October 2012

Interview: Desert Mountain Golf, Arizona

  • Adrian Reed 
  • 5 min read

Those of you who read my blog regularly may remember that I recently published an article entitled “Using Data to drive Sustainability”, where I referred to the Desert Mountain Golf community.  Desert Mountain is a mid-size business located in Arizona, USA that is using analytics to drive sustainability and drive business efficiencies.

I recently had the opportunity to reach out and interview a senior leader from Desert Mountain about the business, the challenges the organisation faces and the analytics solution that has been implemented. I found this case-study really interesting because it’s a very different and innovative business facing some unique challenges.

The verbatim interview is below – enjoy!

 

 

Businesspeople having conversation

Playing the Critical Friend Through Enterprise Analysis

Successful projects start with a good and clear understanding of the organisation’s goals and objectives and over time develop a clear understanding of the project’s requirements.

 

One significant challenge with projects can be the gap between what the stakeholders ask for, what they need, and what they can afford. There can be a further gap between what the stakeholder expects and what is actually delivered. Good quality business analysis helps to plug this gap.

 

Although the discipline of business analysis is young, it isn’t new. Requirements engineering is older still—yet history is still littered with examples of expensive IT project failures and projects where the users haven’t received what they expected. How can this be? And how can these types of project failure be avoided?

 

Green sink with "resource" written at the bottom. A visual metaphor for conservation of resources.

Using data to drive sustainability

Environmental sustainability is a dilemma for today’s organisations and consumers.  Organisations generally want to maximise profits—but there’s increasing attention and interest into corporate responsibility and sustainability.  Consumers too, are considering environmental and ethical decisions when making purchasing decisions.  However, with each of us making hundreds of micro-decisions each day in our business lives, what practical steps can be taken to keep sustainability on the radar?

 

Green sink with "resource" written at the bottom. A visual metaphor for conservation of resources.

Sustainability is a consideration for all organisations

Appropriate application of “Lean” philosophies and techniques can pay dividends in this area. A key guiding principle of the Lean philosophy is to focus, study and understand demand and reduce waste.  In sustainability terms, this can be translated into understanding what is consumed during the production of the goods or services that your organisation offers, and whether that consumption could be reduced.  Clearly, particular attention should be paid to the consumption of scarce resources (such as water, oil, electricity etc), or processes which may cause additional environmental or social issues–for example, environmental pollution caused by the processing (burning) of fossil fuels.

 

Three areas to focus on are:

Dictionary definition of success on white page

Are SMART Goals Smart Enough?

A key skill within business analysis is the ability to define and set goals and objectives. It might not always be referred to as “goal setting,” but every time you help the business determine the business value that would be achieved for a particular initiative, you’re really helping them to define goals and objectives. When defining acceptance criteria and non-functional requirements, you’re also setting quantifiable objectives that a solution should meet.

 

A common way of approaching business and project goal setting is to use the SMART technique. This technique encourages the setting of goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bounded. The SMART approach has many uses within projects and beyond. But is SMART enough?

 

Dictionary definition of success on white page

How do you define success in projects?

I was recently fortunate to attend a useful and inspirational training course where I was introduced to a new technique (and acronym) for goal setting. This technique, designed for setting personal goals and objectives, is designed to be used in coaching. However, with some subtle adjustments, it works equally well in a project or business environment.

 

The acronym is PECSAW, which stands for:

 

Businesswoman in a new environment

Get Up to Speed in a New Business Domain: 5 Ideas That Really Work

I’m pleased to say that my most recent blog article has been published on “Bridging-the-gap.com”, where I have contributed as a guest author. I’d love to hear what you think, so please take a look and add a comment on the site.   Excerpt: “While core business analysis techniques work irrespective of the industry or organisation… 

A sign that says "Danger - slippery slope"

Care about your business? Then care about your projects!

  • Adrian Reed 
  • 3 min read

Few would argue that in today’s competitive environment, organizations need to innovate to stay alive.  We no longer live in an environment where we can ‘switch the machines to auto and take five’. This innovation inevitably involves progressing and running with innovative projects.   The problem comes when organizations take less care over the projects…