is simple to describe:

The whole team meets every day for a quick status update. We stand up to keep the meeting short.

That’s it.

But this short definition does not really tell you the subtle details that distinguish an effective stand-up from a waste of time.

So how can you tell?

For experienced practitioners, when things go wrong with the stand-up, they will instinctively know what to adjust to fix the situation.

For novices, when things go wrong, it is much less likely that they’ll figure out what to do… and it’s much more likely that, given no assistance, they will simply abandon the practice altogether.

This would be unfortunate since well-run stand-ups add significant value to teams.

In order to address this, it is important to make explicit the benefits and consequences of common practices for daily stand-ups. These patterns of daily stand-up meetings can help less experienced practitioners as well as remind more experienced practitioners of the reasons behind their intuition.

Our  Senior Directors ( Interim Managers) assist companies with the  business´intricacies  whilst guiding the firms to excel their performance.

 


What might “good” look like?

Bob Marley’s “Get Up Stand Up” starts up… acting like a Pavlovian bell as the team gets up to wander over to stand in front of the card wall without any additional prompting. That particular song is part of a rotation that plays at the same time in the morning, every day. Some people are moving cards to their correct points in the workflow, including affixing different coloured Post-Its with additional notes. A few interested people outside the direct project team have also wandered by to see how things have progressed.

Noticing that the activity at the wall has stopped, the team leader starts a large timer that the team had previously purchased; they were interested in how long the daily stand-up meeting actually took.

One of the team members steps up to talk about the card on the furthest right of the board, closest to the point of deployment. He’s still having some problems with the deployment script. Another team member suggests that she can help resolve that. The sequence continues from right-to-left, top-to-bottom, people describing what is happening with each of the work items, and others chiming in if they can help resolve obstacles. On the side, the team leader is recording the raised obstacles on the improvement board.

At one point, there is a slightly longer discussion exploring how to deal with a particular problem. Noticing the stall, the team leader subtly raises a finger to interrupt… just before one of the people suggest that they should take it offline.

A short time later all the cards are covered and the team leader asks if anyone else has anything else to share. Someone points out an interesting idea she had about a new feature that would make some of what was planned obsolete. This piques the interest of the product manager who always attempts to attend the stand-ups and they both agree to talk about it after.

The team leader then rolls his eyes as the team starts the traditional ending ceremony… 1… 2… 3… Excelsior! Not his thing, but he had to admit, it ended things on a high note.

People separate and start discussing various things that were raised, including the obstacles, the new ideas, and questions about certain work items.


The particular set of problems that occur when people attempt to work together

Daily stand-up meetings are a recurring solution to a particular set of problems that occur when a group of people attempt to work together as a team.

Stand-ups are a mechanism to regularly synchronise so that teams…

  • Share understanding of goals. Even if we thought we understood each other at the start (which we probably didn’t), our understanding drifts, as does the context within which we’re operating. A “team” where each team member is working toward different goals tends to be ineffective.
  • Coordinate efforts. If the work doesn’t need to be coordinated, you don’t need a team. Conversely, if you have a team, I assume the work requires coordination. Poor coordination amongst team members tends to lead to poor outcomes.
  • Share problems and improvements. One of the primary benefits of a team versus working alone, is that team members can help each other when someone encounters a problem or discovers a better way of doing something. A “team” where team members are not comfortable sharing problems and/or do not help each other tends to be ineffective.
  • Identify as a team. It is very difficult to psychologically identify with a group if you don’t regularly engage with the group. You will not develop a strong sense of relatedness even if you believe them to be capable and pursuing the same goals.

Patterns of daily stand-up meetings

I’ve organised the patterns to answer the following questions:

  • Who attends?
  • What do we talk about?
  • What order do we talk in?
  • Where and when?
  • How do we keep the energy level up?
  • How do we encourage autonomy?

Who attends?

All Hands

People and representatives from various areas (e.g., marketing, production support, upper management, training, etc.) wish to know about and/or contribute to the status and progress of the project. Communicating status in multiple meetings and reports requires a lot of duplicate effort.

Therefore

Replace some or all of the meetings and reports with the daily stand-up. Anyone who is directly involved in or wants to know about the day-to-day operation of the project should attend the single daily stand-up meeting.

But

People not directly involved can disrupt the stand-up if they are unclear about what is expected behaviour. This may be addressed by simply informing new participants and observers of expected norms beforehand.

Not all forms of reporting will be, nor should be, covered by the stand-up format. For example, overall project progress would be better communicated with a Big Visible Chartsuch as burn-down, burn-up, cumulative flow diagram, etc.

Work Items Attend

Also Known As: Story-focused stand-up

if the stories are so important to the project, they ought to be the ones speaking in the standup

— Brian Marick, “Latour 3: Anthrax and standups”

People are too Focused on the Runners, not the Baton. That is, everyone is busy but not necessarily progressing work items.

Therefore

Instead of thinking of the daily stand-up as a ritual for the people, think of it as a ritual where the Work Items Attend (e.g., User Stories in an Agile context) and the people attend only to speak for the work items… since obviously the work items can’t actually talk.

The Yesterday Today Obstacles questions may still be used but will be from the perspective of the work item, rather than the person. This also means that not every person may talk. There is no sense of obligation to say anything that is not relevant to progress the work.

Because of the clearer focus, it is more likely for people to raise, and sign- up to remove, obstacles without prompting.

But

The lack of obligation to speak may hide problems with people who are shy or otherwise not inclined to say anything. This is more difficult to detect with a work-item focus.


What do we talk about?

Yesterday Today Obstacles

 

Some people are talkative and tend to wander off into Story Telling. Some people want to engage in Problem Solving immediately after hearing a problem. Meetings that take too long tend to have low energy and participants not directly related to a long discussion will tend to be distracted.

Therefore

Structure the contributions using the following format:

  1. What did I accomplish yesterday?
  2. What will I do today?
  3. What obstacles are impeding my progress?

These are the minimum number of questions that satisfy the goals of daily stand-ups. Other topics of discussion (e.g., design discussions, gossip, etc.) should be deferred until after the meeting.

Olve Maudal suggested that the questions should be reversed in order to emphasise the correct order of importance:

  1. Any impediments in your way?
  2. What are you working on today?
  3. What have you finished since yesterday?

Lasse Koskela proposed another form of these questions in order to emphasise that team members should not be Reporting to the Leader:

Each team member updates his peers:

In turn, each team member provides his peers with 3 pieces of information:

  1. Things I have done since yesterday’s meeting
  2. Things I am going to get done today
  3. Obstacles that I need someone to remove

Jonathan Rasmussen offered different wording in order to change the dynamic of the stand-up:

  • What you did to change the world yesterday
  • How you are going to crush it today
  • How you are going to blast through any obstacles unfortunate enough to be standing in your way

Answering these types of questions completely changes the dynamic of the stand-up. Instead of just standing there and giving an update, you are now laying it all the line and declaring your intent to the universe.

— Jonathan Rasmusson, The Agile Samurai

There are also a number of teams that have added additional questions.

Buffer added a section where people share something they’re working on to improve themselves.

Thomas Cagley suggests trolling for risks.

Mark Levison has found it useful to add more targeted improvement questions. The last two questions would be changed to match the specific context.

  1. What did you complete yesterday?
  2. What do you commit to today?
  3. What are your impediments/obstacles?
  4. What Code Smell/Missing Unit Test/… did you spot yesterday?
  5. What improvement did you make to the code yesterday?

— Mark Levison, “Daily Stand-Up Variations”

But

The structure is not as important as the information the answers to the questions provide. If the information is provided in a less structured protocol, it is not important to stick to a checklist. As teams mature, you may find you want to adjust the structure, which is reflective of how this pattern has already evolved.

The larger question is whether Yesterday Today Obstacles is creating too much of a focus on personal commitment versus paying attention to the right things… which leads to Walk the Board.

Improvement Board

Also Known As: Blockage Board, Impediment Board, Kaizen Newspaper

Obstacles raised in the stand-up are not removed or otherwise addressed in a timely fashion.

Therefore

Post raised obstacles to an Improvement Board. This is a publicly visible whiteboard or chart that identifies raised obstacles and tracks the progress of their resolution. An Improvement Board can be updated outside of stand-ups and serves as a more immediate and perhaps less confronting way to initially raise obstacles. A common mistake is to not write large enough to allow people to read the blockages from a distance.

The simple act of writing an issue down and therefore explicitly acknowledging it is a very reliable way to reduce drawn out conversations. So even if not everyone agrees that any particular item is an obstacle, it is worth simply writing it down for discussion after the meeting has ended.

Including an occurrence count with each raised obstacle highlights which issues are generally more important to deal with first.

The board design can vary in a few ways. For example a table structure such as the following:

Problem Count Containment Countermeasure Status
Name of problem Ongoing count of occurrences Short-term solution Long-term solution based on root cause analysis Plan – Do – Check – Act

Another style is more like a task board:

Todo In Progress Done
Index cards representing raised obstacles Obstacle cards move here when we’re actively working on them Obstacle cards move here when we’ve resolved them

But

The Improvement Board risks devolving into a whinging board if too many obstacles are raised on it that the team has no influence on resolving.


What order do we talk in?

Last Arrival Speaks First

During a stand-up, attendees need to know who is supposed to speak first. Having the facilitator decide who should speak first is a subtle though definite force against self-organisation. The team should know without intervention who speaks first.

Therefore

Agree that the Last Arrival Speaks First. This is a simple rule that also has the added benefit of encouraging people to be punctual about showing up for the stand-up.

But

The last arrival is also likely to be the person who is least prepared to start off the meeting well.

Round Robin

During a stand-up, attendees need to know who is supposed to speak next. Having a facilitator decide who speaks next is a subtle though definite force against self-organisation. The team should know without intervention who speaks next.

Therefore

Use a simple predetermined rule like a Round Robin to determine who should go next. It doesn’t matter if it is clockwise or counter-clockwise. What does matter is that the team runs the meeting, not the facilitator or manager.

Pass the Token

With simple, predictable ordering mechanisms (e.g., Round Robin), it is very easy for participants to ignore other speakers until it is closer to their turn. There may be a tendency to think of other things rather than pay attention to what others are saying.

Therefore

Introduce an unpredictable ordering mechanism, like tossing a speaking token (e.g., a ball) to determine who should speak next. Having a speaking token also simplifies deciding who speaks first as it will be the person who happens to have retrieved the token (or the first person s/he tosses the token to).

Tossing something around introduces a bit of fun to the daily stand-up ritual and thus serves as a good infection mechanism for other observing teams.

I first learned of this pattern on a project I was on with Simon Stewart. We used a small juggling ball but almost anything can be used as token. Other teams have used rugby balls or even plush toys.

But

With larger teams, it may become difficult to remember who has already spoken. In those cases, it may be easier to stick to simpler mechanisms like Round Robin.

Depending on the culture of the organisation or even team, tossing a ball around may also be seen as unprofessional and would create an unnecessary negative perception of the underlying ritual.

Take a Card

During a stand-up, attendees need to know who is supposed to speak first and after that, who is supposed to speak next. Having a facilitator decide who should speak is a subtle though definite force against self-organisation. The team is not keen on Pass the Tokenbecause they typically have coffee cups in their hands.

Therefore

Have each team member Take a Card to determine which order to speak. Imagine a stack of cards, each of which has a number on it. As each team member comes to the meeting, they can select a card which then tells them what order to speak in.

Walk the Board

Also Known As: Walk the Wall

[S]tandups keep everyone busy. [W]alking the board keeps everyone focused on the most important things.

— Bret Pettichord via Twitter

Another issue with the conventional format is that tasks or workstreams aren’t discussed coherently; instead, each subject comes up briefly depending on the order in which team members speak. This can make it hard to tell what’s really going on.

— Dave Nicolette, “An alternative format for the daily stand-up”

People are more focused on being busy than actually progressing the work so you switched to a model where Work Items Attend rather than people, however, even with this work item focused stand-up, it is still difficult to understand what is happening when using typical ordering mechanisms like Round Robin or Pass the Token.

Therefore

Walk the Board, that is, structure the stand-up by walking through each work item that is displayed on your visual management board.

Most Agile and Lean teams will use a visual management system to expose what is being worked on. For Agile software development, this might be called a “task board”, “story wall”, or “Kanban board”. These boards will present a process that the work items will move through. Progress is typically represented by physically moving cards across the board. Ideally, vertical positioning will indicate priority.

With this board in place, the stand-up moves through each work item from end of process to start of process (e.g., right-to-left) and from highest-to-lowest priority (e.g., top-to-bottom). You may even explicitly indicate on the board what sequence should be used.

Pawel Brodzinski proposed a default sequence:

  1. Blockers
  2. Expedite or emergency items
  3. Items that haven’t moved since last standup (likely to be stuck)
  4. Everything else by priority

But

Obviously having a board is a pre-requisite which not all teams will have. In that case, a person-by-person structure is more appropriate.

Walk the Board has a much greater tendency to succumb to Reporting to the Leader if Rotate the Facilitator or some other pattern for self-organisation is not also applied.


Where and when?

Meet Where the Work Happens

Do the meeting in the gemba, not a conference room.

— Marc Graban, “Video of a Daily Huddle at Everett Clinic”

The workplace has many memory triggers about what is going on.

We also don’t want the daily meeting to require a lot of overhead coordinating, finding, and walking to rooms.

Therefore

Meet Where the Work Happens, not in a meeting room. If you have a “story wall” or “Kanban board”, meet in front of that.

But

Other people nearby may find the noise of the meeting disruptive. This typically indicates underlying poor workspace design but must still be acknowledged.

Same Place, Same Time

We want the team to have a sense of ownership of the stand-up. We also want interested parties to be able to drop by to observe a stand-up to avoid having to schedule yet another status meeting. This is difficult if any particular team member is allowed to force a delay or change of location of the stand-up.

Therefore

Have the team agree on and run the daily stand-up at the Same Place, Same Time. Do not wait for stragglers, including architects and managers. The meeting is for the whole team, not for any particular individual. This is especially important if you Use the Stand-up to Start the Day.

Some stricter teams may impose a “fine” for latecomers. I tend to be wary of any kind of punishment mechanism and prefer discussion.

But

Same Place, Same Time is not intended to be blindly inflexible. The important thing is for the start time to be mostly consistent and rescheduling to be rare. If rescheduling is required often, it may be an indication that the start time should change. If a particular location is inconvenient for everyone to get to, it’s probably an indication the location should change.

Use the Stand-up to Start The Day

The daily stand-up meeting provides focus and awareness of outstanding issues. If it occurs late in the day, this focus and awareness is wasted.

Therefore

Use the Stand-up to Start the Day. With flexible work hours, not every team member will arrive at work at the same time. A common practice with “flex-time” is to use a set of core working hours. The start time should be at the start of these core working hours. Similarly, if team members need to arrive later for personal reasons (e.g., need to drop off kids at school), the start time should be set at a time so that everyone can attend.

But

There may be a tendency not to work on any project-related tasks until the stand-up. If the Stand-up Meeting Starts the Day… Late, this slack time may be significant. To some extent, this may simply be used as an opportunity to check e-mail, fill in timesheets, etc. but it may be worth investigating removing the stand-up as a “start of day” ritual by scheduling it later in the day.

Don’t Use the Stand-up to Start the Day

The stand-up tends to serve as the ritual to set focus for the day, especially if you Use The Stand-up to Start the Day. Because of this, team members tend not to work on features until the stand-up. When the meeting is not actually held first thing, this tendency may have a significant impact on productivity.

Therefore

Don’t Use the Stand-up to Start the Day. Schedule the daily stand- up meeting far enough into the day that it will not be psychologically associated as starting the day.

But

If the daily meeting doesn’t start the day, then it can no longer be used as a shared ritual to set team focus at the start the day. Depending on the team, this price may not be worth the apparent increase in efficiency.

When there are many project using stand-ups, it is possible that multiple stand-ups are occurring simultaneously. Observers interested in multiple projects may want to change stand-up times to allow them to be able attend. This is problematic since it risks the sense of ownership for the team if an observer can force a stand-up to adjust to his/her schedule. Nevertheless, this must also be a consideration when deciding when to have the daily stand-up.


How do we keep the energy level up?

Huddle

The problem that I frequently see crop up is that people have a tendency to treat the Daily Stand-up as simply individual reporting. “I did this . . . I’ll do that”—then on to the next person. The more optimum approach is closer to a football huddle.

— Jeff Sutherland, “The Origin of The Daily Stand-up”

Volume of speech affects attentiveness as well as effectiveness of communication. Physical distance changes the level of volume required to communicate well. Some people don’t speak loudly and don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Volume of speech affects attentiveness as well as effectiveness of communication. Physical distance changes the level of volume required to communicate well. Some people don’t speak loudly and don’t feel comfortable doing so.

Therefore

The stand-up should be more of a Huddle than a meeting. If it’s difficult to hear, bring everyone closer. Beyond allowing for a more relaxed speaking volume, being physically closer tends to cause participants to be more attentive on their own. Being able to stand physically closer is also an expression of greater trust within the team. If the stand-up is a new thing, it’s usually enough to use hand gestures to wave people in and say something to the effect of “Let’s bring it in”. If the size of the circle has been established for a while, consider explaining the reasons for closing the circle before trying to shrink it.

But

The team must balance closeness with personal comfort zones. Even on a very trusting team, there is a point when people are just standing too close for comfort. Symptoms tend to be participants that are tense and/or fidgety.

Stand Up

Some people are talkative and tend to wander off into Story Telling. Some people want to engage in Problem Solving immediately after hearing a problem. Meetings that take too long tend to have low-energy and participants not directly related to a long discussion will tend to be distracted.

Therefore

Have all attendees Stand Up during the meeting. Use standing up to link physical with mental readiness. Physical discomfort will also remind attendees when a meeting is taking too long. A simple way to encourage this is to simply hold the meeting where there are no chairs.

But

Standing up tends to cause meetings to shorten, but does not guarantee that they will shorten to an optimal length. People may learn to cope with the discomfort instead of taking a more appropriate response. Also if the meetings are not taking too long nor wandering off-topic, standing up is an unnecessary ritual.

Fifteen Minutes or Less

Most people will wander mentally when they are in long meetings. A long, droning meeting is a horrible, energy-draining way to start the day. A specific number helps remind us when to consider adjustment to reduce the time of the meeting.

Therefore

Keep the daily stand-ups to Fifteen Minutes or Less. As a general rule, after fifteen minutes, the average person’s mind is going to wander which doesn’t help with setting focus.

But

Fifteen minutes may even be too long for smaller teams. Because of the mind-wandering effect, even for larger teams, fifteen minutes is a good limit. Also, it is also possible to have a meeting that is too short where on ending, the attendees still have no idea what’s going on nor who to talk to in order to find out.

Signal the End

After the last person has spoken, the team may not immediately realise that the meeting is over. The gradual realisation that it’s time to walk away doesn’t end the meeting on a high note and may contribute to Low Energy.

Therefore

Signal the End of the stand-up with a throwaway phrase (e.g., “Well, enjoy your lunch everyone.”) or some other action.

Time the Meetings

It is difficult to qualitatively judge whether a stand-up is taking too long, especially if it only gradually increases in length.

Therefore

Time the Meetings and publish the results. Most of the time, attendees just don’t realise the impact of Story Telling, not being prepared to Take It Offline, or not preparing have on how long the meeting will take. Make it quantifiable.

But

As with all measures, timing the meetings shouldn’t be introduced unless there is an actual goal to accomplish due to a problem with energy levels. Once the goal is accomplished, the measurement should be dropped. Measuring for no particular reason leads to suspicion and metrics apathy.

Time is a proxy for energy, attention, and pace. Pay attention more to those things than the time.

Take it Offline

Some people want to engage in Problem Solving immediately after hearing a problem. Meetings that take too long tend to have low-energy and participants not directly related to a long discussion will tend to be distracted. It is still important to acknowledge that further discussion will be required to solve the raised problem. Some people may find it uncomfortable to enforce the structure of the stand-up by interrupting.

Therefore

Use a simple and consistent phrase like “Take It Offline” as a reminder that such discussions should take place outside of the daily stand-up. If the discussion was Socialising, nothing more is required. If the discussion was Problem Solving, the facilitator (and eventually just the team) should ensure that the right people are nominated or sign up to deal with the issue later.

Alternatively, some teams use more indirect signaling.

For example, Mike Cohn described one that uses a rubber rat to indicate “we’re going down a rathole”.

Benjamin Mitchell described a Two Hand Rule:

…if anyone thinks the current conversation has gone off topic, or is no longer effective, then they raise a hand. Once a second person raises a hand then that’s a sign to stop the conversation and continue with the rest of the stand up. Those speaking can continue the conversation after the stand up has finished.

— Benjamin Mitchell, “Stuck in an overlong Agile stand up? Try the two hands rule”

But

There is a difference between Problem Solving and a clarifying question. Information that is not understood is not useful. The extent upon which clarifying questions are allowed should vary depending on how large the team is and whether it will impact Fifteen Minutes or Less.


How do we encourage autonomy?

Rotate the Facilitator

Team members are Reporting to the Leader, that is, they’re only talking to the meeting facilitator instead of each other. Only the meeting facilitator is raising and addressing process issues related to the stand- up. We want the team to take ownership of the stand-up and this requires removing any dependence on a single facilitator.

Therefore

Rotate the Facilitator. Rotate assignment of a role responsible for ensuring people attend the stand-up and stick to the agreed upon rules.

But

Teams that are not experienced with stand-ups benefit greatly from having a coach experienced in the process. It is more that the team should be weaned into taking greater control of the stand-up. At some point, no explicit facilitator should be required at all.

Break Eye Contact

Team members are Reporting to the Leader, that is, they’re only talking to the meeting facilitator instead of each other. We want the team to take ownership of the stand-up and this requires removing any dependence on a single facilitator.

Therefore

The facilitator should Break Eye Contact as a subtle way of reminding the speaker that s/he should be addressing the team, not just one person. One way to do this is to move around so that the current speaker can’t see the facilitator.


How do we know when a stand-up is going poorly?

I endured regular stand-up meetings for three years. What made the meetings most painful was my boss (I’ll call him Wally). His main reason for the stand-up meeting was not to increase efficiency or embrace XP as much as it was to shorten human interaction beyond anything directly related to the work product. … For Wally, however, the stand-up meeting (like the 7 a.m. Monday meeting and the 5 p.m. Friday meeting) was a loyalty test designed to reinforce the employer- employee relationship.

— Phillip A. Laplante, “Stand and Deliver: Why I Hate Stand-Up Meetings”

There are stand-up “smells” which are pretty good indicators that things are going wrong. It is important to note that even if you have no smells, this does not mean the stand-up is going right. It just means that it doesn’t stink.

Most of the following smells are linked back to the previous patterns. For those that are not, the underlying issues tend to be more subtle or outside the scope of the daily stand-up, and people will have to come up with their own solutions.

Focused on the Runners, not the Baton

People are too focused on what they are doing but neglect to consider whether their activities are actually progressing the work. Reframe the stand-up such that the Work Items Attend.

Reporting to the Leader

Team members are facing and talking to the manager or meeting facilitator instead of to the team. This indicates that the daily stand-up is for the manager/facilitator when it is actually supposed to be for the team. There are various ways to break this dependence: Rotate the FacilitatorBreak Eye Contact, change the form of Yesterday Today Obstacles, use Pass the Token, etc.

People are Late

This is directly addressed by Same Place, Same Time, but as mentioned may indicate that the stand-up is being held at the wrong time or at the wrong place.

There are other patterns to respond to this such as imposing a fine. However, I generally would not recommend them as they imply that the issue is about extrinsic motivation when it is much more likely to be something else.

Stand-up Meeting Starts the Day… Late

Because the stand-up is seen to start the work day, no work is done before the stand-up. Depending on how late in the morning the stand- up is, this can have a significant impact on available working hours. This leads to Don’t Use the Stand-up to Start the Day.

Socialising

One of the goals of the stand-up is to increase team socialisation. However, the daily stand-up is not intended for team members to “catch up” with each other on non project-related matters. It’s difficult to provide examples of this since the degree to which socialising passes from team-building to distracting varies from team to team. The threshold can be detected from the behaviours of participants not directly involved in the socialisation. If their energy levels remain high, then it’s probably just team-building; if their energy levels drop, then Take It Offline and perhaps provide another forum to act as a Water Cooler.

I Can’t Remember

What did I do yesterday?… I can’t remember… What am I doing today?… I dunno…

Lack of preparation causes slower pace which causes lower energy. It also risks failing Fifteen Minutes or Less, which further reduces energy levels.

A nice way to bypass this problem is to switch to a stand-up where Work Items Attendand we Walk the Board.

Otherwise, this is a matter of expectation of responsibility to know the answers for Yesterday Obstacles Today.

Story Telling

Instead of providing a brief description of an issue, the participant provides enough details and context to cause others to tune out. The general rule is to identify obstacles during the stand-up and discuss the details after the stand-up. This can be summarised as “Tell the headline, not the whole story” or Take it Offline.

Problem Solving

It’s a time to raise issues and surface ideas, not a time for in-depth problem-solving.

— Marc Graban, “Video of a Daily Huddle at Everett Clinic”

The key to keeping the stand-ups Fifteen Minutes or Less is to limit the Story Tellingand not succumb to Problem Solving during the meeting. Take it Offline.

Low Energy

Could indicate a slow-down of pace due to Story TellingProblem Solving, etc. In which case Take it Offline. Could be simply a matter of team size. Could be the time of day which suggests trying the alternative of Use the Stand-up to Start the Day and Don’t Use the Stand-up to Start the Day.

Obstacles are not Raised

Also Known As: Travelogue

There may be several reasons for obstacles not being raised. Not remembering, high pain threshold, lack of trust in raising issues (because Obstacles are not Removed), no convenient way of raising issues, etc. The facilitator should take care to encourage people to raise obstacles.

Introducing an Improvement Board may also provide a less confronting medium. Retrospectives are an effective way of discovering the underlying reason why Obstacles are not Raised.

Obstacles are not Removed

With the exception of a blaming environment, the surest way to stop people from raising obstacles is to not remove them. To make it difficult to forget and/or ignore obstacles, track them publicly with an Improvement Board.

Obstacles are Only Raised in the Stand-up

Stand-ups act as a safety net. At worst, an obstacle will be communicated to the greater team within one day. However, doing stand-ups is not intended to stop issues from being raised and resolved during the day. Introducing an alternative medium to raise obstacles such as an Improvement Board may help. If not, underlying reasons may be discovered using retrospectives.

The Challanges of Building a Great Startup

The Challanges of Building a Great Startup

 

Needless to say that building a great startup requires grabbing  different sources of knowledge. As Roy T. Bennet once wrote, “ When you start living the life of your dreams, there will always be obstacles, doubters, mistakes and setbacks along the way.But working smarter and harder,  with perseverance and self-belief there is no limit to what to can achieve”.

However builinding a startup is hard and most likely tough.Studies found failures rates between 70% and 90% within 5 years.

During my career I have experienced difficulties and, some how, I have been there myself. Whilst my friends were hanging out, wondering around and having fun across  a range of university parties, I was putting in sweat and tears to meet the goals. Not to mention  to take your startup off the ground.

So why do most people fail at building a great business? Why are most people on track to never start a business?. BECAUSE THEY DO NOT CARE TO LEARN HOW.

“If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old”- Peter  F. Drucker whilst I would prefer  the following advice ” Try not to become a man of success.Rather become a man of value”- Albert Einstein.

In this regard , it is worth reading the book ” The Four Steps to the Epiphany“. In short , the autor points out every great business is built in four stages:

  • Customer discovery- Digging into customer problems and needs  to determine which customer segments you should be working with.
  • Customer ValidationDetermining the right way to sell the solution to this customer segment.
  • Customer CreationScaling up sales to create and drive customers.
  • Company buildingOptimizing processes so as to opérate  effectively and efficiently.

The main reason most people fail lies with focusing on the forth step from the start before knowing how their customers perceive the added-value.

Bringing Steve Blank´s position  on board: ” In the early stages of a startup, focusing on  execution will put you out of business. Instead, it is  strongly recommended  learning a discovery process so as to get the company to the point  to exactly know what to execute “.

Not knowing how to make the life of your customer better is extraordinarily alarming. Research even found this is the top reason why a startup may well fail-accounting for over 40% of all startup failure. As long as you never learn what value constitutes- and learn how those you work with and for want to receive it- you will always build  dingy businesses.

Creating value is hard enough. It requires empathy, honesty , openness for feedback, and humilty to give your potential customers the attention they deserve.

But failing is much harder.

The reason your business is mediocre is because you are yet to learn enough about creating value.

Last but not least, our recommendation is that you manage to get advice from seasoned Senior Directors to assist your  company with the challanges ahead.

 

THE VALUE OF THE INTERIM MANAGEMENT

THE VALUE OF THE INTERIM MANAGEMENT

Having leaders with the requisite   know-how  and expertise is a great asset for the  companies so as to compete in the markets nowadays. After cultivating a  significant experience within an arrow of industries, our Interim Managers (Senior Directors) will assist the firms with the challanges ahead, guiding and leading the business missions until  completion. This is the real value of the Interim Management!

ERNEL+  provide bespoke Interim Management services  to enterprises and display a portfolio of  seasoned Interim Managers available to work shoulder-by-shoulder with our customers, managing the business complexity whilst committed to the solutions.We are your partners!

Throughout the course of the business mission, ERNEL+ put in place their talent and reputable experience in order to monitor the progress of works and  achievements whilst close  collaborating with the  top tier executives to implement the solutions efficiently.

Being of help to transform companies and improve their performance  is  embedded within our core business and values.  We are ready to assist. Are your company currently  in need of help to survive across your  challanging market??

Company turnaround: the power of re-structuring a firm

Company turnaround:the power of  re-structuring a firm

At the time of  company turnaround being required, ERNEL+ is willing to lead and assist throughout the course of re-structuring a firm. This, in turn, implies  having the expertise and effectiveness as shown by our seasoned  Interim Managers (Senior Directors) during their profesional careers. Some of our peers have been in charge of the most intricate turnaround situations  across Europe such as the ones  implemented in  Standard Electric, Navantia, or  INI Group. We are proud of having contributed to handle complicated management  scenarios successfully. The power of re-structuring a firm.

Within Our Tool Kit, WE DELIVER, a series of comprehensive  topics have been developed by means of eNotes, available free of charge for our customers.In this regard, we encourage you  to explore the specific topic of company turnaround: re-structuring  whilst introducing to you some of the common situations a company might be involved in, for your ease of reference.

From time to time , companies are immersed in a business  deterioration process which might evolve to a turnaround situation. Having the sufficient expertise and coolness to navigate through the turbulenet waters holds the key to succeed. Are your firm  in need of assistance ??  We are ready to help and  get things straight  back !!

We manage the business complexity whilst committed to the solutions!

 

 

 

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION & INTERNATIONALISATION OF COMPANIES

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION & INTERNATIONALISATION OF COMPANIES

BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION & INTERNATIONALISATION OF COMPANIES

 Since the dawn of time  progress has been made by means of implementing disruptive solutions across the systems or making  breakthroughs happen.  Needless to say that,  business transformation is inextricably interwoven with the way of making businesss and operations in order for the companies to  compete in the markets.

 The business cycles continue to shrink  throughout the course of  the  s.XXI as well as the  pressure for opening new markets overseas being essencial to survive. Furthermore, this must be deeply embedded within a continuous improvement mindset.It goes without saying that, implementing the business transformation  in a company requires the right attitute  and skills from the Board of Directors and  the Management team so as to transmit the views and requisite actions across the organization effectively.

 Given the extreme improtance of setting a foot ahead of your competitors, making business overseas is heartly debated within the core business topics of most  competitive companies nowadys.But there is no other option; otherwise, wait  for your own business decline and,most likely, the  company extinction. Likewise, operating in multiple markets is part of the company business transformation as customers  and competitors interact effervishly on a daily basis.

 Following the recent economy crisis that Spain has painfully suffered for almost a decade,  there is an urgent need for business transformation, country wise, so as to engage with  the world gears. Driving off the beaten track may lead to relegation and, in the end, companies will be left behind. What other best lessons-learned to grasp rather than learning from the sufferings of the crisis??. It is worth  catching up  with the  “transformation prosperity” as it has just turned  into mandatory to survive.

 By means of innovation and the use of advanced technology  solutions companies are changing the way of making business. Hereby,we encourage companies to keep on innovating as part of transforming  their entities: business model, operations, leadership, relationship amongst key players. This implies managing the change smoothly within their firms: people are at  the priority list. There cannot be any achivements without encouraging the employees as  they are essential to make things happen. As a result, it has to be highlighted that the implementation of the business transformation requires  a  committed management team and  having developed a comprehensive plan.

Also,there is likelihood of  the assistance of seasoned advisors/senior directors to effectively carry out the tasks being required. ERNEL+ asssist companies with their challanges ahead, working shoullder-by-shoulder with  the firms until the misión be successfully completed.

 The internationalisation of companies implies analysing the business  potentials: products, technology, strenghts,… along with deep thinking about the whereabouts since the process is undoubtfully complex and requires determination in the long-term.Scaling up together with staging are smartly  dossified in a manner that goals are  efficiently achieved  with  entire satisfaction for the organization.Becoming an international player is a tough exercise but it is worth trying provided that  the process is the result of concious decisions . Under no circumstances recommendations  to start international operations without having a comprehensive vision and plan in place will be made. Otherwise, what´s for??

 Last but not least, the business complexity will continue to increase in  future together with an aspiration for better organizations in terms of efficiency, interactions , flexibility  whilst profitability cannot be left behind. This results in highlighting that the internationalisation of companies comes along with the  business transformation process and it will stay for ever.

 

 

RISK MANAGEMENT: The powerful management tool available to drive your business scenarios

RISK MANAGEMENT: The powerful management tool available  to drive  your business scenarios

Whilst managing a firm or a project  an arrow of risks comes along with the nature of the business. However, identifying  the risks associated with the business operations, analyzing and classifying the risks  as well as putting a mitigation plan in place are key management tools every seasoned Director should use and  implement efficiently.

Are you in need of help on  the  field of Risk Management??  ERNEL+ will assist with your challanges ahead in addition to  providing guidance on how to manage the risks your company may be currently  immersed in.

Within our Tool Kit, WE DELIVER, we have developed a series of comprehensive eNotes on up-to-date business-related topics, including the Risk Management, for your ease of reference free of charge. Enclosed herewith is a specific piece of writing on Risk Management that we encourage you to explore and implement on your firm.

Running  a business nowadays implies ackowledging and  adequately managing the associated risks your company is surrounded by; otherwise , not only be the company falling into business deterioration but collapse whilst your competitors will be  taking  a serious advantage and your market post.

Hence, given the extreme importance of surviving on the turbulent waters our entreprises must navigate through , we encourage you to explore our advanced management solutions and services.  Enjoy the Reading!!

 

 

 

 

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: The power of using the data analysis to make your business grow

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION: The power of using the data analysis to make your business grow!

Have your ever thought about the power of the  digital transformation  ?? Technology enables companies to increase their potentials by means of using  a data management platform. Managing the data and business information is essential to understand the customers and the business trend.

ERNEL+ assist firms with  all the benefits of implementing the digital transformation in relation with  the business growth and globalization. Using the data analysis along with innovative solutions are  powerfull tools for the companies to compete in s.XXI. Being one step ahead of your competitors is vital to survive nowadays.

Our advanced and bespoke management solutions comprise the implementation of the Digital Transformation, including the necessary behaviour change management  within the  organizations in order for your peolple to adopt the digital era. Having a data management platform to integrate the source inputs along with an  innovative technology will give your company a competitive strenght .

Our team consists of a range of  seasoned Interim Managers (Senior Directors) with vast experience on the Technology field. We are in a position to transform your  organization in a prosperous entreprise.

We manage the business complexity whilst committed to the solutions.

INTRAPRENEURSHIP AND CORPORATE FINANCE SOLUTIONS

Management Buy Out and acquisition of companies

INTRAPRENEURSHIP AND CORPORATE FINANCE SOLUTIONS: Explore how ERNEL+ assist with the intricate process?

Whilst   the Intrapreneurship requires a complex Corporate Finance process for the  dedicated executives to gain access to the ownership of the entreprise,  ERNEL+ have developed a sieries of eNotes on the Management Buy-Out business-related topic so as to guide throughout the complex  process.

Obtaining the requisite assistance along with access to the Corporate Finance solutions is therefore  vital to succeed. Within our team we group   the relevant experience  on the field so as to guide you and provide the  differientated solutions;  as a result of the fact that we have gone through this vibrant situation  in the past!

We know that  scenarios such as acquiring  your own entreprise  or  taking control of the company you had been working for so far are much your life´s dream and  target. Our seasoned Interim Managers (Senior Directors)   will  collaborate with you  and guide throughout the course of the process until the business mission be completed successfully.

Hence, our Corporate Finance solutions, including the Management Buy-Out option, solve the equation! We manage the business complexity and remain committed to the solutions.

We are your partner! We are your team!