2017 was a great year and 2018 will be even better!
Highlights of 2017 for me have been the following:
- New members of the Engage Process UK user community
- Some great workshops and strategic support sessions
- Engage Process User Group
- Lots of great events, presentations and conversations
- Different sectors and processes proving the product
- Audible and lots of personal learning
- Realisation that the existing functionality of Engage can provide help with GDPR
New members of the Engage Process UK user community
Its great to see the user community growing in the UK. I am lucky to be able to go and work with many organisations working on a massive array of projects. We always aim to give value to our customers and are committed to delivering improved public services. I always learn when I am onsite doing training, demos or workshops. Lots of customers doing lots of great things out there and more case studies and examples will be coming in 2018 but here are a couple of examples.
Some personal highlights for me have been seeing first hand the great work the TIC team are doing at Carmarthenshire County Council really getting the culture and mind set right as well as using best in class tools to support the change! Great to sponsor their TIC awards for best innovation projects in 2017 and already committed to sponsoring 2018s awards.
Really enjoyed my first visit to Perth and Kinross Council it took a year but worth it. Great team there really growing the use of the tool in many change programmes. Great to learn about digital marketing of services some great little videos about My PKC and I learnt stuff I will use to help my business and customers.
Its been excellent to see our user base growing and also moving into other sectors such as leisure, health, ICT and sport. Some of our newer customer include Sport Wales, Livewire Warrington, Exeter City Council, Teignbridge Council and Strata Solutions.
Some customer use cases
Carmarthenshire culture posters
And the winners are
Netherlands customer use cases
Some great workshops and strategic support sessions
One of the major benefits of the work we do at We are Lean and Agile is how we get to go and meet some great customers looking to deliver all types of transformation programmes. We are lucky to be able to go and help train new business analysts to deliver excellent services and to seek and remove waste from their processes. We also get to facilitate process workshops and understand the challenges and excellence that is being delivered across the public and private sector.
Every process I work on provides learning for me personally as each organisation is unique and different even if they are delivering predominantly the same processes. Every workshop provides me with both examples of what to try to avoid but frequently examples of best practice that can be used elsewhere. The process of sharing our knowledge, experience and approach can make a massive difference to organisations and be truly transformational in the way they think about and approach challenges. We strongly believe in the approach of investigating what is going on before jumping to solutions our approach is built on best practice to ensure organisations act on the cause not just the symptoms. It strikes me regularly that processes are hampered and waste is generated all too often by ICT (software, hardware, policy and appropriateness). Also with the enhancements in technology brought by AI, machine learning, robots, augmented reality an overheard phrase in Marks and Spencer really struck me as true.
Computers are great slaves but terrible masters
We have some great customers really doing some excellent things and our core values as a company mean we are totally committed to delivering value for our customers. We go above and beyond to help all we can and the results have been excellent. An example of this comes from one of our customers we have helped this year. The feedback is long but I make no apologies as I couldn’t really edit it down as it highlights what we try to achieve for large or small organisations. It comes from Livewire Warrington an innovative company delivering leisure, libraries and culture. It is credit to them that 2 senior officers sat with the group for 6 days in total understanding the As Is and then co-designing the new To Be processes I am pleased they saw the benefit.
Thank you for spending 7 days with 30 or so of my colleagues and I. No doubt I speak for all when I suggest that we found the sessions informative, thought provoking and hugely reflective. I think what was particularly clever was being able to create a mental state for the group whereby we could pause from the day job and ask the question, why the hell are doing what we are doing. Obviously this is the skill of the facilitator I thought you were consistently excellent.
It was hugely beneficial to plot the AS IS process, this allowed all to discover what wasn’t exactly right, correct or proper with the current state of play. By your design I suppose, I understood the business perhaps better than I had in the four years I have been here. I began to put the pieces together of why we needed to change and look at pretty much all our processes, differently. It reaffirmed our company’s decision to draft you in. It was absolutely the right thing to do.
It was great that so many of our employees were able to contribute to the AS IS and to the TO BE process. It was great that all were fully engaged and I was delighted that you had captured 280 ideas of business improvement articulated by them. That was exceptionally powerful and clearly they bought in to the workshops delivered by you because you fully encompassing their view, took on their challenge and engaged with their questions. Importantly, the sessions were enjoyable. Too often sessions like these are boring and dull, yours were neither.
Moving forward I am confident that between us we have produced enough valuable material to ensure the contact centre is a success on day one. It’s clear what processes the centre will now do and how they will do them. This was my main aim for our work, what does day one look like and how will we do it..
However the by-product is perhaps ‘value’.
The workshops, the conversations, the maps showcase valued added activity, as such I can now see with some certainty where the company is leaking cash and waste. This is significant step and enlightenment for company in adolescence. Learning here and now, adapting our processes with one eye on the horizon, allows the company to plough forwards with confidence, particularly with new developments such as a contact centre.
In terms of value added, I was surprised that you, without prompt, went far beyond the scope of your remit. The website was a prime example, I really appreciated you taking the time to explore the weakness of the current format and I was delighted that you replayed this back to the senior management as a key strategic risk for our company to get a handle on. I think we all knew this was an issue to address, but I think what was useful was the prioritisation of what as an SMT we need address next with the resources available. A great debate.
Finally, thank you for training both Mark and I with the Modeler, no doubt we will be touch when producing our own maps. And I look forward to the upcoming webinar training with you.
If you were on trip advisor I would award 5 stars for style, substance and delivery… and I suspect your already number one attraction In Torbay! Hahahhah.
Livewire Warrington and Culture Warrington
Engage Process User Group
I have already blogged about the user group in the Netherlands see here I learnt a lot talking to the longstanding user community. We are committed to bringing the user group to the UK in 2018 to support our rapidly growing community. Its great also to hear of self organising groups being talked about in Scotland and Wales (come on English users lets get one or two going!). We can really start to share best practice and lessons so we don’t have to learn them again in every organisation. A semi quote from Hit Refresh the book about the reimagining of Microsoft in the new era is:
You do not have to invent the wheel but it would probably be good to adopt it when it has been invented
Below is a short video done by the excellent Nigel Bishop to give you a flavour of what’s to come in 2018 and to put some faces to the names of the Engage Process heroes in the Netherlands.
Lots of great events, presentations and conversations
I already talked about our company ethos. I will be happy when we have 33% of the Public Sector using the software just like they do in Holland for Local Authorities. I am a huge fan of productivity tools such as Engage Process. We have a tool which helps you improve processes and understand the costs/benefits of doing so does anyone in the Public (or private) Sector see a use for that! But this subject is about events so lets get back to that. I have been lucky to attend many great events and listened to some inspirational speakers and learned a lot. There are things at every event I learn but also real tangible things I pick up that I can use in my day to day work.
It is hard to sometimes justify even just travel costs or time to go to a free event but I would encourage you to try. Try to make sure you provide feedback to colleagues so that the value of attending is visible. Try to bring something back with you and apply it no matter how small. Try to make contacts with colleagues in the wider sector and use those to help learn lessons and inform future projects. From a personal perspective talk to the suppliers and see what they can offer, not all suppliers are bad some of us out here are really trying to help and to add value for you. I am really excited to be working in the Gov Tech sector at a really exciting time when the old dinosaur suppliers are starting to be displaced by innovative modern software fit for the digital age and what’s even more exciting is that some early adopter trailblazers are starting to use the new solutions and prove their worth. This pioneering of new approaches is vital to allow new solutions to become adopted in what is always a risk averse Public Sector environment.
So events, please come along and learn/share. We will continue to support the events that support (not profit) from our sector. I am finishing this on the train after having been to UKGovCamp 18 at the weekend and on my way to OneTeamGov event in Cardiff. To highlight how much of a learning experience these events are I now have an additional 2 blogs to write after #ukgc18 and probably another from todays event. Looking forward to LocalGovCamp, GovCampCymru and the always enlightening digital transformation events headed by the legendary Nick Hill (@psfnick).
Come and see us and have a chat sometime!
Different sectors and processes proving the product
As my background is Local Authorities this is the sector we are working most with at the start of our journey to process enlightenment! It is really exciting to be working with other organisations in other sectors such as Sport Wales, Livewire Warrington, Firefighters Charity and many more. Processes are everywhere and the benefit of this to us is that every business in the UK, public or private sector can benefit from our software and approach. We sell a productivity tool that speeds up process improvement, identifies benefits within models and helps with stakeholder engagement. I would reference W Edwards Deming who has some amazing quotes about improving processes and organisations:
If you can’t describe what you are doing as a process, you don’t know what you’re doing.
If you destroy the people of a company, you do not have much left.
If you do not know how to ask the right question, you discover nothing.
If you stay in this world, you will never learn another one.
Audible and lots of personal learning
I have already mentioned events and our work as sources of personal learning and continuous improvement. Another productivity tool I have come across is Audible from Amazon. To echo some of the discussions being a big company does not make you bad (although often they can be!) it is the quality of their services that defines whether they are good or bad.
I would encourage anyone who commutes or has time in the car a lot to try the Audible service for personal development. Training course are excellent but as already mentioned budgets are tight and training is reducing. I have this year managed to raise my skill levels and learned significant new skills by listening to Audible whilst in my car. Living in Torquay as I do has many benefits but key drawback is that I do spend a lot of time travelling on the average return journey this year I have completed a new book. Each book averages maybe 8-10 hours. In most peoples commutes you could be doing a book a week. There is a range of licences and even a free month trial I believe I have been on the 20 books for £120. Compare that to the cost of 20 1 day training courses and you can see the benefit. I take recommendations from all around at events, blogs and from conversations.
Give it a go there is a whole world of learning out there.
Realisation that the existing functionality of Engage can provide help with GDPR
I love working with the guys at Engage Process they truly make the best process productivity improvement tool I have ever come across. It is great to work with such a well developed product with over 15 years continuous improvement. Not only have loads of customer wishes been taken into account but the technical debt is also managed as can be demonstrated from the recent migration to HTML5.
When GDPR came along it was great to find that the product could also be used for your data audit process for GDPR compliance. Tables can be added for types of data, reasons for processing, retention schedules and even access. GDPR is a classic where Public Sector bodies should collaborate and not reinvent the wheel. We all have the same challenges lets share the load. In the spirit of this we have created a series of process maps for GDPR like Subject Access Requests and also a data audit project set up to allow you to understand where you have your data and how it is handled. These are free to all customers but only available in the HTML5 version so lets get you all migrated!
Final message a big welcome to our latest customers Rhondda Cynon Taf Council they now join Sport Wales and Carmarthenshire County Council as our growing Wales group. Three other Welsh Councils are currently undertaking the free trial and we intend to support the Wales network and build a strong community here. If you are in Wales and interested we have a 10% offer off licencing if 5 sign up by the end of March (3 are in the pipeline so not many more to go). Help your colleagues to that 10% discount just 2 more to go potentially.
2018 is going to be a cracker please have a look at our process productivity improvement tool and talk to us about our approach – it really works.