Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whispr Decision Support and Analysis

Yesterday I wrote a blog post hinting at what Whispr is up to.  If your organization works with DACI or RACI or any expanded variations, you may want to consider signing up for the private beta.  THis can be done by using the subscribe function and adding the code #techn in front of your name.

DACI is a model is to clarify roles in a decision making process.  DACI's four primary roles make it clear who has approval authority, who needs to be consulted before a decision is made and who needs to be informed once a decision has been made. It is used in Six Sigma projects and in other project management applications and can be used for general business operations as well.  DACI is an acronym standing for Driver, Approver, Contributor and Informed.

The same model is also called RACI by some and defined as a reponsibility assignment matrix.  According to Wikipedia:

Responsible Those who do the work to achieve the task. There is a cardinality of at least one role with a participation type of responsible, although others can be delegated to assist in the work.   Under DACI the Driver is usually a single person or entity.

Accountable (under the DACI model called "Approver", is the person or entity who has final approving authority).   The one ultimately answerable for the correct and thorough completion of the deliverable or task, and the one who delegates the work to those responsible.  In other words, an accountable must sign off (approve) on work that responsible provides. There must be only one accountable specified for each task or deliverable.

Consulted (sometimes counsel) Those whose opinions or input are sought, typically subject matter experts; and with whom there is two-way communication.

Informed Those who are kept up-to-date on progress, often only on completion of the task or deliverable; and with whom there is just one-way communication.

While the model is usually done as an informal collaboration, Whispr is a platform that facilitates the process of using DACI or RACI.

Why Whispr?

Good business is all about good decision-making. Many of the critical decisions facing corporations today are managed over email.  Email is recognized as one of the poorest formats for communication as it leaves out the context and communication of face to face interactions. Whispr helps individuals make good decisions and  establish a chain of trust with their colleagues. Decisions are made everyday and individual contributors/stakeholders of the outcomes must ensure the right people are involved in the right roles.    Whispr allows stakeholders to assign those individuals specialized roles so people know why they are involved.  This accomplishes two primary results.  
  1. People know what is expected of them and are more focused on those tasks;
  2. People do not waste time doing tasks or providing input that is not requested of them.
Decisions are not just infrequent events, they are the basis for which companies move from one state to the next and address critical challenges that arise and must be mitigated.   In fields like software development or VC investing, it is essential to understand why a decision was made and who supported it; who opposed it.

If you have ever felt:
  • Your email boxes are unmanageable  (Constantly looking at email yet getting nothing done); or
  • You know there is something wrong but no one has a solution for it nor has anyone discussed this in a way that reaches you; or
  • You feel you are falling behind instead of getting tasks done sometimes.  Spinning wheels; or
  • You feel like you have good ideas that are squashed by incompetent managers; and/or
  • YOu feel like people with bad ideas are steering your group or company over a cliff; then
Whispr is something you will want to check out.  Sign up now!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Whispr - sign up for the beta now!

Some of you are in the know about what we have been working on for the past months and we are getting close to launch.  Whispr (located at http://whis.pr), is about to revolutionize how people work and collaborate on solving problems.  If you have ever used DACI/RACI or similar approaches to problem solving, Whispr is going to be something you want to look at.

When we built it we had not idea the magnitude of the problem. We are veterans of IT who sat down and evaluated the problem of lost productivity from a big picture perspective.  Assuming any worker connected to email, SMS, cell phone, or chat systems spends five percent of their time scanning emails they have no interest in or hauled into meetings or phone conferences they are not really contributing to, the economic value of this problem is indeed in the trillions of US dollars.   In North America alone in 2010, the average person spends seven hours per month on Facebook,  spends over nine hours in meetings per week, makes 1-10 texts and makes 5 phone calls a day and receives over 10, less than half of which they feel important enough to answer.

In a second study done on Meeting Analysis: Findings from Research and Practice, it was also reported that the number of meetings a person attended on a weekly basis rose by 55%.  Furthermore, the study revealed that many of these meetings were perceived as a waste of people’s time and contributed very little economic value.  The same study reported that in terms of 2001 dollars, over $39,000,000,000 (thirty nine billion US dollars) is wasted annually in the United States alone.

Why is this happening?  Think about this for a second.  What happened to the email you received last week?  It's probably sitting statically in your inbox.  Once it gets scrolled up high enough, its' out of sight, out of mind.  What if there was a new platform to focus our conversations, weed out the noise and become more productive. What is that new platform integrated today with existing office tools like SMS, email, social media?

Email - the great detractor.  Email by itself just isn't working any more.  There is no discipline it clicking the "reply to all" button and contributing to yet another unfocused, rambling perma-thread that detracts from you getting business done.  Every day I am cc'd on emails that I have no idea what the person wants me to do with that information.  It isn't clear and it is not germain to getting a task accomplished or a decision made.

Now imagine that we can make employee's just 5% more effective each day?  On top of that, your top managers will be making better quality decisions with input from people all through an organization.   Whispr can do this and it costs less than the price of a cup of coffee for a full month.  There is no way you cannot afford to use it.  It is that simple.

Whispr just opened up a signup page for the beta release coming quickly.  I cannot guarantee everyone will be accepted as we will probably only roll out the first 250 applicants (no decision has been made on this yet).

More on this to come in the following weeks.