Strategy

One of the great things about working for a small company is that you are able to do things that would seem crazy to a big organization. For example, we at Seventh Morning are able to devote Fridays (almost) entirely to strategy and big-picture product development. That's been our focus today, and we're starting to envision some big things coming down the pike.

Or maybe I should say, "pipe." We've specifically been working on our course development pipe line today. Here's a sampling:

Project Management road map

When we started out as a training company, we were exclusively focused on Business Analysis but realized that we would eventually develop training for Project Management as well. As of today, we have the beginnings of a Project Management training road map, and it is pretty hardcore. We're looking at about 10-12 courses, and we aspire to get them all delivered in 2014.

Product Management road map

What we hadn't been planning on developing was training in Product Management. Our rationale was that (1) managing products is done so differently across organizations, industries, etc; and (2) there isn't sufficient demand for Product Management training. But as a young company, we have been learning a lot. The first rationale we discarded, as we have learned ways of getting around it in the course of developing certain BA training. And the second rationale was proved false, as we have heard from customers, partners and other generally smart people. That's one of the reasons we're always looking for input and feedback, by the way.

The Product Management courses will come out in 2015 also, and we're looking at about five courses, in areas like product development and innovation. It's too early to say much beyond that, but stay tuned to this blog and our Facebook page for more info.

Acceleration of course development

This is actually the biggest strategic item that will help out. Our first course,Working with Use Cases, took several months to develop. Our second course,Fundamentals of Business Analysis, took about three months to develop (and that course has a lot more content). We've been looking for ways to reduce our course dev cycle time, and we think we've figured it out using a combination of business process management and agile product development techniques.

What does this mean? Essentially that we believe we can get to a point where we are delivering a course every month. Accordingly, we've scheduled a course for the end of August and the end of every month thereafter. In 2015, we will have the need (and hopefully also the stamina) to deliver two courses per month. We're hoping to learn from our experiences this year to help us achieve that goal.

So yes, everything above is a sampling of things coming down the pipe. But they're also a testament to how focused and concentrated strategy work can help drive big-picture pay-offs.

How are you doing things in your organization? Do you devote time where it's most important?