Citrix Developer Solutions Podcast

S1E12 - Podio Design for Business 2: "The Power of Asking 'Why?' in Your Designs."

April 01, 2019 Brick Bridge Consulting Season 1 Episode 12
Citrix Developer Solutions Podcast
S1E12 - Podio Design for Business 2: "The Power of Asking 'Why?' in Your Designs."
Chapters
Citrix Developer Solutions Podcast
S1E12 - Podio Design for Business 2: "The Power of Asking 'Why?' in Your Designs."
Apr 01, 2019 Season 1 Episode 12
Brick Bridge Consulting

Season 1 – Episode 12 – Podio Design for Business 2: "The Power of Asking 'Why?' in Your Designs."

Discussion Outline:

  1. Introduction – SUBSCRIBE (do it!)
  2. The importance of starting from "Why" in your Podio solution designs.
  3. 1st Principle: There are Choices and Results in your solution design
  4. 2nd Principle: Make the process the easiest path to follow
  5. 3rd Principle: Understand Management's requirement versus the End-Users' Requirements
  6. Audience Engagement: Solving Podio Gaps – Podio Developers and Power users – Submit your gaps!
  7. Outro: SUBSCRIBE and Thank you.

Follow us on social media (@PodcastPodio) to stay up to date on all Podio Podcast news.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/brickbridge)

Show Notes Transcript

Season 1 – Episode 12 – Podio Design for Business 2: "The Power of Asking 'Why?' in Your Designs."

Discussion Outline:

  1. Introduction – SUBSCRIBE (do it!)
  2. The importance of starting from "Why" in your Podio solution designs.
  3. 1st Principle: There are Choices and Results in your solution design
  4. 2nd Principle: Make the process the easiest path to follow
  5. 3rd Principle: Understand Management's requirement versus the End-Users' Requirements
  6. Audience Engagement: Solving Podio Gaps – Podio Developers and Power users – Submit your gaps!
  7. Outro: SUBSCRIBE and Thank you.

Follow us on social media (@PodcastPodio) to stay up to date on all Podio Podcast news.

Support the show (https://www.buymeacoffee.com/brickbridge)

Gil Roberts:

W elcome to the Podio Solutions Podcast season one episode twelve. I'm Gil Roberts with me today is our lead developer, Alex Shull here at Brick Bridge and our pr incipal c onsultant, Jarett Duker. This podcast is about the design and development on the Ci trix p odio platform or you can find that at P odio, p o d i o. com. We use this podcast to discuss her own experiences with podio as well as other interesting topics from the podio developer community. If you are a podio designer or developer or w orking at an agency, small business or enterprise should immediately hit that subscribe button. Uh , i f you have already. Thank you so much for your support. Lastly, before we dive into today's topic, if you have a topic, issue, solution, problem or anything else you'd like to discuss or s hare we want to know about it, hit us up on our Facebook, linkedin an d T witter, u m , s end us an email or Podio, message at p odcast@brickbridgeconsulting.com. Today's topic is part of our design, u h , b y b usiness types, a m i ni s e ries i nside of our podcast here. We 're g oing to be talking a lot about value creation and how we do that and why is s o important. So, u h , o ur topic leader today is Jarett. So I'm gonna let you go ahead and take away sir.

Jarett Duker:

All right , thanks Gil . Um , what I sort of making that the outline for this, I started thinking kind of big picture. We've got a lot of deep dives recently into the technicals of how to do things, but I just want to pose a question to the room, which is why do we do them? And this is what I'm always coming back to. Gils rolls his eyes at me a lot because I'm always asking why, why, why, but, but it's really is the truth. Why is it that we get paid says big bucks to design these podio solutions for people. Obviously there's value in it, but as a designer, very frequently I can get off track by trying to model the model, the solution or model a process that the customer is asking for. When what I really need to be doing is stepping back and asking why do they want this and a job I've interacted with this week said something really profound that was very simple to me. Which is that what the customer's asking for is not always what the customer really wants. And it got me thinking about this entire process and why we create CRMs or process management software for people. So again , why , why, why do you think it's so important to create a CRM or a management system for an organization?

Gil Roberts:

Yeah , first that comes to mind for me is always wanting to track performance. A lot of the sales career or business development career I've had has been very performance based. And you need a measuring stick to understand not only your personal performance but also performance of those that you are on your team or a team that you manage

Jarett Duker:

and spoken like the Mba that you, well , I'm going to play the seven year old in the room today. Why do you want to do that?

Gil Roberts:

Uh , well, you know , several reasons , uh , and I'll play along here. So first and foremost is, you know, do I have any weak links, right? Does somebody need additional training or support or maybe shuffle them out the door if that's what a is, is required. So

Jarett Duker:

That comes back to data metrics and performance metrics, that's a really good thing to have as one because you are trying to,

Gil Roberts:

well I want to make sure that I perform the best

Jarett Duker:

and why is that?

Gil Roberts:

Well I gotta make a decision

Jarett Duker:

right there thank you and that's what I was really looking for.

Gil Roberts:

Yup. Absolutely. And I think secondly also down the decision making process is organization. You know I need, I need to keep things nice and neat and organized so that I can find things when a customer calls in or or understand something, I'm going back to the data side about how things are related in their organization. So again that I can make better business decisions.

Jarett Duker:

and that's what it really comes down to is better decisions because it's really difficult to say that any decision is wrong. It's really on a spectrum of more right or what I like to think of as going to derive more value. We have a finite amount of time. Time is really the only resource that is truly find that everything else can be flexible. But in the time that we have, we are trying to make effective the most effective or the most efficient decisions that we can at any moment in time and every single day of our lives is just one giant chain of decisions, especially in business where we have what I like to call the, what do I do next problem, which is it's Tuesday morning and you just got into the office and nothing is directly on fire right now, which is frequently your Mondays . They're caught up and just taking care of everything that went wrong over the weekend. So now you what you have, what appears to be some open space and you could sit and watch you tube videos or you could do something that's going to drive value into your business. The question is what is it that I can do right now without a direct stimulus that I'm responding to that's going to promote activity and promote value in my business? And I think that's where CRM is or organizational process management becomes so important because it does allow you to not only organize large amounts of data to create, to do lists automated to do lists, you also derive performance metrics from it, which helps you to say, I've got all of these things that I could do. Which one is going to derive the most value? There's a finite number of emails I can send out each day to potential customers. If I've got a hundred customers, I want to send them to the people who are most likely to buy. How is it that I do that? It's a decision that I need to make ultimately.

Alex Shull:

Yeah, I think it's the, the, it's an interesting idea to really, you know , step back and analyze it from the perspective of how we approach businesses and depending on where they're starting, there's kind of a different, you know , value proposition. There are some businesses you go to and they're running everything on excel. They have a process, but it's not a rigid process and it's not a controlled process. And every time they bring someone on, there's a little harder to scale out at business to make it repeatable. And so there's a class of customers where you go in and you give him a podio system and it makes that entire process more trackable, more rigid, repeatable, more visible. And so that's one aspect. Trainable, trainable to , yeah, of course. A lot of benefits to it. Huh .

Jarett Duker:

Alex, thanks so much for saying that because it leads into my next point of what is a business process. And I was sitting in thinking about this and I started to realize that what we call a business process is just a series of highly , highly effective decisions that have been done enough times that they begin to take on some sort of structure inside of an organization in this broad spectrum of things that could happen. This is a trail that has been trod in a few times and these decisions have at least proven to be more effective than other decisions that could have been made. And that's what we're trying to do with this business process. Modeling is give people a guide to good decision making inside of their organization. Preferably based on metrics that we get through a CRM process. It's a self sustaining engine that feeds on itself. The more data we put into it, the better decisions we make, the better the process is going to get.

Alex Shull:

Yeah. I think there's another aspect to it as well, which has to do with the timeliness of data and that's kind of a modern feature for CRMs where if we know for instance about how decisions were made successfully in the past and we can do anything to automate it, for instance, to say now is the time to reach back out to this prospect now is the time to do a follow up. Those kinds of things. If you can automate any of those steps you you gain efficiencies and I think that it also put the most timely, most urgent tasks at the top of the pile for the person who's looking for the next thing to do.

Jarett Duker:

It's interesting that you mentioned automate because that was the next thing I talk about . And I actually take a step back from automation because what automation is, is simply the offloading of a task. A computer can do it, an employee can do it and that is the first automation is hiring an employee that that was the original automation is, is uh , getting someone else to get at that. You can tell them that I want you to do this. And how do you do that though? Because as soon as you bring on another decision making entity, they have the exact same problem that you have they are right back to that, what do I do next problem. And that's again where software and CRMs, process, organization software steps right in. Because just as it may have guided you into the decision to automate this process, it can now guide that automating entity and a lot of them to begin making more effective decisions. Because someone that you have to give step by step tasks to for everything. You know, you could even as basic as turned the doorknob, open the door, step through, I mean you can get that granular in instructions that you have to give low level employees. So the kind of software that we're talking about here that um, guides, decision making processes is just as valuable to them as you will offload tasks . Now they're working inside of a structure that helps them make effective decisions on your businesses behalf. And that is where we get hit the real value of larger scale enterprise solutions. Cause that's essentially what we're doing is we're creating guided human automation. Hopefully we can go the next step and create nonhuman automation, which is where we, you know, really begin to leverage processes because computers are a whole lot cheaper than people are ultimately when it comes to getting tasks done. But I think that that really is the core of what we're trying to achieve. Every time that we go into a business and create this kind of software for them, we're trying to help them make effective decisions, which is going to feed data into a database of some sort. That data becomes the catalyst for making even more effective decisions. And once these decisions are outlined outlaid into a consistent path, we can model it into process software that helps the managers or the original founders, original operators, to begin offloading those tasks both to a computer and human elements, which drives efficiency in the business. Now all of a sudden we are on the most efficient path to success, to monetary rewards, to the outcome of your nonprofit organization, whatever it happens to be. So we've come full circle and I think that is really why everyone says, Hey, I need to have software. I need to CRM. Yes, yes, you absolutely do. But do you understand why it's so important?

Gil Roberts:

Yeah. Not just because I'm supposed to have one.

Jarett Duker:

which is a lot of people, you know, they're just, it's been ground into them so often, but when you start coming back to it, it is, it's about using your time, which is again, your finite resource in the most efficient way possible, which is going to create the most positive outcome for you.

Gil Roberts:

I going to touch on a little bit about just the , the modeling, how we model process for businesses. So take some of some of this, why that we've been talking about and let's talk about how we go about it. Just like a little piece.

Jarett Duker:

Absolutely. That's a, that's next up on my points here. Whenever we approach an organization like this, they almost always have processes in place. It's impossible to accomplish anything without having processes in place. So the first question is, are these processes actually good? Are they going to promote your values, your outcomes drive value into your business? You can get some garbage in, garbage out, right? You almost certainly do, especially as Alex says, if you're living the unexamined life, if, if data is not driving or at least heavily influencing your decision making processes, there's almost certainly some efficiencies to be found there. And if you don't have dashboards or or quick reference metrics, it's very, very likely. Um, I've come up with a couple of principles that I think are really important when you are modeling processes for people that you should have these in your mind. And we know who our audience is, they are usually not working in their own business. They're working to model someone else's processes on request. And it's really easy to get caught in the trap. And actually this happened to me on a call yesterday where I was modeling a process or a product of almost finished product for a customer. And one of the axioms that we had established as six weeks ago when we were doing discovery was that the customer was going to manipulate line x. And now that I'm showing her the final product, she says, oh, I don't like that. That's way too much work. That's going to be a barrier. I built exactly what she asked for, but she didn't really understand what it was that she was asking for. And, and this is what I mentioned before, having that that a wherewithal to come in a little bit like the parent and and a have people defend what they're asking for. You absolutely have to. Otherwise you're just going to model a bad process.

Gil Roberts:

And we're not saying like tell them, Oh you don't want that. We're saying, you know , ask the question why, why do you want it ? Why should that line be this way?

Alex Shull:

Some of that can be built on misconceptions too ? Like people see me in paperwork that doesn't need to be saved in paper form or having processes that start with email, even though they could have, you know, it'd be a , you know, a form with categories, things like that. The , you know, they're just people you know, cling to , to an extent, the way they understand things to work.

Gil Roberts:

And so they aren't here in the consulting for our listeners is really to challenge them, to get them to think through what they are , are asking for

Jarett Duker:

and defend . Those asks, they need to have a compelling reason for an action to be taken or it shouldn't be taken. Because that would be considered a sub optimal decision if you're doing something for no reason.

Gil Roberts:

Right, right. Uh , we've , we've had that before like, well that's what we've always done it this way and it's one of those classic ones and it's like, so why do you always do that though? I go , you know what? We actually don't really need that at all.

Jarett Duker:

And that is something that happens very, very often because someone starts a new job and very often a process or a piece of software is already in place that requires them to take this step. And so they just start doing it because people are trained as much by the environmental factors in their business. Has anything else? I'm working in this system. The system does it this way. Therefore I learned to do my job with this step in it and it's an absolutely classic problem. Especially because like I said, very frequently managers are relying on software to guide their support . It's through a process that's the whole point of having a subordinate.

Gil Roberts:

Well , there's less middle middle managers like before software really took in a lot of this function. Middle managers were there to tell people out of turn the knobs and walk through the doors. Right? And that layer, which has been under attack since what the eighties nineties a modern computer systems being installed in businesses, that was the layer. So they have to do more with less there. So they do rely on the software to guide them through it at the lower level.

Jarett Duker:

And a a somewhat interesting side note on this topic is I've found that when I'm doing business process modeling, it's very rare that I have an or or an els in my statement. It seems like through some strange quirk of human psyche, things always come back to yes or no decisions. And this actually makes life really, really nice, even if it's just, do I do this or do I not? Um, usually we have only two decision branches on our tree, which is why we're able to make the software models so effectively. Now that said, the first principal that I have written down here is that the results of a software system, especially like a podio build software system, even if we are accounting for binary choices, most of the time we have the end result has to be flexible enough to account for the unknown unknowns that are going to go into a build. It's absolutely critical. Otherwise your build is going to be obsolete with second. You turn it over.

Gil Roberts:

Let's talk. Let's dive into that right a little bit. Cause I , I fully agree. Um , but that's, you know , that's a really hard statement to actually do that. That's part of the art, right? To this where I'd rather than a science, and a couple of examples I want to give listeners is calculating unknown unknowns. Could be just having something there that throws a well written exception, right? Like, okay, it's supposed to , the square pegs go down, this whole round pegs go down this whole, anything that doesn't fit those holes goes down in this hole. Right? And now you've, you've covered the unknown unknown so that you can , you can catch that in the data. And, and us as designers can now design those corner cases. It tends to be corner cases a lot of times , uh , or the, that they can be handled by human being at that point. Maybe it is an exceptional business case that's happening in some type of sale that's a little different than the rest of the sale . So that needs to go to a manager. So

Jarett Duker:

The problem is , is if you do get a hand in octagonal peg, you shouldn't be stopped. At any point that you just flat out can't go any further. And that's, and that's what I mean for accounting, for those unknown unknowns. Um, we, we want to guide people but not give them full stops. If they do encounter something that is not current , uh , prepared for.

Alex Shull:

The example is if you build relationships that you know are mandatory and fuels and you know, in reality the process doesn't establish those relationships until downstream or changes such that they're not required until downstream. You're flexible. Flexibility means you're able to accommodate boarding that data, those entities without, you know , having all the relationships is assumption advanced and those can be workflow changes as well. But the software system itself shouldn't be so brittle as to require a full redesign.

Gil Roberts:

And I know that one of the most annoying things about software, probably from about 1995 to 2005 10 was required fields. You know , I just remember that whole time, the way they got around that problem was just over require everything . And who has it just jammed. It just , you know , there's this Q w e r t y into a field. Right. Just so that you could get to the next screen.

Alex Shull:

I don't know how many social security numbers are one, two, three, four five. But there are a lot of them. Yeah.

Gil Roberts:

So you know it's, it's not good design that to do that you need to manage those expectations in the design itself.

Jarett Duker:

All right . The next point that I really want to talk about is how when you're modeling a process, the correct process that you want people to follow should also be the easiest process for them to follow. The easiest way to get people to do what you want is to make what you want. The easiest thing for them to do. However you need to account for all of the externalities in a process because very frequently the easiest thing is for someone just to not do something but frequently not doing something then creates more work for some other person down the line, so there that more work needs to be taken into your equation. Even if you are asking someone to do something that's a little bit harder, you have to look at the entire picture of the workflow process from beginning to end because not filing report a may be easy for me, but it creates three times as much work for my boss when he needs to file the board reports. At the end of the month and is trying to keep track of all my activity that I just haven't logged.

Gil Roberts:

Right. It is almost sometimes forced to come to you and get that information and then fill in the blanks a himself, which may or may not be correct and that that those board members who are now reading those reports are making a high level business decisions on reports that or may not be complete, truthful or both.

Jarett Duker:

Not to mention we are spending the one finite resource we have, which is time having a conversation that neither one of us really wants to have and is ultimately completely unnecessary. Had the process been modeled better.

Gil Roberts:

I uh back again, another point to that example is if they're supposed to be firing these daily and the manager comes by once a month, how I use Bob Smith going to remember the first Monday of the month and what he did.

Jarett Duker:

Absolutely. I don't even remember yesterday.

Gil Roberts:

Right. And so, so it's , it's just you, but you need those reports because the manager needs to file them and the board members need to make business decisions on.

Jarett Duker:

Absolutely. And then the final trap that I feel like podio designers fall into more , uh , more than anyone else, especially when I bring on a new junior designer and I watched their initial bills for most of the time. Almost always in fact, you're getting your process perspective from the management class, possibly even the executive management class of the organization you're talking to, their interest is in management and control. It's what they do. But people don't want to be controlled by a system. They want control over it. So it's a very delicate balancing act here to encourage them to make the decision that you want them to make without feeling like they're being micromanaged or rail roaded down a specific process. We want to always make sure that every employee, no matter how junior always feels like they have control over the software system and that it's not driving them down what they could see as is sub optimal paths at the same time, that employee may not have all of the , the the entire picture in their head, they're only concerned about themselves. And this comes back to that second point of even if it's asking them to do extra work that needs to happen because it's saving so much work at some other point that they are not directly associated with

Gil Roberts:

We do get that. I , and another great point that you bring up here is we get the customers. Well , I got to do this extra five minutes of work in my day. Right? And it's usually not a ton. And then I will that the software isn't better because now I have to do more work. But they also don't realize that, you know, through their coworkers the same 15 minutes out of their lives . So, so you have like almost like a value chain of time as a progress , uh , process progresses , uh , that that has to be respected. Hopefully you can, you can convince them this person that has a , an extra task during the day of that, during the implementation. I think that's very important. Uh , part of implementation is the allow the end user to see a big picture, but also for them to understand why it's important that they do this. And , and the value that that helps the organization going.

Jarett Duker:

Yep , absolutely. And you get massive bonus points if you can build incentives into the system for that employee. So even though you're asking them to do extra work, they can see a tangible benefit to themselves. That's when you really hit the home run and get, get, not only adoption, but people really embrace the product inside of the organization.

Gil Roberts:

And , and this management versus end users kind of ongoing battle , right? Like what management wants and they're there , they're seeing the big picture. They want to see compliance, they want to see data and metrics and all these things that end users

Jarett Duker:

because they are trying to make decisions and this is how you make good decisions.

Gil Roberts:

And then you have the end users that are like, I just want for my eight hours in and go home to my family. Right? So anything that, that , that's not typically the same viewpoint on things. So I think that trying to find how the users actually work and we've talked about this and other episodes is so key , uh , to be able to also balance that with the management's wishes of the process side of things. Fortunately or unfortunately, we always find that what's happening in the trenches , uh, when, when the actual processes being executed is very different than what management believes it's happening now. They see the same results, but they just don't understand the execution side down on a playing field.

Jarett Duker:

Thankfully that's becoming less and less true as that middle management gap that you talked about is shrinking. And so we're able to align incentives closer and closer, but people do have different jobs and that's a good thing because otherwise you just couldn't keep it all in your head at once. And that's again why we create systems like this to bring data together holistically to facilitate effective decision making.

Gil Roberts:

Well, this has been a great episode. I think really centering on the reason why , um, for those that are doing podio design work , uh , inside the upper level suites are going to really understand better the process that they're trying to model. If they challenged their client a little bit, try to get inside their head, make sure that they are thoroughly convinced of what they want right? I like, yes, I want it . Are you sure? Well, maybe not. You know, it's just they're really get in there and challenge them. And again, it's not an argument, it's just, just a really just shake that out , uh, in the process model and then realize that choices and results are , are key principle that most end users default to the easiest part of the business process and that the management and user perspectives are very different and a lot of cases. So hopefully a lot of people got a lot of value , uh , today for this episode. So , um ,

Jarett Duker:

I would even throw out one more challenge, which is if you're building something just for you, try to think of yourself in the third person when you're doing these bills and challenge your own assumptions, these principles apply equally for one person sitting in their office to a, a multinational organization, they all have the same problems.

Gil Roberts:

Fantastic. Well, I want to thank our listeners again for our, this is our 12th episode. So we're, we're very proud of how the season's going along and appreciate everyone's engagement. We are still looking for a podio gaps for our next solving video gaps episode . They've been quite popular amongst the, the listeners. So do send those via Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, or sending an email or podio message to podcast@brickbridgeconsulting.com. Next week we'll have Alex Shull dive more into the technical side. And on our second installment of our deep dive series, we'll we'll backs, uh , on under the hood. Once again, I take a look at the API and some of the things that we're doing. So until next week, thank you so much for listening and make sure you subscribe.

Jarett Duker:

Thank you very much.