Jessica and Darren

Jennifer Wendling from Fuzed Notions and Darren Jorgensen with his partner from Molly Media Studios joined me last Friday for warm eats and dialogue at the 2nd ever Business Agility Café. It was as fun as productive since Jennifer and Darren know each other so well. Darren was beaming at how reducing multitasking is helping Molly Media get more stuff done, something he learned about at the Business Agility workshop a couple of weeks ago.

Topics we covered:

  1. From Jennifer: how to decrease time from completing projects to getting invoices out? Some of Jennifer’s projects take one or even two months before the invoice goes out, creating cash flow issues and awkwardness asking for payments well after the project is done. We quickly recognized that there are many steps in the process, with Jen involved in most of them, leading to delays. I left Jen with the task of documenting the workflow from project completion to invoice sent to see visually what is happening and how long each step takes. A favourite quote of mine is you can’t manage what you can’t see.
  2. From Darren: using a task board for video production projects. We discussed adding checklists for each status of a task, so that a task cannot move from one status to another. Looking forward to seeing photos!
  3. From Darren: how to find a sustainable pace – too much work leading to burnout. Darren’s new studio will be ready in then new year (yay!) making it less tempting to do work from home (when the equipment isn’t there). I talked about how time boxes and Scrum can create a rhythm and flow that provides the confidence to know when things will get done, lessening the need to work around the clock due to worry about uncertainty.
  4. From Darren and Jennifer: how to reduce feast or famine cycles. Jennifer made some excellent points about nurturing relationships on an ongoing basis, keeping in contact with people so they think of you when a need for your services arises. Most of all Jennifer drove home the need for a marketing plan, so these activities align with company goals and are baked into the work plan instead of being starved for time. Good points that I took home with me!

Having done two of these cafés now, in the spirit of inspect and adapt, I’m planning to make the following improvements for future cafés:

  1. At the start, give returning participants a brief chance to update others on their experiments since the last café. Participants can use the Business Agility group to provide more-indepth information if they want to.
  2. Provide concept maps for people to jot down information as it’s discussed. Concept maps are a visual tool useful for capturing small bits of information in relation to each other. Writing down helps to retain learned information.
  3. Record and publish a video summary of each topic discussed, with new insights gained and planned next steps.
  4. Use the last 10 minutes to reflect on what we learned, the format and next steps for each participant.

Would you like to join us for the next Business Agility Café? Join the Business Agility group to be notified when the next one will be scheduled in the new year. It’s a low-volume email list for sharing and supporting each other in our experiments to increase value for our clients, our teams, ourselves and the world. What more reasons do you need? 🙂