Business Retrospectives

What is it?

It is a new method I have developed based on my consulting experience. Early implementations have shown promise. The details of the method are only available through a consulting engagement at present. Here's a high-level outline.

Business Retrospectives enable ongoing verification of benefits delivered by initiatives. They are most useful at organizations that rely too much on business cases and neglect ongoing verification.

The initiatives enrolled in Business Retrospectives may be any of the following:

  • Digital or otherwise.

  • Change/Run/Grow/Transform

  • Cost-saving, revenue protecting/enhancing, risk reducing, CX improving, etc.

What problem does it address?

How long can a business keep investing in a chat-bot (virtual assistant) development initiative without understanding how much call volume is actually being saved at its call centers? How long can they keep investing in efforts to improve customer engagement without understanding what level of engagement is needed to avoid churn?

Not very long.

The honeymoon period of unquestioned investment in all-things-digital is drawing to a close. Soon, the COO, CFO, and even investors will want to know exactly how these investments are paying off. There's a theoretical answer in the business case, but that's only a projection, a forecast. What are the actual benefits? Most organizations don't have an answer to this question. That's unsustainable.

Too much focus on output, too little on outcome

Most organizations apply nowhere near the level of effort and rigor in planning and tracking/verifying outcomes as they do for output (delivery). The table in the illustration depicts how non-digital-natives (and some unicorn+ status digital-natives too) apply a different set of standards to outputs and outcomes, to the detriment of their own business.

In the post-pandemic digital era, if you are still not thinking about how to regularly verify the impact of initiatives on business metrics, your business is at real risk of falling behind. Determining the ROI of initiatives has always been hard, but you don’t have to go that far. Business Retrospectives offer a more realistic and practical solution.

How does it work?

Business Retrospectives are designed to be truly transformative but that also means they can feel like a huge change in the beginning. Its five modules are ideally rolled-out in four stages. Please get in touch for details of each module, sample artifacts and tutorials, roles of various stakeholders, relation to OKRs, HEART metrics, etc.

What's in it for me?

Business Retrospectives nudge the whole organization towards greater focus on business outcomes. Everyone wins once they let go of old habits and get comfortable with the method.

Are you a CFO, COO, or Chief Performance Officer?

  • You will have a much better answer for how your investments are paying off.

  • You will be able to introduce a bit of accountability for initiative performance. No more free funding without evidence of performance.

  • You will be able to witness cross-silo collaboration as a result of the demands of showing evidence of performance.

  • When adopted fully, Business Retrospectives provide two metrics of portfolio and initiative performance (portfolio benefits-realization-ratio and initiative karma). You could use them to decide on new requests for funding.

Are you a Business or Product Leader?

  • You will get a level-playing field with other initiatives when funding gets tied to performance. No more worrying that the squeaky wheel gets all the grease.

  • You will no longer suffer from a deficit of measurement infrastructure to collect evidence for the success of your product or initiative.

  • You won't have to wait for financial impact to report success because you will have reliable, peer-reviewed proxy metrics.

Are you a Technology Leader?

  • You will be able to make a contribution beyond tech (delivery) outcomes and thereby get recognized as an equal partner to the business.

  • Your teams will find their work more purposeful and that will improve their motivation levels.

  • You will be able to overcome the delivery trap and escape the feature factory.

Who is using it?

Please get in touch directly if you'd like to know about early adopters. Signing-up for a pilot is easy and inexpensive. If you are a decision maker, please get in touch with me and I'll be happy to discuss how to make it work for you.