Guidance for building KM in Hi-tech startup #startup


Jay Kreshel
 

I have been asked to look into knowledge management for our company, a Hi-Tech start-up doing Artificial Intelligence for finance organizations. 
I have been reading up on KM over the past week... sifting through the massive amount of articles, posts, and books.
I have come up with a plan to conquer my quest:
  1. Work with the executives to understand the value proposition for the km program
  2. Create a knowledge map of assets across the company & people
  3. Determine & Document how knowledge should flow: Document how knowledge is created, captured, organized, reviewed, shared, and used.
  4. Get buy-in and budget for the program
  5. List the core program Objectives
  6. Become smarter on knowledge management tools and approaches
  7. Create a business case with KM approaches, roles, budget, metrics, etc.
  8. Execute on each KM approach / program

FIRST, is my approach a good one?

SECOND: Can anyone direct me to previously created Business Plans, Value Proposition Slides, etc., that I can use to communicate with my executive staff?

THIRD: What other smaller Tech companies (hopefully in the Silicon Valley ) can I reference to mirror my program after for a starting point.

Thanks again to Stan for the response to my LinkedIn Request.

Jay.


 

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts


Jay Kreshel
 

Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team

  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.

  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.


We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 


On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:

Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team

  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.

  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.


We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts


Patrick Lambe
 

Has anyone here used Wardley maps in this kind of KM context? I suspect they would be useful in zeroing in on critical KM capabilities in relation to product and service deliverables. And the technique was originally developed in the context of startups/ high tech companies.

The challenge in this kind of situation is lack of deep understanding of how KM ecosystems work among the key stakeholders and so they might end up identifying KM initiatives that look like they might be useful in principle, but end up feeling like housekeeping measures and eventually run out of supportive steam. Wardley maps are meant to help teams dig into and zero in on critical capabilities in the value chain. I suspect the technique would be useful but haven’t seen explicit examples in a KM context. Anyone?


P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 20 May 2021, at 2:53 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team
  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.
  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.

We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



Tim Powell
 

Hi Jay,

 

I would say that in general this is a good plan – and that you are also getting sound advice from others on this list, who are among the best and brightest in the knowledge field.

 

I’m not sure your list is intended to be in priority order, but if so, I’d put 7 (business case) where 2 is now.  You need to address the WHY before the WHAT.  If you understand the knowledge value proposition from the top down, you’ll be way ahead of the many organizations who try to figure this out after the fact. 

 

Also I would explicitly address enterprise strategies, objectives, and goals that knowledge will directly support and enhance – as Steven has described.  “What does it do for us?” is the most important question senior leadership will have – and you need to have thought it through thoroughly and convincingly.

 

Be sure you use the metrics senior leaders already use -- not ad hoc metrics peculiar to knowledge.  For example, basic net present value ROI, which they will “get.”  I attach a short article about this – and there’s much more in my book The Value of Knowledge.

 

There’s also lots of content on the two sites linked below that may be helpful to you.

 

Good luck, and thanks for bringing in this group to share your challenges.

 

Cheers,

 

Tim

 

TIM WOOD POWELL | President, The Knowledge Agency® | Author, The Value of Knowledge |

New York City, USA  |  TEL +1.212.243.1200 | 

SITE www.KnowledgeAgency.com | BLOG www.KnowledgeValueChain.com |

 

 

From: <main@SIKM.groups.io> on behalf of Jay Kreshel <jkreshel@...>
Reply-To: "main@SIKM.groups.io" <main@SIKM.groups.io>
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 8:44 PM
To: "main@SIKM.groups.io" <main@SIKM.groups.io>
Subject: [SIKM] Guideace for building KM in Hi-tech startup

 

I have been asked to look into knowledge management for our company, a Hi-Tech start-up doing Artificial Intelligence for finance organizations. 
I have been reading up on KM over the past week... sifting through the massive amount of articles, posts, and books.
I have come up with a plan to conquer my quest:

1.       Work with the executives to understand the value proposition for the km program

2.       Create a knowledge map of assets across the company & people

3.       Determine & Document how knowledge should flow: Document how knowledge is created, captured, organized, reviewed, shared, and used.

4.       Get buy-in and budget for the program

5.       List the core program Objectives

6.       Become smarter on knowledge management tools and approaches

7.       Create a business case with KM approaches, roles, budget, metrics, etc.

8.       Execute on each KM approach / program

FIRST, is my approach a good one?

SECOND: Can anyone direct me to previously created Business Plans, Value Proposition Slides, etc., that I can use to communicate with my executive staff?

THIRD: What other smaller Tech companies (hopefully in the Silicon Valley ) can I reference to mirror my program after for a starting point.

Thanks again to Stan for the response to my LinkedIn Request.

Jay.


Jay Kreshel
 

Thank you @Stephen Bounds. I appreciate the article and thoughts. I will review it further and give it a go.  Per stage 3 or the RROI (Identify proximate goals and options to target them), you elude to "brainstorming ways to 'shift the needle'. Do you mean identify different KM Approaches? Do you have favorites that provide visible wins in a short period of time? Ones that would solidify executive and participant support?

And then at a higher level... What will having the RROI get me? I can see that it would get me good favor with the CFO, showing that I am calculating value. I can see how it would help me focus on perhaps only ONE of the metrics, as I prioritize my efforts. Are there other wins that I am missing?

I want to just move on and start building stuff, but I realize that there are MANY middle steps that I need to do. This feels like one that would be valuable to me, but I need clarity on how it will help.

Jay.



On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 11:54 PM Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team

  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.

  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.


We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts


Jay Kreshel
 

Thanks, @Tim Powell for the response. Really appreciate it. 

I completely agree with oy on the "Why before the What". I tend to try to move too quickly and sometimes forgo that valuable information. And then, it bites me in the butt after the fact. 

For both you and @Stephen Bounds, as I continue to read your guidance... I am not sure that ROI is the critical piece here. The ASK has been made by the executive staff. They came TO ME with the problem to solve. Yes, I still need to represent it, but I do not think that it becomes the pivotal point. I am not sure what is that Pivotal / Critical point, but I don't think that it will be the ROI. (And yes I do now realize that I am going against what my original ask was about).

Or am I UNDER valuing its impact?

Jay.

On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 2:54 AM Tim Powell <tim.powell@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

 

I would say that in general this is a good plan – and that you are also getting sound advice from others on this list, who are among the best and brightest in the knowledge field.

 

I’m not sure your list is intended to be in priority order, but if so, I’d put 7 (business case) where 2 is now.  You need to address the WHY before the WHAT.  If you understand the knowledge value proposition from the top down, you’ll be way ahead of the many organizations who try to figure this out after the fact. 

 

Also I would explicitly address enterprise strategies, objectives, and goals that knowledge will directly support and enhance – as Steven has described.  “What does it do for us?” is the most important question senior leadership will have – and you need to have thought it through thoroughly and convincingly.

 

Be sure you use the metrics senior leaders already use -- not ad hoc metrics peculiar to knowledge.  For example, basic net present value ROI, which they will “get.”  I attach a short article about this – and there’s much more in my book The Value of Knowledge.

 

There’s also lots of content on the two sites linked below that may be helpful to you.

 

Good luck, and thanks for bringing in this group to share your challenges.

 

Cheers,

 

Tim

 

TIM WOOD POWELL | President, The Knowledge Agency® | Author, The Value of Knowledge |

New York City, USA  |  TEL +1.212.243.1200 | 

SITE www.KnowledgeAgency.com | BLOG www.KnowledgeValueChain.com |

 

 

From: <main@SIKM.groups.io> on behalf of Jay Kreshel <jkreshel@...>
Reply-To: "main@SIKM.groups.io" <main@SIKM.groups.io>
Date: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 8:44 PM
To: "main@SIKM.groups.io" <main@SIKM.groups.io>
Subject: [SIKM] Guideace for building KM in Hi-tech startup

 

I have been asked to look into knowledge management for our company, a Hi-Tech start-up doing Artificial Intelligence for finance organizations. 
I have been reading up on KM over the past week... sifting through the massive amount of articles, posts, and books.
I have come up with a plan to conquer my quest:

1.       Work with the executives to understand the value proposition for the km program

2.       Create a knowledge map of assets across the company & people

3.       Determine & Document how knowledge should flow: Document how knowledge is created, captured, organized, reviewed, shared, and used.

4.       Get buy-in and budget for the program

5.       List the core program Objectives

6.       Become smarter on knowledge management tools and approaches

7.       Create a business case with KM approaches, roles, budget, metrics, etc.

8.       Execute on each KM approach / program

FIRST, is my approach a good one?

SECOND: Can anyone direct me to previously created Business Plans, Value Proposition Slides, etc., that I can use to communicate with my executive staff?

THIRD: What other smaller Tech companies (hopefully in the Silicon Valley ) can I reference to mirror my program after for a starting point.

Thanks again to Stan for the response to my LinkedIn Request.

Jay.


Jan Hutter
 

@Patrick: you ask about usage of Wardley maps in KM. I personally don't have any experience with that approach nor did I watch any of those videos myself but there is a whole Youtube Channel dedicated to Wardley mapping here. One particular video is about Wardley Mapping and DDD (Domain-Driven Design). While DDD is an approach to develop domain-heavy software systems, it has a lot of overlap with challenges in the knowledge management discipline.

Jan


On Thu, May 20, 2021 at 9:26 AM Patrick Lambe <plambe@...> wrote:
Has anyone here used Wardley maps in this kind of KM context? I suspect they would be useful in zeroing in on critical KM capabilities in relation to product and service deliverables. And the technique was originally developed in the context of startups/ high tech companies.

The challenge in this kind of situation is lack of deep understanding of how KM ecosystems work among the key stakeholders and so they might end up identifying KM initiatives that look like they might be useful in principle, but end up feeling like housekeeping measures and eventually run out of supportive steam. Wardley maps are meant to help teams dig into and zero in on critical capabilities in the value chain. I suspect the technique would be useful but haven’t seen explicit examples in a KM context. Anyone?


P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 20 May 2021, at 2:53 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team
  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.
  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.

We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Jay,

Yes, Stage 3 is about identifying multiple KM approaches. It is easy from a KM perspective to say "I know what a wiki is, therefore the problem to my solution is a wiki!" People then apply post-hoc rationalisations about why a Wiki will help people collaborate, waste less time searching for solutions, etc to justify why they have chosen that solution.

Try to avoid falling into that trap. In design thinking terms, stage 3 starts as a "divergent" process. For each metric you care about, you want identify everything that could lead to changes in that metric and then to think about ways to impact factors that influence it. This will provide a shortlist of candidates to consider in stage 4.

Let me clarify one thing. While RROI can be used as a sales pitch for a CFO, that is not its primary purpose. The term originates in marketing where people have to try and choose the most effective way to split an advertising budget, where there will never be a 1:1 link between "this ad appeared on TV" and "this person appeared in my store and bought my product". In your case, it is about adopting a systematic approach to evaluating your sales "system" and identifying and exploiting points of leverage for change where you have to pick between options.

I emphasise this point because even if you had infinite resources and staff within your team, KM interventions are inherently limited in two ways:

  • your ability to partition a system and run multiple interventions in parallel with minimal risk (ie safe-fail probing)
  • the human factors of implementing change, including the risk of change fatigue if you try to do too much, too soon

So even if we could sit down and identify 20 ways to tweak the sales and customer retention pipeline, you're probably going to have to limit yourself to 3-4 max and possibly only 1 or 2. RROI allows you to do a cross-comparison of the pros and cons of each in a systematic way and prioritise which you implement first (to be clear, you may well go back and do #3 and #4 after bedding down #1 and #2 on your list, but this helps to keep focus).

To keep working the problem, you ask how you could identify KM approaches. I suggest we look at increased customer retention as our proximate goal. We can use the problem solving pattern to think about where our weaknesses may lie:

For example:

  • Alternative solutions: Do you know the main reasons why customers are stopping using your product? Can we influence the behaviours that lead to that decision?
  • Error elimination: Have you got a hypothesis on how to address the observed behaviors? Can we test that?
  • Acquire: How effective is our data gathering process? Is it statistically valid? Could we change when or how the data is gathered?
  • Analyse:  What sources of information could we interrogate to learn more about what's going on? Are there alternative analysis techniques we haven't tried yet?
  • Act: Can we identify which customers are likely to quit using your product and act to intercept that first? If we could, what would that look like?
  • Monitor: Can we validate the relationship between applied retention incentives (eg temporary discount to monthly fees) and observed behaviour? Does that help us tell our customer support team which to offer and when?

Answering these questions will help us hone in on the KM initiatives that are likely to yield results.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 21/05/2021 12:22 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:

Thank you @Stephen Bounds. I appreciate the article and thoughts. I will review it further and give it a go.  Per stage 3 or the RROI (Identify proximate goals and options to target them), you elude to "brainstorming ways to 'shift the needle'. Do you mean identify different KM Approaches? Do you have favorites that provide visible wins in a short period of time? Ones that would solidify executive and participant support?

And then at a higher level... What will having the RROI get me? I can see that it would get me good favor with the CFO, showing that I am calculating value. I can see how it would help me focus on perhaps only ONE of the metrics, as I prioritize my efforts. Are there other wins that I am missing?

I want to just move on and start building stuff, but I realize that there are MANY middle steps that I need to do. This feels like one that would be valuable to me, but I need clarity on how it will help.

Jay.



On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 11:54 PM Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team

  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.

  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.


We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts


Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Patrick,

I'm not sure if a Wardley map is exactly the right framework to use, since one of the key aspects of his method is the idea that as a technology matures it tends towards commodification. I'm not sure if that was the focus you intended with your suggestion.

Back in around 2007, Fujitsu pioneered the idea of a "results chain" framework, which is visually similar but more closely aligned to your idea. They appear to have made the text describing the main aspects of the approach freely available (see pp27 onwards).

I've used the concept quite a few times, and particularly like the idea of tracking through intermediate and final outcomes; I do tend to find the "Assumptions" annotations a bit extraneous though. On the hand, I wasn't using this in a consulting context and so there was less pressure to "show my working" 😁

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 5:25 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:

Has anyone here used Wardley maps in this kind of KM context? I suspect they would be useful in zeroing in on critical KM capabilities in relation to product and service deliverables. And the technique was originally developed in the context of startups/ high tech companies.

The challenge in this kind of situation is lack of deep understanding of how KM ecosystems work among the key stakeholders and so they might end up identifying KM initiatives that look like they might be useful in principle, but end up feeling like housekeeping measures and eventually run out of supportive steam. Wardley maps are meant to help teams dig into and zero in on critical capabilities in the value chain. I suspect the technique would be useful but haven’t seen explicit examples in a KM context. Anyone?


P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 20 May 2021, at 2:53 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team
  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.
  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.

We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts



Patrick Lambe
 

It was actually my intent Stephen. My thinking was that in start-ups as well as in SMEs, a good deal of the knowledge (and more broadly, capabilities) needed to grow and prosper, are external to the organisation and must be acquired, or constructed internally. That seems to me a classic Wardley scenario. And even in larger organisations, KM capabilities are often brought in from outside via consulting and technical services, as distinct from building them internally.

It struck me that it might be interesting to try to map KM capabilities in that way, and wondered if anyone had tried it. 

Thanks for the reference to the results chain framework - I hadn’t been aware of it. At a very swift glance it looks very much like a planning implementation tool, rather than a map designed for sensemaking and decision purposes, which is how I read Wardley maps. Did I get that wrong?

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 May 2021, at 2:27 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Patrick,

I'm not sure if a Wardley map is exactly the right framework to use, since one of the key aspects of his method is the idea that as a technology matures it tends towards commodification. I'm not sure if that was the focus you intended with your suggestion.

Back in around 2007, Fujitsu pioneered the idea of a "results chain" framework, which is visually similar but more closely aligned to your idea. They appear to have made the text describing the main aspects of the approach freely available (see pp27 onwards).

I've used the concept quite a few times, and particularly like the idea of tracking through intermediate and final outcomes; I do tend to find the "Assumptions" annotations a bit extraneous though. On the hand, I wasn't using this in a consulting context and so there was less pressure to "show my working" 😁

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 5:25 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:
Has anyone here used Wardley maps in this kind of KM context? I suspect they would be useful in zeroing in on critical KM capabilities in relation to product and service deliverables. And the technique was originally developed in the context of startups/ high tech companies.

The challenge in this kind of situation is lack of deep understanding of how KM ecosystems work among the key stakeholders and so they might end up identifying KM initiatives that look like they might be useful in principle, but end up feeling like housekeeping measures and eventually run out of supportive steam. Wardley maps are meant to help teams dig into and zero in on critical capabilities in the value chain. I suspect the technique would be useful but haven’t seen explicit examples in a KM context. Anyone?


P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com

<SK18th_Anniv2020_emailfooter (2).jpg>

On 20 May 2021, at 2:53 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team
  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.
  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.

We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts




Stephen Bounds
 

Hi Patrick,

Interesting. Generally though, startups are only able to disrupt a market because they either (a) take advantage of a foundational product or service that is newly commoditised and build an innovative capability on top of that or (b) offer the commoditisation or the product themselves. I think I understand what you're getting at though. If it is possible to outsource or commoditise a knowledge product, is may not be worth trying to curate it in-house as a critical knowledge component of the organisation.

A good example would be the skill to write a game engine. Game developers used to rely on having this knowledge in-house to gain the necessary performance advantages. Now, even though you might be able to spend a lot of time and money writing a more optimised algorithm than one bought off the shelf, it's not likely to be the driver of the core creative output that makes your game sell.

In relation to results chain: I see them as more of a sensemaking tool because it tries to make the assumed influences on a system explicit. I suppose if you wrote your results as one-time goals then it would look like a traditional planning framework. I tend to use it more for systems factor analysis, eg here's a representation of how KM activities are intended to lead to valuable organisational outcomes:

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 22/05/2021 12:05 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:

It was actually my intent Stephen. My thinking was that in start-ups as well as in SMEs, a good deal of the knowledge (and more broadly, capabilities) needed to grow and prosper, are external to the organisation and must be acquired, or constructed internally. That seems to me a classic Wardley scenario. And even in larger organisations, KM capabilities are often brought in from outside via consulting and technical services, as distinct from building them internally.

It struck me that it might be interesting to try to map KM capabilities in that way, and wondered if anyone had tried it. 

Thanks for the reference to the results chain framework - I hadn’t been aware of it. At a very swift glance it looks very much like a planning implementation tool, rather than a map designed for sensemaking and decision purposes, which is how I read Wardley maps. Did I get that wrong?

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 21 May 2021, at 2:27 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Patrick,

I'm not sure if a Wardley map is exactly the right framework to use, since one of the key aspects of his method is the idea that as a technology matures it tends towards commodification. I'm not sure if that was the focus you intended with your suggestion.

Back in around 2007, Fujitsu pioneered the idea of a "results chain" framework, which is visually similar but more closely aligned to your idea. They appear to have made the text describing the main aspects of the approach freely available (see pp27 onwards).

I've used the concept quite a few times, and particularly like the idea of tracking through intermediate and final outcomes; I do tend to find the "Assumptions" annotations a bit extraneous though. On the hand, I wasn't using this in a consulting context and so there was less pressure to "show my working" 😁

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 5:25 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:
Has anyone here used Wardley maps in this kind of KM context? I suspect they would be useful in zeroing in on critical KM capabilities in relation to product and service deliverables. And the technique was originally developed in the context of startups/ high tech companies.

The challenge in this kind of situation is lack of deep understanding of how KM ecosystems work among the key stakeholders and so they might end up identifying KM initiatives that look like they might be useful in principle, but end up feeling like housekeeping measures and eventually run out of supportive steam. Wardley maps are meant to help teams dig into and zero in on critical capabilities in the value chain. I suspect the technique would be useful but haven’t seen explicit examples in a KM context. Anyone?


P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com

<SK18th_Anniv2020_emailfooter (2).jpg>

On 20 May 2021, at 2:53 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team
  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.
  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.

We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts




Patrick Lambe
 

Stephen:

Your Para 2: Yes

Your Para 3: Got it, nice.

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com


On 25 May 2021, at 2:46 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Patrick,

Interesting. Generally though, startups are only able to disrupt a market because they either (a) take advantage of a foundational product or service that is newly commoditised and build an innovative capability on top of that or (b) offer the commoditisation or the product themselves. I think I understand what you're getting at though. If it is possible to outsource or commoditise a knowledge product, is may not be worth trying to curate it in-house as a critical knowledge component of the organisation.

A good example would be the skill to write a game engine. Game developers used to rely on having this knowledge in-house to gain the necessary performance advantages. Now, even though you might be able to spend a lot of time and money writing a more optimised algorithm than one bought off the shelf, it's not likely to be the driver of the core creative output that makes your game sell.

In relation to results chain: I see them as more of a sensemaking tool because it tries to make the assumed influences on a system explicit. I suppose if you wrote your results as one-time goals then it would look like a traditional planning framework. I tend to use it more for systems factor analysis, eg here's a representation of how KM activities are intended to lead to valuable organisational outcomes:

<hgpmnkcajignlglh.png>

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 22/05/2021 12:05 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:
It was actually my intent Stephen. My thinking was that in start-ups as well as in SMEs, a good deal of the knowledge (and more broadly, capabilities) needed to grow and prosper, are external to the organisation and must be acquired, or constructed internally. That seems to me a classic Wardley scenario. And even in larger organisations, KM capabilities are often brought in from outside via consulting and technical services, as distinct from building them internally.

It struck me that it might be interesting to try to map KM capabilities in that way, and wondered if anyone had tried it. 

Thanks for the reference to the results chain framework - I hadn’t been aware of it. At a very swift glance it looks very much like a planning implementation tool, rather than a map designed for sensemaking and decision purposes, which is how I read Wardley maps. Did I get that wrong?

P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com

<SK18th_Anniv2020_emailfooter (2).jpg>

On 21 May 2021, at 2:27 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Patrick,

I'm not sure if a Wardley map is exactly the right framework to use, since one of the key aspects of his method is the idea that as a technology matures it tends towards commodification. I'm not sure if that was the focus you intended with your suggestion.

Back in around 2007, Fujitsu pioneered the idea of a "results chain" framework, which is visually similar but more closely aligned to your idea. They appear to have made the text describing the main aspects of the approach freely available (see pp27 onwards).

I've used the concept quite a few times, and particularly like the idea of tracking through intermediate and final outcomes; I do tend to find the "Assumptions" annotations a bit extraneous though. On the hand, I wasn't using this in a consulting context and so there was less pressure to "show my working" 😁

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 5:25 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:
Has anyone here used Wardley maps in this kind of KM context? I suspect they would be useful in zeroing in on critical KM capabilities in relation to product and service deliverables. And the technique was originally developed in the context of startups/ high tech companies.

The challenge in this kind of situation is lack of deep understanding of how KM ecosystems work among the key stakeholders and so they might end up identifying KM initiatives that look like they might be useful in principle, but end up feeling like housekeeping measures and eventually run out of supportive steam. Wardley maps are meant to help teams dig into and zero in on critical capabilities in the value chain. I suspect the technique would be useful but haven’t seen explicit examples in a KM context. Anyone?


P

Patrick Lambe
Partner
Straits Knowledge

phone:  +65 98528511

web:  www.straitsknowledge.com
resources:  www.greenchameleon.com
knowledge mapping:  www.aithinsoftware.com

<SK18th_Anniv2020_emailfooter (2).jpg>

On 20 May 2021, at 2:53 PM, Stephen Bounds <km@...> wrote:

Hi Jay,

Sounds like you have a perfect case for undertaking a RROI (relative return on investment) evaluation.

From what you have said, you've already identified three key metrics to target, each of which is a clear proxy for an ultimate business goal:

  • Increased customer retention (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Higher sales conversion rate (proxy metric for increased revenue)
  • Decreased onboarding time for sales team (proxy metric for decreased cost of sales)

To complete an RROI evaluation, the basic stages are:

  1. Identify ultimate goals and create a method for valuing goal outcomes. This can be skipped, since it looks like you have a direct revenue goal. Some organisations (eg governments) need to assign a nominal dollar value another way, perhaps by looking at calculating lost client productivity.
  2. Identify proximate goals and options to target them. You have already identified the proximate goals, so the next step is to brainstorm a range of ways to "shift the needle".
  3. Model impact of options on proximate goals. In other words, what rate of change in proximate goals are you targeting and how much would it cost to implement the option you've identified?
  4. Model change in ultimate goals based on change in proximate goals. For example, if your average retained customer pays $1000 / month, a 1% increase in retention on 1000 new customers annually is worth $120,000 a year.
  5. Compare benefits to costs to find the RROI of each initiative. This is simply dividing the benefit achieved by the cost, similar to a conventional cost-benefit analysis. Use this rank to recommend the highest benefit:cost ratio first!

There's a fully worked example on page 5 of my KM4Dev paper about RROI, which is freely available online.

Cheers,
Stephen.

====================================
Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
Cordelta
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096
====================================
On 20/05/2021 11:46 am, Jay Kreshel wrote:
Thanks for the reply. My boss EVP in Customer Success works on the executive staff. His discussions with the head of Marketing and Head of Sales. Their objectives are mostly around: 
  • Decreasing the amount of time our customers take to get value out of the application. 

  • Minimizing the misunderstandings for the sales team
  • Increasing customer retention. If we can get the Customer Success team to know all of the use cases around the products, they can share the whole value around the solution, thus increasing retention.
  • Increasing the ramp time for sales, CS. We will increase the pace of hiring and will need to help them to know about our product & industry in as a short period of time as possible.

We have been working for the past few months on new product releases and enablement for our customer-facing teams. We have technology, software, processes, & people that we have used to "appropriately" spread knowledge to the audiences, But, to your point, we have not been targeted in our approach. And we have not picked that key "Pain Point" that we should start with. 

Any thoughts as to which would be the highest reward with ease of implementation? to get that Bang for our early buck?

Jay. 

On Wed, May 19, 2021 at 6:15 PM Tom Short <tshortconsulting@...> wrote:

Who’s asking you to do it? Depending on where it’s coming from, it could reduce the emphasis placed on developing a complete value proposition for exec staff, at least in terms of a heavily quantifiable one. 

As for your approach, I’d start by trying to understand where the biggest gaps are that KM-type approaches might be able to bridge. Where are places where there is the most variance in performance among people doing similar types of work? Which processes have high variance of outcome? Which processes leverage the most amount of resource, either in terms of inputs or outcomes? 

By understanding this a bit more you’ll be in a good place to identify potential pain points that KM can address, and where the bang for KM buck is the greatest. 

If you’d like to read more about his type of approach check out this chapter I wrote on KM Lessons Learned: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B4goA-zLqqvBZWFmNGVjZWQtZTRlMi00ZWMzLWIzNTUtNTBjZjkzMzM0Y2Y4/view?usp=drivesdk

(PS - after 20 years as a KM practitioner I retired and now work with tech startups in the Bay Area through an accelerator and via referrals). 

Good luck.
--
-Tom
--

Tom Short Consulting
TSC
+1 415 300 7457

All of my previous SIKM Posts