Saakshi Nagpal

Archive for the month “April, 2012”

Titanic : 3 lessons for a Business Analyst

Some make it big.

Some make it legendary.

Some make it an epic failure.

Titanic , the tragic ship becomes the inspiration of many books, movies , remake In 3Ds. Titanic (the movie) was the first english movie I saw chupke-chupke on cable TV, its charm has totally mesmerized me. The sinking scenes made me cry. Being a kid (I would be in 6th standard) I learned how to act at the time of crisis, how to keep updating our decisions sensing the need of the hour and how to keep your cool. (Of course , how to stand on the deck of ship *wink *wink )

I managed to watch Titanic 3D three times since it’s release and thought the learning can be extended to any domain.

Here are the 3 learning’s as a Business Analyst (BA) from Titanic.

1.    Oh yeah , I know it all 🙂  

The mighty and glorious Titanic was believed to be ‘unsinkable’. For that reason, it did not carry the required number of lifeboats. This was one of the biggest causes of loss of life on the ship. The belief that the ship was unsinkable ultimately led to disaster.

Lesson for BA : Your experience and knowledge (read as assumptions) are so powerful that they directly affect how you think, learn and work. When you believe something to be correct, you act in accordance with that knowledge (assumption). Ours is a world where people don’t know what they want and are willing to make us go through hell to get it. Identify, challenge, figure out loop holes and move beyond any assumptions that could ultimately spell disaster for you.

2.      Overconfidence is Catastrophic

Overestimating the capability of the Titanic led the captain to make several perilous decisions. One such decision was to abandon the safety drill of lifeboat practice in lieu of a recording a faster sailing time to New York. Another such decision was to increase the speed of the ship, even though a neighboring ship had turned off their engines believing that the waters were treacherous.

Lesson for BA : Invest good amount of brain and time on effort estimation. Follow work break down structure and project plan religiously. Make the team be on same page and try to maintain a journal titled – lessons learned. Keep reviewing the status and the problems faced. No project can succeed without management support. The best sort of management support is the kind in which management doesn’t find out about the project until it’s a success.

3.    Address Limitations

The creators of the Titanic feared nothing. They had built a ship that could overcome the major weaknesses in ship design that caused so many ships to sink in the past. But the ‘mathematical certainty’ did happen 😦

Lesson for BABeing able to design workarounds we can do magic !! We can push our limits and deliver a better, more flexible, robust software product and please the customer, but still there is always a scope of ‘out of scope’ features pouring in. Be specific and clear about these, and address them well in time. Save your well toned neck 🙂  No matter how much you say it to be a demand problem, it’s a technical limitation, accept it. There is always a room for beta version or next phase of release

 

Source : This article is highly influenced by the original one at http://www.greatmindsinspire.com/5_Life_Long_Lessons_that_we_can_Learn_from_the_Titanic/Default.850.html

Hope you all agree with me. Have some more learning / suggestions, please drop in 🙂

Saakshi

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Customer Delight

Our organization’s Quality Policy which is displayed on our workstations right in front of our eyes says ,

We aim to be preferred global service provider for IT related services, by consistently delighting the customer and setting industry best practices.”

Yesterday was like any other day until I read our Quality Policy again. The word ‘customer delight’ caught my attention. And the immediate reaction was – when did anybody ever get up in the morning and think “Cool! A new day for upsetting customers”. Apart from the Devil himself, No body.

Hey  dreary warriors of service industry ,

 Like most of the companies our organization also uses the NPS – Net Promoter Score as the customer loyalty metric. I am working on 6 projects and yesterday for the month of March I received emails announcing that I had scored the perfect 10 in 4 of them, One customer gave me 8 (which was not too bad) but what me really mad was that I got a blank entry in one. I can understand that he was having a busy day , but so much so that he missed my NPS entry :

Customers awarding me 10 must be delighted. Customers giving me 8 must be satisfied and the blank entry, I would say they are not loyal.

Let us learn some dictionary meanings  

Satisfaction – the contentment one feels when one has fulfilled a desire, need, or expectation. 

 Delight is, to take great pleasure when your expectations are exceeded. 

 Loyalty is having the feelings of allegiance. 

These three simple words have a slightly different meaning, but all have a significant impact on the attitudes and behaviors of customers. Clearly, satisfaction is the minimal requirements to play – to truly develop a loyal or at least a return customer, one must go beyond satisfaction to delight.

When I was a little girl, I used to get upset whenever I had any fights with any of my friends. I would show tantrums and skip dinner. It was my dad who took me out for walks for soothing and yet wise words. Being an obedient daughter I used to listen to him carefully and absorb all that. In return he always delighted me with a candy bar. I never had expected that. Same is with our customers. Customer expectations are typically not very high. Give them 2G they are happy unless and until they know about 3G. Our job is to surprise them with what they were not even expecting. Now the question that arises is – how do we do that?

The NPS scores , the perfect 10s, respectable 8 and a blank entry  made me think about this golden rule , (on second thoughts, looking at the gold prices today) let me call it a Platinum rule.

 DAD 🙂  yes inspired from my DAD , my hero.

DAD stands for Discover Act and Delight.

Discover – Whenever you want to delight your customers you will have to first discover their expectations or needs. Only then will you be able to fulfill them or exceed them. Now how will you sense your customer’s expectations; clearly it is not an easy task. You should always strive to cultivate your dynamic sensors that will help you discover them clearly. Pay attention to your clients’, they give you various hints via mails, on phone calls.

If somehow it doesn’t work, then it is the time to change the shoes , be the customer of your own business. This will help you identify where your business is falling short on creating customer delight.

Do you serve your customers with an A* attitude? Or do you service them like YOU are doing them a favor?

Discover yourself.

Act – you got the customer’s expectations. It is time to act on it, not just to fulfill it but to exceed it. Service industry is a competitive world. You need customers to return with business. What you will do then? Give them options, that way it’s easy for customer to decide want they want and what they don’t rather than leaving them wandering.  Think what else you can provide them!

Promptness is a virtue.

Delight – Inform customers of your intent to evoke customer delight.  Asking help actually strengthens the bond, it does not weaken it. Make this message a part of your campaign from the very beginning. And when you achieve it make sure it is acknowledged. Customers may not know what exactly they want but they have a pretty good idea of what they like and dislike when confronted with it. 

 Take advantage of that.  You might learn something.

My dear warriors of the service industry, a bit of engagement, a bit of loyalty, a bit of consumer delight is all that we want.

To conclude let me quote a Poster which we see in our office everyday

It says

Customers are too good to lose, let’s make them (^ MORE THAN) happy.

 

 

PS : This is my toastmasters 7 th project , which I also delieverd in International Speech contest and won second position.

 

Regards,

Saakshi

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