Agile-Thinking Mistake #5: CEO. All companies talk about focusing on… | by Andreas Slogar | Apr, 2022

All firms discuss specializing in the shopper. However why is nobody chargeable for them?

Picture by Charles Forerunner on Unsplash

Corporations are establishing New Work and Agile Working an increasing number of vigorously. They need to increase the shopper focus of their services and products. However why is nobody specializing in the shoppers?

Corporations coping with the varied points of agile collaboration and work group face two main points: one, New Work, focuses on the way in which artistic pondering and problem-solving particularly are aligned and arranged in firms. Right here, the main focus is on how workers work together with one another and with their superiors. It additionally addresses points such because the modern design of labor: infrastructure, time laws, location, and group.

The goal of New Work is to understand workers as what they are surely: mature, autonomous, and self-responsible people. They’re able to arrange themselves, their duties, and their cooperation with their colleagues.

Agile working, because the second matter space, focuses on the cooperation’s particular group and orchestration of particular person workers in groups, worth streams, departments, and whole firms. Loads of strategies and technique compilations are related to this matter.

For instance, Scrum, Design Pondering, or SAFe are understood as synonyms for agile work. Because of this, these strategies are additionally erroneously known as agile strategies — though strategies are all the time extremely secure and inflexible constructions. However that is only a aspect observe.

Despite the fact that New Work and Agile Working merge and blur as topic areas, the 2 differ in plenty of traits. One in every of them is that agile working comes with inflation of roles and duties.

There may be, relying on the tactic, the function of scrum grasp, who is meant to assist and even coach self-organizing groups. There may be the agile launch practice engineer, who is meant to prepare whole teams of groups in a product space of software program improvement. They’re additionally supposed to offer them operational orientation.

Additionally, there are enterprise homeowners, program homeowners, and product homeowners. And that’s not the top of it! As a result of the standard roles of hierarchical group fashions are nonetheless in place: government, supervisor or division supervisor, and so forth.

The concept and the target of those (so-called) agile strategies and the roles and features created for them are simply described. They’re speculated to develop services or products that may be tailored instantly and incrementally to adjustments within the aggressive state of affairs and client habits. In doing so, the prices and the danger of unhealthy investments needs to be saved as little as doable.


The main focus of the intention, subsequently, lies on prospects, patrons, or shoppers. They buy the services or products of an organization. If we glance once more on the earlier listing of extensively used roles, not a single one seems in it that represents a buyer. The product proprietor represents the prevailing and future options of a product. The product supervisor represents a set of merchandise, and the epic proprietor represents a set of longer-term necessities for a number of merchandise.

These roles ought to all put themselves within the buyer’s perspective, interacting with them as a lot as doable. They need to determine the necessities that future markets and desires will place on merchandise.

However, isn’t the relation of buyer to product or providers from the corporate’s and buyer’s perspective an error in pondering? Right here’s somewhat anecdote:

Actual life

I just lately ordered an web flat fee from a telecommunications firm on-line. I selected a product that met my necessities and desires. However that was not the top of the interplay with the supplier. Reasonably a supply of frustration and disappointment that lasted a number of months.

First, I used to be requested to pick out an appointment on-line for a technician to come back to my condominium to activate the connection. This was confirmed to me by way of e mail. Two days later, I discovered that this appointment couldn’t be saved. The rationale given by a service hotline worker was that the date I had chosen was solely my choice, not an accessible appointment.

Because the various appointment didn’t work for me, a 3rd appointment needed to be organized. The technician’s go to was delayed by one other three weeks. On the day of the scheduled activation, after six hours of ready, I acquired a message that the technician could be late and would arrive within the afternoon. Within the night, I acquired one other message that the technician was not displaying up in any respect.

On the similar time, I used to be knowledgeable of another date by way of e mail, which was one other 4 weeks sooner or later. Since this additionally didn’t swimsuit me for skilled causes, I once more made an acceptable appointment by way of the service hotline — one other two weeks of ready time. On the day of the activation, I used to be naturally ready for all conceivable and unthinkable surprises.

When a technician abruptly known as me on my cellphone quantity and informed me that my line had now been activated, I used to be surprised, offended, and pissed off on the similar time. He confirmed to me that there was no want for a technical activation on website. And that as of late all the things labored by way of distant upkeep anyway.

Regardless of how good my web connection works, irrespective of how low the charges are or how pleasant the employees on the service cellphone was: You possibly can definitely think about my notion of the corporate’s buyer friendliness or customer-centricity. The product may be pretty much as good as it’s — if the shopper expertise is a catastrophe, the harm is incalculable.

Certainly, you too can think about that I’ll by no means ever use this firm once more. As a buyer, I’m misplaced to this supplier. However no product proprietor, enterprise proprietor, or launch practice engineer (be capable of) take discover.


The pondering error clearly lies within the deal with the financial profitability and competitiveness of the product. All the pieces has gone proper right here. The blind spot is the shopper expertise. And sure, you’ll say, there’s Buyer Journey Mapping as an applicable software! It makes it doable to depict, analyze, develop and enhance the shopper expertise and the standard of interplay between the consumer and the corporate. You’re completely proper! However what use and what impact does this software have if there’s no person chargeable for it within the function mannequin?

All groups and their contribution are measured by way of realizing product necessities and product options. So, every worker and every workforce will solely deal with a singular part of the shopper expertise. Nobody is trying on the whole lifecycle of the interplay between buyer and firm throughout all choices and providers. Particularly not in firms which have a number of hundred or thousand workers concerned.

Or has everybody simply assumed that product homeowners or product managers are chargeable for this? Silly thought, if these function homeowners don’t find out about their duties. What if their efficiency is measured solely by the profitability of a product or product group? In spite of everything, which function is measured by how optimistic, happy, or sustainable — and never simply economically environment friendly and efficient — the general buyer expertise seems to be?


This angle ought to tackle a task that has been fully missed in widespread methodologies and technique collections: the consumer expertise proprietor. CEO for brief. It’s the function’s duty to supervise all services and products from all segments and repair teams concerned in a buyer interplay and throughout the complete lifecycle.

On this context, the person facet of a product is much less related to this function and its duty than the general influence on prospects and the market. It arises from the interplay of product use and enterprise course of move. From the CEO’s perspective, the context of a buyer journey could then embody a services or products that won’t objectively meet all profitability metrics.

Nevertheless, it could be related for the interplay with the shopper as a result of she or he subjectively values this product and subsequently chooses the supply or stays loyal. It’s the sum of particular person appreciations and optimistic interplay experiences which might be related to the CEO.

With this view, the CEO integrates the person pursuits and priorities of enterprise homeowners, product homeowners, or different stakeholders. They synchronize these in order that the financial success and the group’s capacity to vary are sustainably challenged and promoted. It isn’t simply concerning the nitty-gritty of particular person merchandise, service options, and particular person targets.

The function of the CEO has one other optimistic impact: It makes it simpler to develop and set up an organizational construction of departments or worth streams that doesn’t safeguard the person pursuits and sensitivities of particular person divisions. It represents an interdisciplinary view of all enterprise capabilities within the firm together with the one perspective that’s really related: that of the consumer.

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