What My Waterproof Boots Taught Me About Supply Chain Change Projects (Part 2)

February 21st, 2013 1:59 pm Category: Global Supply Chain, Operations Research, Supply Chain Improvement, Supply Chain Software, by: Mark Rockey

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Lesson 2:  You may not know the best and / or ultimate design for a tool until you try it out for some time in the real world.

In my last blog post, I talked about the waterproof boots I received as a gift and how I never knew what I was missing out on until I received and started using those boots.  In this blog post, I’d like to continue my story.

My waterproof boots were working just great for me.  Our dog, Blue, loved walking out in the wet fields behind our house and I didn’t mind that my boots were getting muddy since I could easily wash them off.  Several months after using my boots, I made an unfortunate discovery.  My right foot was getting wet!  Turns out my boots had developed a crack in the tread.  While my boots had several features I really liked and duct tape worked as a temporary repair, I decided I had to replace my boots.

I thought about getting a new pair of the same brand / model but was concerned that there was a design flaw and that these boots were not sturdy enough to walk with on a regular basis.  I decided to switch to a boot with a much better and stronger designed tread as well as one with the other features I really liked.

If I had gone to the store before owning and using the first pair of boots, I don’t think I could have articulated exactly what features I needed / wanted in a boot.  It was only after having an extended real world experience with the boots that I was able to much more clearly and confidently articulate what I wanted in a boot.

This is a common theme with our supply chain change projects.  Often these projects are a discovery process for us and our clients because neither of us definitively know a priori all the functionality that will ultimately end up in the finished tool.  That is why our typical approach is to begin with a pilot project that includes the minimum scope required to implement the basic functionality.  This allows for this process of discovery to unfold and while starting to deliver on the stream of anticipated benefits sooner rather than later.  This allows for the future releases of the tool to have a very tight scope on only those items that we are both confident can be delivered and will achieve the anticipated benefits.

Are you ready to get started on this journey?

Here I am with Blue and my new waterproof boots

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