Surviving & Thriving through the Crisis ​- Notes from 26 March

The output from a Peer Group Round Table  for CEOs, CTOs, & CPOs on 26 March 2020​

After the initial rush of getting people laptops, and feeling the pain of lockdown, and realizing your customers are suddenly virtual. What do your product and technology functions need to do in the next 4-12 weeks to support your businesses immediately, and post-crisis?

We have been running a weekly roundtable to capture tips, ideas, actions that we can put in place, to stay on top. To help you not just survive but thrive, at this time.

Below is the latest output from these sessions, which we are excited to share with you.

If you wish to join the next roundtable discussion, please click here.

Firstly we need to align with the latest government action that is being taken. See all the latest news and actions the UK government is taking here, and in the USA government here.

Here are the areas we have considered for these discussions.

Here are some of the lessons we are learning from business leaders.

Situation

  • Most of the Western World is in lockdown​. UK 1.5m people need to be home for 3 months​. Most businesses are running virtual​.
  • Assumptions of customer personas are no longer right​. Markets and people’s habits have changed. Presenteeism no longer works​.
  • Many Consultants are used to remote working – but operations at clients are not​. Many of us are new to this and are being challenged to divide work/life balance​. e.g. Exercise / Stretching etc​
  • Stages​
    • Panic – going virtual now​
    • Cancel everything – lay people off​
    • Plug the revenue gap
    • Imagination – what CAN we do with what we’ve got?​
    • Be more agile – lean and build quick​
  • Investors are relooking at their strategies​

Problems

  • Keeping connected​, here are examples of ways for your team to stay more connected.
    • Using Trello for actions​
    • Monday – hold a planning session
    • Daily meetings for 15 minutes – everyone shares what did I do yesterday, what am I doing today, is there anything blocking my way forward?
    • Friday – review progress, record any lessons learned and complete a demo of the product
    • Review your product backlog weekly
    • Management update meeting​ for stakeholders and anyone not involved in regular projects.
    • Keep an open chat channel. via for example Slack, WhatsApp, Teams
  • Team virtual coffee together – no biz chat!​
    • Virtual ‘drop-ins’ – anyone ​using Zoom
    • Isofest – isolation + fest – time for a shared coffee / drink
    • Fun Slack channels – Rate my lunch

Implications

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate!​ We need to increase our time spent planning, collaborating and prioritising.
  • Go back to basics​. For example, understanding our customer journies. Review our product strategy. How can we help to frame opportunities, for example using ANSOF matrix? Maximise and scale existing products​.
  • Dial-up and dial down products quickly​. Using leaner sprints, move from 2 weeks sprints to weekly sprints, and daily pivots. Also, consider what your product usage was before the lockdown and after the lockdown. Identify trends.
  • How to do products virtually​. Consider the power of interactions. e.g. Events go virtual now, we need to learn to train people online and keep a strong focus on team spirit.

Needs

  • Revisit your strategy. Identify what is tactical, that you need now to survive the next 6 months, and what is strategic that will keep you in line with the way the world is changing.
  • Use the quite time. Do upgrades and develop rapid MVP’s, that you can take to market.
  • Reshape your talent. What part-time/virtual staff can you now access? How can we use this time to skill-up and train your people and others? Identify what opportunities there are to creatively retain talent, for example, are there staff ready to pivot their role for example from customer service to sales. Is this is a time for knowledge sharing? Identify those that know a lot and can train others, reducing your key man dependencies
  • Talk to your audience. Access your thought leadership and increase your following. Involve customers in rapid changes, and contribute to the virus efforts for social responsibility and product applications.

Keeping business afloat

Product

  • Rapid MVP​. Listen to your customers, and notice the changing personas. Identify the tipping points. How does the current situation accelerate things now? For example, retail shopping going virtual. Get really clear on your revenue model and don’t be afraid of ‘sticky tape and glue’​ approaches to get stuff done, in days vs. months.
  • Dial-up and dial down​ your product delivery. Regularly reviewing and prioritising the backlog. Consider how you can rapidly scale, using cloud services like Zoom.
  • Pricing for a predictable revenue model. For example, moving to monthly flat rate recurring pricing to provide a particular product or service, based on for example specific outcomes/outputs.

Technology

  • Risk Management. Daily triage to deal with changing priorities​. What can you say “no, not now” to​, review backlog and mitigate actions?
  • Resource Management. Repurpose existing capabilities​. Move from full-time to fractional staff​, focus on teamwork​, people are craving connection.
  • Examine Technology Architecture​. What’s scalable​. What’s easy to pivot​. How can you plug existing tools together quickly for new value propositions for customers?

Customers will gravitate towards businesses that show leadership in these difficult times. It will show your resilience and willingness to help, when others might be shying away. At the end of the day, a business is in business to provide a product or service that gives customers something that is better than what they had before.

What are your strategies? What are you doing in this changing world, or what help do you need? Let us know right now, in the comments field below.

Scaleup Guys helps business owners to avoid growth traps, so they can successfully scale digital products.

Download our thought piece on the 8 scale-up growth traps and other resources at ​ www.ScaleUpGuys.com/shop

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