Agile roleplay a better mousetrap?

October 21, 2009 § Leave a comment

A live-catch mousetrap. Uninjured mice can be ...

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“I trust a good deal to common fame, as we all must. If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards, or pigs to sell, or can make better chairs or knives, crucibles or church organs than anybody else, you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1855

Market awareness

If nobody knows Satir Workshops exists and has designed a controlled folly workshop, no one will know that there is a path worth beating. Satir Workshops is not new. And the balancing act workshops were a congruent success. That was a gift to the agile community.

Actual needs

Using the underlying stress and coping patterns to solve problems is not only faster, the solutions also last longer and solve more problems than just the problem that led us to the underlying pattern.

Perceived needs

People who have organisational or business problems, but are not aware of the underlying stress and coping patterns, will likely not be interested in controlled folly and transformational systems thinking. Likewise, people who think mostly or only in single bottom line transactional terms are perhaps not good beat-path-through-wood prospects. Such prospects may not be aware of an inefficiency in their operations or that it is a competitive threat. They will not be willing to buy our workshop until they recognise the need. Educating prospects about the problem before we can sell them our product or service may prove not cost effective. Or they may.

Definition of “Better”

Prospects will buy our workshop only if they agree it is better. Just like “quality”, “better” means different things to different people. Agile people may be more interested in how roleplay integrates with their existing ways and whether it is state-of-the-art agile. An end-user executive probably wants to know that, for example, a more agile organisation will enable him or her to trust the ship’s crew to remain effective in stressful situations while he or she plots new courses around that reef, and that in general, more treasure can be found and carried by a faster, more agile ship.

Beating the path

Even if customers have real needs, perceive their existence, and recognise our workshop as “better”, they still may not beat a path to our door. The effort customers will expend to buy our workshop depends on their perception of its value. If they believe it offers only a one percent improvement over other, similar, workshops, they likely will not travel through the woods to get to our door. But, they may contact us if we promise to teach their own people how to set up and run sculpts to solve problems on the fly.

Our cash flow with this workshop depends on our potential customers’ buying behavior. Many purchase decisions are a consensus. For example, an end-user may decide on workshop functionality, while an IT manager decides on suitability. It is important to address all parties’ concerns. But because they speak different languages and face different issues, trying to address everyone with the same messages and communication vehicles usually satisfies no one.

A preset sculpt using 8 roles that are easily recognisable “elements” or “parts” in any organisation as a marketing message however …

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