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Archive for Business matters

Value propositions for success






Maximize customer demand and fend off the competition through techniques proven and used by some of the most successful companies in the UK. Here’s how to adapt and implement the marketing strategies of successful large corporates for use by SMEs. And the flexibility inherent in smaller companies lets you to do it better than the big boys! 

  • A value proposition is no more than the combination of product, service, pricing and delivery system offered to the customer. 
  • But to maximise customer demand, an individual value proposition needs to be created for each target customer segment by strategically balancing these four factors. 
  • To do this, you need a clear understanding of your sources of advantage in providing value and creating fit with target customer segments. You also need to anticipate customer value migrating and shifting and think about how to expand your offering appropriately to sustain competitive advantage. 
  • Before a value proposition is developed, you need to first assesses the most promising target customers by segmenting them according to need, demography, and behaviour – all with an eye toward profitability.
  • Then you need to translate your customers’ needs and desires into an improved value proposition by adjusting the product offering, the services given and the means of distribution.

Only by creating appropriate value propositions, can you hope to leverage strengths and optimise resources with the goal of increasing market share of the target segments. 

Call me, Steve Herman, on 07825-189263 or e-mail me at steve@targetmanagementadvisory.co.uk to find out how we can help you maximize customer demand and fend off the competition.




Can’t decide on priorities? Call MoSCoW

MoSCoW is a prioritisation technique used in business analysis and software development to reach a common understanding with stakeholders on the importance they place on the delivery of each requirement .

  • M – MUST: Describes a requirement that must be satisfied in the final solution for the solution to be considered a success.
  • S – SHOULD: Represents a high-priority item that should be included in the solution if it is possible. This is often a critical requirement but one which can be satisfied in other ways if strictly necessary.
  • C – COULD: Describes a requirement which is considered desirable but not necessary. This will be included if time and resources permit.
  • W – WON’T: Represents a requirement that stakeholders have agreed will not be implemented in a given release, but may be considered for the future.Prioritization of MoSCoW Requirements

Prioritization by MoSCoW rules

All requirements are important, but they are prioritised to deliver the greatest and most immediate business benefits early. Developers will initially try to deliver all the M, S and C requirements but the S and C requirements will be the first to go if the delivery timescale looks threatened.

The plain English meaning of the MoSCoW words has value in getting customers to understand what they are doing during prioritisation in a way that other ways of attaching priority, like high, medium and low, do not.

Must have
requirements labeled as MUST have to be included in the current delivery timebox in order for it to be a success. If even one MUST requirement is not included, the project delivery should be considered a failure (note: requirements can be downgraded from MUST, by agreement with all relevant stakeholders; for example, when new requirements are deemed more important). MUST can also be considered an acronym for the Minimum Usable SubseT.
Should have
SHOULD requirements are also critical to the success of the project, but are not necessary for delivery in the current delivery timebox. SHOULD requirements are as important as MUST, although SHOULD requirements are often not as time-critical or have workarounds, allowing another way of satisfying the requirement, so can be held back until a future delivery timebox.
Could have
requirements labeled as COULD are less critical and often seen as nice to have. A few easily satisfied COULD requirements in a delivery can increase customer satisfaction for little development cost.
Won’t have (but Would like)
WON’T requirements are either the least-critical, lowest-payback items, or not appropriate at that time. As a result, WON’T requirements are not planned into the schedule for the delivery timebox. WON’T requirements are either dropped or reconsidered for inclusion in later timeboxes. This, however doesn’t make them any less important.

Sometimes this is described simply as “Would like to have” in the future, this however leaves some ambiguity in the minds of the users as to its priority compared to the other marks.

To discuss how you can implement these simple rules to get the right priorities and agreed by everyone, call me, Steve Herman, on 0044(0)7825189263. If you can priorize the time, that is!


What strategic planning is not

What Strategic Planning Is Not! (with thanks to the Pakistan Institute of Management)

Strategic planning is about fundamental decisions and actions, but it does not attempt to make future decisions (Steiner, 1979). Strategic planning involves anticipating the future environment, but the decisions are made in the present. This means that over time, the organization must stay abreast of changes in order to make the best decisions it can at any given point – it must manage, as well as plan, strategically. Strategic planning has also been described as a tool – but it is not a substitute for the exercise of judgment by leadership. Ultimately, the leaders of any enterprise need to sit back and ask, and answer, “What are the most important issues to respond to?” and “How shall we respond?” Just as the hammer does not create the bookshelf, so the data analysis and decision-making tools of strategic planning do not make the organization work – they can only support the intuition, reasoning skills, and judgment that people bring to their organization. Finally, strategic planning, though described as disciplined, does not typically flow smoothly from one step to the next. It is a creative process, and the fresh insight arrived at today might very well alter the decision made yesterday. Inevitably the process moves forward and back several times before arriving at the final set of decisions. Therefore, no one should be surprised if the process feels less like a comfortable trip on a commuter train, but rather like a ride on a roller coaster. But even roller coaster cars arrive at their destination, as long as they stay on track!



Do you ever feel like Arthur Dent?

He lost all faith in the  straightforward operation of cause and effect the day he got up intending to catch up with some reading and ended up on a prehistoric earth with a man from Betelgeuse and a spaceship-load of alien telephone sanitisers…

Some business days can make you feel just like this – what happened to the relative certainties we used to deal with. It can’t all be chaos or too complicated to comprehend? Why, the buzz phrase was all about decision making under uncertainty, when at least we knew what we didn’t know. Now, there’s an internal Donald Rumsfeld telling us there are unknown unknowns, so how on earth are we to make judgements and come to conclusions?

You’ll have heard me say before that the best you can do is come up with something that works for you AND THAT YOU ARE ACTUALLY CAPABLE OF IMPLEMENTING rather than reaching for the text book answer that should apply to a business of your “type”. Oh, and preferably an approach that doesn’t bet the whole farm, as they say.

Remember, you only have to be the least foolish of the fools to have a fair shot at surviving.



Optimizing visible competencies for survival in a recession may be a losing strategy

A good deal of industry-wide change is likely to come about as a result of elements beyond the control of an individual firm or entrepreneur through new entrants or bankruptcies. The effect of this is significantly magnified through a recession.

Managers and owners need to understand the real capabilities of their firms in terms of underlying dispositions or propensities to act rather than just managing and reconfiguring observable internal and external competences. Trying to optimise these visible  competencies for survival in a recession may be a losing strategy.

Firms should first understand and develop what they already do relatively well. Planned change in firms should be piecemeal, experimental and cautious. Leadership and entrepreneurship are important, but leaders and entrepreneurs have to learn much from others and from other employees. Consequently, business leaders and policy makers should concentrate on developing and enhancing existing skills and capacities in the workforce.

Potential potential new business owners need to be more realistic and conscious about the venture they plan, their own (path dependent) dispositions for action and the need to remain open to learning from others and from the employees the take on.

There is also a need to recognise the power of institutional entrepreneurship, the role of the entrepreneurial manager or management team within the firm. Leadership and entrepreneurship are important, but leaders and entrepreneurs have to learn much from other employees.