Practitioners often encounter the issue of time when working with initiatives. Some initiatives will take longer to deliver than others. Some might be quick to set up but take longer to deliver a tangible return. Some might even make things worse over time. Here are some pointers.
JTBD change slowly
Both Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett have said that, in a rapidly changing environment, focus on what doesn’t change. He was referring to “customers” in general, rather than chasing after the latest shiny technical possibility. The Method focuses on “customers” too, specifically their JTBD. The ones you’ve prioritised in the Needs Matrix will change much more slowly than anything in your Initiative Scorecard, giving them a solid foundation when it comes to assessment.
Do nothing initiatives
The default initiative in the Initiative Scorecard is “Do nothing”. By this we mean “maintain the status quo” or “don’t change anything” (not literally lying down on the floor and ceasing all activity). Some organisations might call this BAU or business as usual.
While this provides a handy benchmark for initiatives (i.e. you can probably dismiss initiatives that are worse than doing nothing), sometimes a bit of nuance is helpful.
For example, what impact will doing nothing for 6 months have vs doing nothing for 2 years? Does it become more costly, have a more negative impact on staff morale, etc. Just add as many versions of “Do nothing” as you need.
We often see people adding time detail to initiatives in order to compare doing something now vs later. It’s another useful approach. Just create a new initiative and be specific about the timeframe when describing it. For example: discontinue mobile app now; discontinue mobile app in 6 months; discontinue mobile app in 12 months.
A slightly different approach is to create timeframe-specific dimensions. These can help to assess the impact of an initiative over time. We might have “discontinue mobile app” as an initiative and add some dimensions to help us track the temporal impact. For example, we might have dimensions like: instant impact; impact in 6 months; impact in 12 months.
Or something else
The Method is sufficiently flexible to accommodate a range of approaches to time when scoring initiatives.
We’ll add more tried-and-tested techniques as the practitioner community tells us about them.