My Takeaways from NYT Amazon Controversy

The New York Times article titled “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big
Ideas in a Bruising Workplace” ignited a lot of debate over the weekend. One very interesting response came in the form of a rebuttal issued by an current Amazon employee, Nick Ciubotariu, who says the Times story is a “horribly misinformed piece of “journalism”.”

But my takeaways are not about the controversy itself but to what the debate says about managing a large talented workforce in the Tech industry.

My Post on Medium

Transitioning Matrix to Team Organization Structure

When our team grew our matrix structure met significant challenges. Instead of adding more functional managers or additional management layers I decided to extend management responsibilities horizontally. We pulled together comprehensive cross-functional teams, assigned teams to the same projects, and measured team performance (over individual performance). Within 3 months we witnessed a measurable improvement in quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction.

The organizational structure guides the operation of day to day activities. It is one of the pillars of organization design. It represents the formal guidelines around communication and collaboration.

mckinsey 7s model organization design
McKinsey 7s Model of Organization Design

This article is to share my recent experience and observations, and the conclusions they’ve led me to.

Read More

Poll – Sales Timeline for Web Development Projects

What is the average sales cycle time for enterprise web development projects ($50K+)?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

This is a question I often have, how long should a sales cycle be?

It ofcourse depends on what kind of project, what kind of development, whether a potential client is following RFP process and needs to present to a board or is a sole proprietor who deals in handshakes…

Regardless, over the long haul, some average will emerge. If you know your average sales cycle time please add your response. Thanks!

Business Model for the Professional Service Firm

This post is part of the series: Managing the Professional Service Firm.

Managers of professional service firms face many challenges. This series attempts to provide a helpful collection of resources, concepts, and frameworks for understanding and addressing them.

The business model answers the question, “How do we create value for our customers and our firm?”

Value = BenefitsCosts

The purpose of this article is to canvas the the business model of the professional service firm. This method identifies the key partners, activities, resources, value propositions, customer relationships, channels, customer segments, cost structures, and revenue streams that make up the business model in a concise and easy to understand method.

The business model canvas — as opposed to the traditional, intricate business plan — helps organizations conduct structured, tangible, and strategic conversations around new businesses or existing ones. Leading global companies like GE, P&G, and Nestlé use the canvas to manage strategy or create new growth engines, while start-ups use it in their search for the right business model. The canvas’s main objective is to help companies move beyond product-centric thinking and towards business model thinking.
Alexander Osterwalder, HBR

The business model canvas helps us to define the strategy. Picking markets, target clients, differentiators and services based on a clear and easily understood strategy is invaluable in getting everyone in the firm headed in the right direction. Without a well-conceived strategy everything else suffers.

Definition: The Professional Service Firm (PSF)

One of my favorite reads on professional service is by David Maister; the following definitions are from his book Managing the Professional Service Firm:

A professional service firm (PSF) is a firm in which professional skills form the basis of its offering to customers. Examples of such PSFs are lawyers, consultants and IT service firms.

Two aspects of professional work create the special management challenges of PSFs:

  • Customization. Professional services require a high degree of customization, so that approaches from the industrial or mass consumer sectors, based on the standardization, supervision and marketing of repetitive tasks and products are difficult to apply.
  • Client contact. Most professional services have a strong component of face-to-face interaction with the client.

In order to meet these challenges, a professional service firm must hire and retain highly skilled individuals, the firm’s talents. This means that the PSF must actively compete in two markets simultaneously: the product market for its services, and the factor market for its productive resources, the professional work force.

David Maister, Managing the Professional Service Firm

Modeling the Professional Service Firm

The following is a breakdown of the professional service firm into the business model canvas components. There are distinct differences between a service firm and other business models like manufacturing. This article highlights these differences and offers some tips.

Business Model Canvas of the Professional Service Firm

Read More