Last week, we discussed how better data and inbound marketing can increase your team’s efficiency. However, we never explored ways to initiate and maintain efficiency itself. Without efficiency, the black box will take up too much of your valuable time before validating a sales opportunity. If you want the black box to generate the most results in the smallest amount of time, then efficiency is your key. By analyzing AGILE, Lean, and Six Sigma methodologies, we can demonstrate some simple ways to improve and maintain your efficiency.
AGILE is a management style that focuses on continuous improvement, team input and scope flexibility. The cornerstone of AGILE’s method is the methodologies that adhere to continuous improvement; some methodologies include Lean and Six Sigma, which we’ve covered last month. These methodologies adhere to the 12 AGILE Principles, which focuses on people, communications, the product, and flexibility. The 12 AGILE Principles are:
- Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
- Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
- Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
- Working software is the primary measure of progress.
- Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
- Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
- Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
- The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
- At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
As you can see, trying to implement all 12 AGILE principles can become quite difficult if your efficiency isn’t refined and maintained properly. The important principles that we’d like to highlight are principles #4, #5, #9, #10 and #12. Even those 5 principles can be a bit too much to handle, but as we explore Lean and Six Sigma, we can demonstrate that efficiency can be manageable if done correctly.
Lean and Six Sigma on Efficiency
Last month, we discussed how Lean and Six Sigma can help improve efficiency. Well, we’re going to stray away from that vague statement and explain how it all works. Lean and Six Sigma naturally help increase efficiency due to the structure of each methodology. For Lean, efficiency increases because the fundamentals of Lean’s methodology revolve around improving workflow by minimizing waste. Through minimizing waste, efficiency improves because there’s less room for error and wasted time on poor leads. This is an example of AGILE principle #10; by reducing waste, we simplifying the process, thus creating room for more sales opportunities. For Six Sigma, efficiency improves as we follow its DMAIC model, specifically the A (Analyze), I (Improve), and C (Control) processes. As we analyze the process, we fulfill AGILE principles #9 and #12 by reflecting on the current process’ effectiveness, then improve upon it with a solution(s). As we control the solutions that improve results, efficiency is maintained through collaboration, problem-solving, and execution of the improved process.
Efficiency is crucial for maximum optimization of the sales black box. By focusing on the Lean and Six Sigma methodologies, we can analyze their effectiveness on increasing and maintaining efficiency. Through using these methodologies, we uphold AGILE principles that create a work environment that works collaboratively to increase efficiency; Lean and Six Sigma work together to uphold AGILE’s ideal methodology: continuous improvement, team input, and scope flexibility. Once your sales team has established and maintained an efficient workflow, it’ll be much easier to maximize the output of your black box by increasing the speed of the process. In our next blog post, we’ll illustrate how to increase sales speed through the implication of technology, so be sure to check back soon for more useful sales techniques to improve your black box.