Thursday, February 27, 2014

The AppsJack Business Services Virtuous Cycle

By building a network and community of employees mixed with small businesses, employees who are currently not very empowered are able to strategize with these small businesses who are expert about selling value and change to businesses.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Vision of AppsJack Business Services Communities

I'm really excited right now: I had a great (first) meeting last night for the AppsJack Business Services Meetups that I'm putting together with a few associates.  I'd like this to be a big deal and feel like it has the potential to be and do just that.  

We met at the Pumphouse Bellevue and had a great time.  We covered many topics and had fun, food, and big beers.  I'm super pumped for what's in front of us and wanted to share with you a few details and thoughts on what this is all about and where we're headed.....

Communications.  We'll be good at outreach and communications
We'll stay in touch with event attendees and our networks through email, phones, F:F, blogs, events, lunches, etc.

Meet.  Meetings will continue and improve
We'll keep holding monthly events/meetings/meetups (I need a name, I guess) and: feature a business, have a featured topic, and perhaps alternate venues. We'll mix it up and keep it interesting but we'll add dynamic elements.  We'll get to know and bring the venue owners into the mix to add to the overall value.  We'll provide free beer or something like that to get people in the door.

Services.  We'll start providing services to help people sell
We'll develop a service that allows people to aggregate experience (projects) from various persons and businesses in their network to make a branded portfolio for a single person that makes them look larger than they may be alone.  

Governance.  We'll track how the network grows
We'll keep track of how people are included and introduced into the network to give credit to good additions and growth.

Identity.  "Repping" will be a core concept of the network
We'll flesh out the "rep and refer" concepts.  People can rep themselves or something else but they can only rep a single thing per event.  People need to be focused and intentional, not wavering.   

Community support and purpose.  It'll be focused while helping recruits, startups and established people
We'll ensure that the community stays focused about ONLY BUSINESS SERVICES.  
  • For employees.  We'll help employees who are looking for something else an ability to become owners and partners in other businesses and transition from employee to employer.  We'll help these people looking for something  else select a single project or capability that's been a success for them and mature that into something that is salable and scalable.  We'll transition services into products.  
  • For startups and small businesses.  We'll help small businesses and startups grow by capitalizing on and delivering services to leads known by recruits. 
  • For graduates.  For people who have "made it" and are just looking to help.
We'll clearly define these terms and roles of recruit, startup, and graduates and make this system sing.  We'll make the risk for recruits low and increase opportunities for startups and recruits. 

Safe and legal.  There will be incentives and a legal framework available
We'll provide a legal structure to support collaboration and operations, repositories for the artifacts as well as incentives and compensation for certain relationships, milestones and acts.

We'll grow the network.

We'd really love for you to participate in this community and give us your thoughts on how it can flourish and grow.  Also, let us know what you think this kind of communicate could do or be FOR YOU and how it can add the most value to people like yourself and those you know.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Top 4 Parameters for Thinking about and Planning Your PMO

Thoughts on building a structure and plan to manage organizational resources and work at the aggregate.
I attended a great talk last night from Puget Sound Project Management Institute (PMI) called the PMO Roundtable and I'd like to share some of the insights with you.  At the talk, people agreed that PMOs are hard to create, many people struggle with the same basic organizational and cultural tensions, and that there are some basic and shared parameters of planning, resources, and work that can help us think about solving these challenges as we apply them to our own business domain or work problem.

There are five main parameters that I've identified that can help our thinking of PMOs:

Parameter #1 - Resources are of discrete types and have statuses
 Although it all boils down to "they're humans" we can simplify the problem by thinking of the people as: utilized, available, expert, etc. to help  us sort out how to fit people into slots.  Availability is another property of the resource that can of course help us with planning.  Of course the time dimension of WHEN people are of a specific type is critical to us as well.  Time is a constant dimension in systems like this that must be considered throughout the planning process.

Parameter #2 - Resources are consumed or utilized in discrete ways, some more effective than others
Resources, like their name applies are value to us if utilized properly.  There's good ways to use resources (putting them on the right tasks, treating them well) and there are poor ways to use resources (being abusive, overusing them, being mean, forceful, coercive, etc.)  We want to respect our resources but they're here for some kind of compensation and we need to get value out of them in exchange.  The matrix of resource type to preferred and dis-preferred utilization types is interesting for our planning purposes.

Parameter #3 - We can think of the work separately from the resources but need to put them together and manage the connections to add value to the system
It's nice to be able to separate the work and project plan from the actual resources.  Some people in the roundtable were talking about finding your "critical resource" (a concept borrowed from Critical Chain and Theory of Constraints) and then planning the project around them.  I feel like this method, however, is problematic and puts too much pressure on "hero individuals" rather than the team or collective.  I prefer approaches that get the team, collectively, to estimate their work and have leaders such as that critical resource work on making the others faster or more confident and build skills.

Parameter #4 - Systems, portfolios, programs, projects, and resources have slack and utilization properties; unplanned or unused slack is waste and cost
Someone in the talk last night said that you WANT slack in your project.  I couldn't understand this.  I can see how it is nice to have people free to apply to the project and critical tasks but at the aggregate slack is waste if not applied to the project.  Managing the slack is a key issue in planning one or more projects.

What do you think about these parameters?  Do they make sense?  Are there others?  Please discuss below!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A little more info on the AppsJack Business Services Meetup I'm hosting this Tuesday Evening (and on the 4th Tuesday of every month, recurring)

Hi Everyone, 

I wanted to give you a little more context on this meetup I'm organizing on the 4th Tuesday of every month and my thinking behind it.  I'd love to see you there and get your input on the concept as well.

I've been involved in several "lead sharing" and networking groups over the years and I typically find that they lack focus and direction.  I want to fix that:  I've formed and led many effective teams and groups inside of corporations and the federal government and want to apply that same capability to help us do well in the Northwest market.  I want to work with you on growing this effort.

My goal is to form a team focused on selling quality services to BUSINESSES (rather than consumers, families, etc.) and then within that, sub-organizing into "practice areas" by vertical (healthcare, tech, small biz, etc.) and skill or capability (legal, tech, mgmt consulting, finance, etc.). The objective is to expand our mutual reach, capabilities, opportunities, and bottom lines through teamwork, collaboration, and coordination.

Please provide your feedback, input, or ideas; I look forward to seeing you participate in this exciting new community.  

Thank you.  

Best regards,

Eric Veal