Schlagwort-Archive: Design

Putting action into words

The life cycle of different companies follows similar patterns: R&D, Procurement, Production, Sales, After Sales, and Cross Functions. Differences arise in the deliverables, procedures, the extent of the description, the assignment to internal org units or external partners, and, for instances, the names of the steps. In ANY case, the firms cannot avoid executing the business’s tasks to provide the deliverables offered. The following activities take place in all areas and cover most of the tasks: analyze, design, produce, validate, deploy, run, change/improve.

The details are described with related verbs. A work step is expressed as follows: Object + Verb (e.g., install engine; fill file). Afterwards the are assigned to a job. To make it easier for you to develop business processes, get inspired by the following more than 300 suggestions (derived from The Complete Business Process Handbook; by Rosing et al.).

  • Analyze
    As long as we do not do something instinctively and spontaneously, we start examining the initial situation. For this, we look at the whole or parts of it. With the mechanistic worldview of the last four hundred years, the whole was continuously broken down into its parts, which were then examined independently of each other – even if the vital connections got lost in the process. As a result, today, we still have nerds who look at ever smaller sections without considering the context and without obtaining a living study object.
    Verbs of the examination are assembled under the term analyze, e.g.
    ascertain, capture, categorize, check, clarify, classify, collect, compile, consider, count, diagnose, direct, discover, divide, elicit, explore, find out, forecast, hold, identify, inquire, investigate, learn, lookahead, lookback, observe, predict, probe, question, recognize, research, search, structure, study, teach, think, understand.
  • Design
    The conscious design of something includes all its components, structure and interaction, and the description of its essential properties. The complexity of the results and the need to share them with others require documentation as a list, drawing, plan, or other multimedia evidence eventually. That way, waste of resources due to double work and unnecessary attempts and errors will be avoided. With the example of a job description, the elements become visible: e.g., objectives, content, tasks, competencies, and relations to other jobs.
    The verbs of composition in the broadest sense are found under the generic term design, e.g.
    arrange, begin, characterize, choose, classify, cluster, compare, compose, conceive, construct, convene, describe, design, develop, devise, draft, elaborate, enumerate, format, formulate, found, group, indicate, list, mindmap, negotiate, obtain, organize, outline, plan, prepare, project, propose, scribble, structure, systematize, target, unify, visualize.
  • Produce
    When an object is manufactured, one or many parts are made and assembled – ideally based on a drasft (see above). To do this, raw materials, parts, and components are manufactured and assembled into a product. For natural products (such as grains, fruits, fish), products are grown, tended, and eventually harvested. The tasks required to do this can be assigned internally or externally.
    The verbs of production are grouped below the generic term produce, e.g.
    arouse, assemble, breed, build, bundle, code, combine, configure, constitute, coordinate, cope with, create, define, delete, discuss, distribute, do, drive, drive-in, elevate, enact, enlarge, erect, evoke, fabricate, fill, finalize, gather, grind, handle, ignite, increase, insure, layout, lead, manufacture, operate, order, packing, paint, perform, polish, post-process, prepare, purchase, scan, sell, translate, trigger, undertake.
  • Validate
    Evaluating situations, facts, results, and people provide an assessment of their quality – from gut feeling to likes to elaborate certification. The evaluators can be suppliers, purchasers, or neutral third parties. The valuations influence the satisfaction or, in extreme cases, lead to the rejection of the acceptance. They mainly take place in milestones, which have a decisive influence on the work progress.
    All types of evaluation can be found under the generic term validate, e.g.
    accept, analyze, appraise, appreciate, assess, audit, censor, check, classify, confirm, control, criticize, estimate, examine, explore, find, gauge, grade, inspect, interpret, judge, measure, monitor, pattern, pilot, predict, prioritize, probe, quantify, rank, recalculate, recommend, recount, reevaluate, reflect, reject, review, sample, test, verify, view, weigh.
  • Deploy
    The ultimate result is delivered, assembled, or provided at specific places. This step marks the end of manufacturing. Sometimes the products must be delivered to a particular place and set up for use. The services are prepared to the extent that they can be performed at any time.
    Under the generic term making deploy, corresponding verbs can be found, e.g.
    achieve, activate, allocate, apply, assimilate, breakup, bring, buildup, carry, cause, chain, close, complete, convey, deliver, deposit, employ, enclose, export, furnish, generate, implement, initiate, instigate, integrate, lay down, leave over, lineup, load, migrate, offer, passion, pass over, place, progress, provide, ramp-up, set aside, set before, set down, setup, stratify, supply, train, transfer, transport, unload.
  • Run
    Any doing involves one or more activities, takes a certain amount of time, and eventually produces a mental or material outcome (see also Produce). The execution can be performed based on an order, a specification, or the performer’s intuition and imagination. The fulfillment may involve manual, intellectual, or social activities. The less the accomplishment is described, the more random and, above all, different will be the individual execution and outcome.
    Under the topic run, you find corresponding verbs, e.g.
    accomplish, assign, broadcast, calculate, communicate, conclude, conserve, decide, document, effect, engage, establish, exchange, execute, explain, finish, fix, fulfill, govern, guide, instruct, keep, launch, maintain, make, manage, operate, perform, preserve, process, procure, promote, protect, realize, recharge, register, reinstate, report, respond, run, save, serve, set forth, settle, setup, start, stop, support, take up, wait.
  • Change/Improve
    The changes are similar to the creation of ideas and things (see above). However, they also include dealing with the background and the affected people. They are divided into two groups: 1) The first-order changes are improvements that leave the object alive and make the parts better. 2) The second-order changes are the disruptions that replace the item or make it disappear completely, renewing the whole.
    Under the generic term change/improve, you find corresponding verbs, e.g.
    adapt, align, alter, change, condense, convert, correct, decrease, diminish, discontinue, edit, eliminate, escalate, expand, free, glorify, improve, incorporate, modernize, modify, optimize, perfect, precise, rearrange, redirect, reduce, reform, refurbish, regulate, remodel, renew, renovate, reorganize, replace, repurpose, reset, reshape, restore, restrict, restructure, rethink, revise, revolutionize, rework, rotate, shift, standardize, swap, switch.

Bottom line: The language is living – googling, clicking, updating, etc. This means that an ultimate list of verbs will not be possible, as new activities are always being added. The above examples (from the seven areas: analyze, design, produce, validate, deploy, run, change/improve) serve as inspiration for those who are describing procedures. The responsible people should always create their glossary with typical terms since this, on the one hand, facilitates the description of the functions and, on the other hand, creates a common vocabulary. When several people are working together, there is no way to avoid putting actions into words so that everyone understands and thus knows what needs to be done.

The Crux of the right time

Today’s entrepreneurs are at the mercy of a much more volatile world. Perhaps that is the reason why they are looking for the right time. In the past, the development of novelties was well advanced when marketing was put into place. Today, startups begin their PR as soon as an idea as a one page and a business plan describe the enterprise and the first three fiscal years. This enables investors to provide funds for the development of the idea at an early stage. The crux is that at this moment the future proposition is still in a vague state. Everyone has to ask the question: when is the right time to become visible in the market with what level of detail?

In retrospect, with the de facto outcomes in mind, everyone is smarter and knows why something did (not) work. For founders, however, it is helpful to have some indications of the degree of maturity of their novelties beforehand. Additionally to a realistic business plan, the product and/or service should be described in a way that the application context, the deliverable, the design and any extras are clearly outlined.

  • Application context
    Each offer has to be prepared for one or more application fields. This goes from the thematic areas of application, to the geographical locations, to the corresponding target groups, to the respective use cases. A hammer drill is rather not used in a surgery room. Software with a Chinese interface will certainly not be a big seller in Europe. Mountaineers equipment is of no use to the athlete. And only in an emergency, when there is no scalpel at hand, a surgeon will make the tracheotomy with a kitchen knife. What conditions need to be taken into account? Which target group is targeted? What are the typical use cases?
    Therefore: Clarify at least one application context with its conditions.
  • Deliverable
    A deliverable can be a product or a service, or a mix of both. Describe the features or use as well as the required inputs and generated outputs. The service consists of practical, symbolic and economic advantages. Without a sufficient description of the deliverable, you should get out of this meaningless PR loop. There is no point in talking about the best and simplest product or the friendliest and fastest service. What are the technical features of a product? What is the task of a service? How do shape, color and haptic support the application? What makes the application easier for the users? What extras are provided – advice, customer support, financing? What requirements must be met? What are exemplary results?
    Therefore: Describe the product and the customer support as if it had been on the market for a long time.
  • Design
    The design of the deliverable is decisive for the acceptance by the customer. There is no deliverable without having to be designed, since they are all part of the real world. An ugly device will not prevail. An alien user interface repels. The lack of a classified style provides a unique selling proposition, but customers initially have to get used to it. How do you want to be perceived (e.g. best product, customer-driven solution or the most economical deliverable)? Which remembrance can be linked to the customer support? Which categorizations (e.g. style, content) are possible? How clearly do you want to position yourself?
    Therefore: Design the deliverable in such a way that the desired target group is reached and convinced.
  • Packaging
    The packaging has to fulfil certain tasks – which you can see in the many unboxing clips on YouTube. The packaging should be considered from the beginning. It is used for protection, storage and transport. With the appropriate design, it serves as advertising space and also promotes sales. In the case of customer support, packaging covers the shop layout, the staff clothing and the ergonomics of the website. What packaging does the product need? In what context is the customer support presented?
    Therefore: Create appropriate packaging for the product and the customer support.
  • Extras
    Today, all offers include supplementing components such as accessories and extras that provide further incentives to buy. More and more complex deliverables require more and more professional advice and customer support. Sustained customer loyalty is promoted through informative newsletters and a lively online community. An added guarantee and favorable financing round off the proposal. Which extras can you offer additionally? How can you skillfully advice your customers? What other gadgets can be proposed?
    Therefore: The completed assortment should plan appropriate extras right from the start.

Even if this effort may seem very high, you should be aware that it is very difficult to develop marketing for something that yet cannot be explained in detail. The crux of the matter is when are you sufficiently prepared. In any case, there is a lot to be said against starting marketing early, with the first idea, or very late, when everything is finished. If people want to know more details, it’s probably not enough. If they’re waving off due to too much information, it’s probably too much.

Bottom line: The tendency of start-ups to develop their websites early on and to plan the corresponding marketing measures is clumsy, as a lot is still changing and must be adapted subsequently. The first step, in any case, is the preparation of the product and/or service: description of the application context, the deliverable, the design and the packaging as well as the extras. The crux of the right time is left over. The main thing is that you do not become active too early or too late.