Co-creating Minimum Viable Processes

The team from WOW Labs ran a free workshop at the Engine Shed on 19 Sep, for those who couldn’t make it, this is what you missed: There are many often unchallenged assumptions about the way we manage teams: that we are good judges of people, their potential and their performance; that people are motivated to perform only by fear or greed; that a ping pong table in the office will help attract and retain great people (it doesn’t!).

At the workshop, we challenged some of these assumptions and introduced a method to co-create new ways of working that deliver results quickly – Minimum Viable Processes (MVP).

Key take-aways

Start with the Why. What are the outcomes you’re looking for? More alignment with the values of the business? Greater productivity? Better work-life balance? Be clear on the outcomes you seek and ensure that others are equally clear. Too often we see new ways of working introduced without any discussion about what people want them to achieve. Implementation tends to then be about getting the process right, rather than evolving a process that will deliver the right results consistently over time.

Start with a blank sheet. There are all sorts of misconceptions about the way companies ‘must’ run, especially when it comes to managing people. For example, we have been asked whether there is a legal requirement to have job descriptions or have an appraisal process. There isn’t. What works for your team may not work for other groups of people that are working towards different aims. As a team you’re unique – embrace it and create your own ways of working.

Co-create the solution. Get the whole team involved in creating new ways of working; it gives people a sense of ownership and makes a new process more likely to be successful. The co-creation process also gives people a deeper understanding of how things can work and what the desired outcomes are on a number of different levels: for individuals, for the team and for the company

Experiment and iterate. Just as when you’re developing new stuff for the customer, you don’t build it and assume that that’s the end of it. Nor do you assume it’s complete before you test it and watch what happens. We know that ‘test and learn’ is a good idea, but we don’t often apply it to people-related processes. Try elements of a process (your MVP) out, run a pilot, get feedback, measure results and allow people to challenge and iterate the new way of working.

Measure your results. You set your outcomes upfront and you need to be able to measure whether your new way of working is delivering. How will you know whether people’s work is more aligned with your business aims, or more productive? Work out how you’re going to measure the results and what you’re expecting to see, and remember that the best measure could be qualitative rather than quantitative.

Look at the evidence. You don’t need external experts to tell you what’s best for your team – you are the experts when it comes to how you work best. The team will have personal experience of what works and doesn’t work for them, they may have read about what other companies do, or learnt from friends about what works for other teams. Another great reason to draw the team into the conversation from the start. There’s a huge amount of evidence online about what works and why. Seek it out and use it to inform your MVP.

So don’t wait. If you know you need to change the way you work, co-create your MVP and iterate!

This blog is kindly written by the team at WOW (Ways Working) Labs. THe WOW Labs are 12 month facilitated programmes, where our team works with a purpose-built in-house team to develop and test new ways of working, building a culture of adaptation and the capacity for change. We bring teams from non-competitive companies together to share their learning and accelerate the pace of change in sectors that are struggling to change.