What does it mean to create value for your customers and stakeholders?
Many of us are already familiar with the concept of delivering value for our business partners, customers or stakeholders by successfully delivering what was promised on time, on budget and in scope, with minimal defects.
Yet what does it mean to create value and how does it differ from delivering value?
This is the million dollar question, especially since we live in a society where the ability to create value can be equally, if not more important in some cases, than delivering value.
Often associated with business agility and product development, creating value is about providing MORE to your customers or stakeholders, beyond what was expected or what they would have known to request. People don’t know, what they don’t know.
As professionals, it’s the ability to use expertise, skills or knowledge that our customers or stakeholders, may not possess, to create an outcome that delivers more than expected.
Creating value is often about showing others where the low-hanging opportunities exist, or protecting interests one may not realize is in jeopardy within the scope of what is already being requested.
Like in this real example below:
Recently, a customer required our team to build an on-line event registration portal for a highly anticipated global conference where users could select multiple break out sessions as well as view the event via a live stream feed all week long.
While the scope of work and requirements felt like business as usual for our Scrum Team, just days before the event, one of our dev team members created value when he called out a serious potential threat, unseen by anyone else.
The dev team member noted that the hosting platform which currently housed the registration site for the event, had been recently experiencing a higher than normal amount of outages. While this had not posed serious risk to those registering for the event, outages the week of a live event could have detrimental impacts for hosting a live feed via the site.
After discussing it as a team, it was determined the risks were far too great to keep it as is and instead, we evaluated the options of re-directing the online event to a new, more secure hosting site.
In weighing the risks of change, we also realized the inconvenience of notifying attendees of a new online location would be much more manageable than the reputational damage that could come with major technological disruptions the week of the event.
The awareness of imminent risks and its potential solutions were discussed and evaluated based on our team’s subject matter expertise and domain knowledge and considered before presenting this to the Product Owner which allowed our team to create unexpected value by protecting interests our customer wouldn’t have known was a vulnerability to begin with.
We moved forward on creating the new site mock up, updated messaging to attendees and redirect communications on the previous site, and then shared it with the Product Owner as a solution to an imminent problem, before pulling the trigger.
The Product Owner was moved beyond words and could not thank our team enough for having been proactive in offering a solution which created value vs. just delivering value.
This was a case where the Product Owner couldn’t have known to look out for this potential risk and instead had to rely on the forward thinking actions of her team.
Wouldn’t you know the day of the big event, outages were reported for hours on the original platform?
We call this Creating Value and dodging a bullet at the same time!
Creating value for your customers and stakeholders can come in any of the below forms:
- increasing profits
- avoiding or reducing risks
- cutting costs without cutting quality
- simplification of a complicated processes
- providing faster results
- making business easier
The focal point of this article is that creating value equals delivering what was promised PLUS MORE for your customers and stakeholders especially when its benefits can be seen, felt or used immediately.
Value is the type of thing that doesn’t need convincing. It’s either valuable or not.
When was the last time you created value for your business partners, customers or stakeholders? Please share below.