The crisis plan

One of the worst things you can do is to try and make important decisions when you’re under great stress. While it can sometimes be necessary, the chances that you get it right are rather slim.

The best way to mitigate the risk of ending in that situation is to always have a contingency plan; a pretty straightforward plan that says what you are going to do if the shit hits the fan, and you need to get into full crisis mode.

Will the contingency plan always fit the crisis situation spot on? Of course not. But it will give you a much better vantage point to deal with the crisis from than – worst case – sheer panic.

A good contingency plan should focus on how you plan to deal with the really tough questions, if you need to:

How do you minimize your burn to the essentials without risking killing your company in the process? How do you deal with your team and let them in on what is happening in the best way possible? And following on from that: How do you scale your organization to the new reality in the best possible way?

These are all super hard decisions that no one are comfortable making. But by at least having given it some thought well in advance, when things are still looking good and going in the right direction, you’re able to address them with much more clear eyes and a sharp mind.

You can always hope and work towards ensuring that you will never get to use the plan. But at least you will have one. And that’s a huge difference.

(Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash)

Roadmap of experiments

When trying to understand a problem, it’s potential solutions and what you should build in the end, it is so easy to loose the big picture of what you’re doing and how that translates down to experiment by experiment that moves your product closer to something desirable.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

One of the things I have found extremely useful is to build out an Experiment Roadmap; a sequence of experiments I think I am going to run in a particular order to get to the insights I need, before I feel confident in what our MVP should include.

The roadmap is important to have in order not to loose track. But it is not necessarily the actual roadmap. Because as we go about experimenting and being open to digesting our learnings and move on from them in the best possible manner, our roadmap changes.

So in fact we end up with the theoretical roadmap and the real one.

Why not just have the real one then and forget about trying to outline it in the first place?

Because outlining your thought process and your path towards anticipated learning and validation is an excellent catalyst for my own thought process. It ensures that I think about how NOT to fall into the abyss of just building what I feel, we should be building, without any prior experimentation.

In order words: Laying it out in front ensures that we follow the path of generating insights and validated learnings, before we build. And the actual roadmap of experiments is how the journey to get to the MVP actually forms.

By doing it this way we also get a chance of comparing notes and learn from our approach as we go along. What was the difference between ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’ and why do we think that was the case.

Those answers may be able to serve us very well and make us sharper, better and more efficient going forward. At least that is what I am betting on.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

Don’t shoot the Excel-guy

Everybody loves to hate the Excel-sheet. The model that shows the necessary cuts to costs. The model that shows the hockeystick blowing into the sky. Any model, really.

But don’t blame Excel. Blame the complexity of the world instead.

Why?

Because – newsflash – the world is a super complicated space, where nothing can be reduced to black & white, 0’s and 1’s and binary choices. It’s full color, total chaos.

All. The. Time.

For the very same reason you should never look down on the guy or girl whose job it is to use Excel to give a representation of the world. Because it is not only a super hard job. It is an impossible job. Because the world is complex.

Yet, it is great that someone is doing it. Cherish the Excel wizard.

Love the fact that someone is putting the chin out for you and others to hit – first on one side, and then on the other. Because at the end of the day we, as humans, need some kind of structure in chaos. Something from which we can navigate, have (informed) discussions and make (hopefully) slightly less bad decisions.

Because the best decisions aren’t made in a void with no overview. They are made where there is a sense of structure, overview and idea of what the heck is really going on in this world of constantly moving parts.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)

What is a great tool?

One of the keys to efficiency is to have a great box of tools fit for the task(s) at hand. For the same reason we’re constantly working to put the best toolbox at InQvation Studio together.

We already have some sharp tools in the box – Trello for overview, Mural for ideation, Lean Stack for jotting down high-level concepts for test etc – but we’re looking for more that fits the bill: Efficient yet flexible downstream while maintaining structure and oversight upstream.

The general idea is that no tool should be too rigid while at the same time not being so flexible that it becomes a total mess to manage. A tall order, it seems. Have you come across any that fits the description? It so please reach out.

(Photo: Pixabay.com)