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Improving “Best Practices”

Although I know we need to employ “Best Practices” when possible, I have always hated that tow-word phrase.  Why?  Well how the heck can something be a “best practice” – if its the best then how could it ever be beaten…it is like the word impossible, man I hate that word too.

Anyway – a recent post from Signal vs. Noise shed some light on how this can be a very poor idea, to always follow these so-called best practices.  It lends itself to improving “best practices” and breaking the norm, or at least refactoring it.

The post is called “How ‘The Fighter’ shot 35 days worth of fight scenes in only three days” and goes on to tell the story of the recent movie the fighter and how they basically took 3 days and held “actual” fights to record the ring scenes with multiple cameras.  They said:

“…how all the fight scenes were filmed with an actual HBO fight crew. He mentions that going this route allowed them to shoot these scenes in a fraction of the time it usually takes.”

This makes total sense – I mean, why do in 35 days (which is how long a ‘normal’ Hollywood fight scene takes) and drag it out…HBO only has one chance to record the fight scenes they put on their network and people seem to enjoy it.

How does this relate to technology?

Its a perfect match in my mind…there are absolutely things we need to do each time we build a site, or market a product or talk to a customer.  Those are tried and true – but what are the things we are doing which seem laborious and how can we find matches in the ecosystem which can improve our process and look to other arenas for inspiration?

The one motto I try to look to when I am trying to decide which ‘way’ is better than another…is one of simplicity – the simple solution, in my opinion, is often times best solution.  Less moving parts will be less burden and cause less maintenance than a complicated series of ‘moving parts’ and processes.

Take a look around – what can you simplify?  How many wheels are you greasing each day?  How can you fix them?

It’s time for Fed-Ex to up their game

"The note" from Fed-Ex requiring a signature.

There is no worse feeling in the world when you are expecting a package and you see the note on the door when you get home.  You’ve been tracking the package for days and then it was here – but couldn’t be left because of a needed signature.

I found out around lunch because Fed-Ex sent me an email that they had tried to deliver, but couldn’t.  It had a whole bunch of text to tell me that they tried to deliver – but because no one was home to sign…no dice.

The worst part is I forgot to sign the note and left for work without leaving it for the Fed-Ex driver.  But luckily, I did remember on my way – so I txt’d my wife and asked her if she could please sign the note and put it out for the Fed-Ex driver.

I didn’t ask if she had done it, I knew she did – but you can imaging my surprise when I received the same email message again on day 2.  The message – no delivery, signature required.  Really…I wasn’t happy – but I held judgement until I could figure out what was up.  Here is what I found.

Day two was a strike out too

As you can see I had two notes.  Of course – the new note was on the outside of the screen…the old note was safely behind…with the screen door locked.

We also received a spirited voicemail message from the Fed-Ex driver – it was packed with a lot of guilt and similar threats I have given to each of my 3 kids…

I guess I cannot “blame” Fed-Ex,but would like to ask them to update the way/process they have for getting packages from A->B.

My thoughts – I have to appreciate the emails I received.  Albeit it frustrating to get those types of messages…it is communication and any communication is good.

My hope, dream, request is this.  Fed-Ex?  Can you please email me the night before the delivery and tell you plan to deliver the package the next day?  Oh, and if I’m not able to be home – here is a document to attach to the door and we’ll drop it off.  Please don’t waste time and gas coming 3 days in a row.  Be proactive, be innovative – help me out.

Conclusion

We all have to get a grip on what the customer wants.  There was a time when getting package to the customer in a few days was good enough.  But I just wanted my speakers – I would have signed the document Monday night if they had given me an opportunity.  I could have been enjoying the speakers Tuesday night.  But I didn’t know they were “in transit” until too late.  So I end up with speakers Thursday, they are great – but late.  :)

If your a innovation ‘guy’ you need to #twist

I’ve been tuned into This Week In Start-ups #TWIST since the beginning.  But if you have not checked it out yet – @Jason is epic in a great talk he did at Penn State.

Check it out.  And let #TWIST know they are killing it.

i = Future Of Newspapers = Think, Know, Understand, and Feel – /Message

Interesting concept:

The paper’s team worked with media consultancy Innovation to come up with a new way to organise the product. “Our feeling was,” said Figueiredo, who came on board at an early stage, moving from Diário Económico, “that people were not concerned about traditional sections any more.

i = Future Of Newspapers = Think, Know, Understand, and Feel – /Message.

Cut Customer Service?

Cut Customer Service? You’ll Lose Customers – Scott Anthony – HarvardBusiness.org.

Another great articleby Scott Anthony.

I’ve clearly stated my perspective that the worst thing companies can do in the Great disruption is to stop investing in innovation. Companies might think that innovation and survival are discrete choices. They are not. Companies that stop innovating are sowing the seeds of their own destruction.

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