Updates from September, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Ian Leu 8:35 am on September 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    We are proactively creating more advanced tools… to put your mind at ease 

    I’m In the process of building a more advanced form of error catching for a customer. When completed, they will be proactively notified of the current status of all scheduled processes (from multiple technologies) and will also have the ability to see the current status of all critical tasks in real time quickly and easily without having to search through any logs.

  • Joe Wichowski 12:43 pm on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Salesforce.com is working on a new browser interface for touch devices… 

    It will be interesting once touch.salesforce.com has a good working demo. Many clients like the value in having a mobile platform in tandem with a desktop platform, but managing and provisioning iPhones and iPads with a physical application (like the current Salesforce.com app) is cumbersome for larger organizations. Have a separate web site that is touch-enabled makes it much easier to manage. Kudos to Salesforce for recognizing that even though iPhones and Tablets have web browsers, the way users interact with web sites is way-different than with a desktop and a mouse.

  • Joe Wichowski 4:55 pm on September 20, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Social CRM – Avoid the traps of non-structured data 

    All the rage at Salesforce.com these days is about “social“.   It should be – Chatter is a great tool, that can take tech-savy sales and operations teams to the next level.  But be careful before Social takes control of your day-to-day structured data.  In the end, users are smart, lazy, and are always looking for the easy-button.

    For example, a recent customer of ours didn’t catch that most salesmen started using the Chatter “What are you working on” status change to post visit reports with their customers.  To them, it was far easier adding the details inside the comment box, instead of making  a traditional appointment.

    30 days later, and the reporting dashboard was not telling the complete story.  The sales manager “read” all the appointments within the Chatter activity feeds and assumed they were making appointments inside Salesforce.com.  The report, however, didn’t reflect that.  Instead, they lost a month’s worth of metrics and accountability.  And salesmen had to go back and re-update their appointments from the previous month – quite a waste.

    I think there are great reasons to roll out tools like Chatter.  Just make sure you have a strategy to train them on “when” they should be using Chatter, or more importantly, when they “shouldn’t”. And have an auditing plan to ensure users aren’t replacing structured tools with unstructured ones, especially if reporting and metrics are important to you.

  • Joe Wichowski 10:30 am on September 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 7: Setting Up Worklists for Smart Goals 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    Now that we have our framework for our SMART collection, we need to add some sub-tools to get the work done.  For this, we will be adding three tools within the collection:  A Scope Check tool, an Action Plan, and a Metrics table to capture the before/after measurements.

    First, we will add a Checklist tool, to let us list the initiatives or corrections we could put in place, then utilize the checkmarks to define which are in-scope, and more importantly, out-of-scope.

    Add a new Checklist tool by using the “Add Tool – Browse Tool Catalog…”, then on the “Basic” list, select “Checklist”.

    This time, instead of “moving it to the bottom” of the canvas, we are going to add it to the collection instead.  To do this, each tool has a “More Actions” option.  In that menu, you should see “Move To Collection…”

    Here, we will move it to our SMART Goal #1 collection.

    At this point, your canvas for your template is getting fairly complicated.  Please note that on the left-side of your template, you will find the “Work Items” section.  This section essentially lists out your tools in the template (or when live, an actual activity).  It is simple to just navigate down the tool list by clicking on the focus item you wish to review.  For example, if we click on the SMART Goal #1 collection, we will see the list of sub-tools within the collection.  Here we see our newly added (unnamed) checklist.

    Click on the Checklist in the canvas, and rename it to “#1 – Brainstorming / Scope Check”.   Then add 2 Action Items to the tool:  one for Brainstorming, and another for scope check.  Your final tool will look like this.

    Next, we want to add a Timeline tool to the collection.  Again we use “Add Tool – Browse Tool Catalog…”.  The Timeline tool is located in the Coordinating section.

    Remember to move it to the collection:

    Rename the Timeline to “#1 – Action Plan”, and add an Action Item to prompt the team to create the action plan.

    The final tool we will add is a simple table to keep track of our metrics.  Again, we use the “Add Tool – Browse Tool Collection…”.  Tables are located on the “Basic” list.

    Move your table to the Collection.

    Finally, setup your table with 3 columns (Metric, Before, After), and delete the 4th through 8th rows (3 metrics are usually fine).   Rename your table, and create an Action Item for the team to fill it in.  Your SMART Goal #1 should now be complete.

    Finally, we need to duplicate our efforts for SMART Goal #1 to create SMART Goal #2 and SMART Goal #3.  There is a “copy” function of each collection that will help us achieve this.  The Copy function is located under the “More Actions” menu of the collection.

    This will copy the items within the Collection to a new collection within a template.  Be sure to select your Six Sigma template.  Now, you simply have to rename all of the items within the collection.  (NOTE:  You may need to refresh your browser window in order to see the new collection within your template)

    You can move the new collection to the bottom of the list by selecting the grey-bar next to the collection when you hover over it.  When you do this, you can click-and-drag the collection down to the bottom of the canvas (after the #1 goal).

    Now, rename the collection and the tools to represent SMART Goal #2.

    IMPORTANT:  There currently is an issue (or feature?) with the Copy function.  It DOES NOT copy any action items.  So, this means that you will have to go back through every tool within SMART Goal #2, and re-create those action items within the template.  Kinda a bummer!

    Finally, copy the SMART Goal #1 one more final time, and make it SMART Goal #3.  Remember to rename all tools, and re-create your Action Items as above.  You should end up with a template and a Canvas that looks very much like this:

    That’s it.  Your StreamWork Six Sigma template is now complete.  This template should help define a winning process to focus teams, and tackle any form of challenge within your company.  In the next section, we will walk you through an example project, to see how all the pieces come in to play.

    • Ronald gomez 4:32 pm on November 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Sorry, but my question is – is it possible to make a gantt diagram with sap Streamwork? thanks

      • Joe Wichowski 9:14 am on November 8, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Unfortunately, no. The closest tool is the Timeline tool. But for us, it functions more as a “milestone” tool than a true Gantt Chart.


  • Ian Leu 7:45 am on September 19, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    Microsoft CRM User’s Guide 

    There is a new manual out from Microsoft.  Although it misses the “why” and “when” of CRM, it is still a good read (and a good place to get content to put into your own manual).  My view is the docs Microsoft makes do not have enough pictures in them.  So if you use any content, you may want to take “actual CRM” screenshots so the user’s see their own data, and can really understand “where” the buttons are located on the screen.


  • Joe Wichowski 11:04 am on September 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply

    A while back, I commented on LogMeIn having some issues with logging in, and relative “up-time”.  As an update, I would say it has been 100% reliable for me at least since January.  Very good numbers, considering Office 365 has already been down twice since it started about 60 days back.

    I use LogMeIn on my desktop, iPad, and iPhone.  I find it very reliable, and performance is good (even on AT&T 3g connection while on the road).  I would (and do) recommend it to my clients.

  • Joe Wichowski 7:22 pm on September 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 6: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Defining Smart Goals 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    Now that we have our possible solutions defined and prioritized for our Top Driver, we can let the team focus on 3 of these, define them as S.M.A.R.T. goals, and work the resolutions to the problem.  To do this, we are going to utilize a couple of tools, encapsulated inside a StreamWork Collection.  The collection will let us group several tools together, collating them.  Each of these grouped toolsets will represent a SMART goal – so all in all, we will have 3 collections.

    We will create the first Collection, then use the StreamWork “copy” function to copy the first collection 2 more times.  So, for this part, we simply want to add a single new Collection.

    To do this, we again use our “Add Tool / Browse Tool Catalog” button, and in the list, select “Basic”, then “Collection”.

    Don’t forget to move it to the bottom of the canvas.

    We will now name our collection “SMART Goal #1”, and we will add some instructions on how to use it.

    Finally, we will add a single action item to “assign” the setting of the goal to the team when a new project is kicked off.

    Essentially, we will be adding 3 tools within this collection – a Scope Check tool, an Action Plan tool, and place to define Metrics to be sure our corrective actions have paid off.

  • Joe Wichowski 8:37 pm on September 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    We recently created 3 cool Microsoft CRM tools. They are all admin-style “command line” tools, which can be run manually, or from the task scheduler. They are:

    1) Microsoft CRM Exporter – Given a FetchXML query (usually generated via Advanced Find), this tool will export the records into a standard-structure XML file. Useful to take a data-dump of records, or us it with a tool like Talend Open Studio. Works for CRM Online and On Premises.

    2) Microsoft CRM Newsletter – Given a FetchXML query, this tool will create and send an email formatted with a table, with the returned records. Useful in scheduling a daily or weekly newsletter to send to sales and operations staff. Works for CRM Online and On Premises.

    3) Microsoft CRM Report Emailer – Given a CRM Report name, this tool will run the report, export it as a PDF, then email the PDF to the specified user. Useful in scheduling daily or weekly reports to send to sales and operations staff. Currently only works with CRM Online, but we are working on another tool to work with On Premises (there is a story here, will publish some other day…)

    We’ll be posting them later this month, but if you need a look at it sooner, send me an email and I can give you some screen shots. Our plan is to duplicate these tools for Salesforce.com and SugarCRM as well.

  • Joe Wichowski 11:06 am on September 12, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 5: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Brainstorming Drivers & Assigning Priority 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    Now that we have given a place for the team to identify the key Drivers, we need to give them the ability to brainstorm ideas to resolve the Top Driver, and assign an overall priority for each idea.  This will help them decide which items to focus on – not just that it is a “driver”, but that the overall priority of the possible resolution (how hard, versus how big a payoff) is reasonable and valuable.

    To do this, we will add a PICK matrix to our template.  There, the team will be able to identify bullets of opportunity, prioritized along an Effort versus Payoff scale, to better visualize which quadrant of change they should focus on.

    Use the “Add Tool” button, and select “Browse Tool Catalog”.  Then, under “Analyzing”, select “PICK Matrix”.

    Remember to move the matrix to the bottom of the template.

    Next, rename the PICK matrix to “Brainstorm Drivers – Priority Matrix”.  You can then add a single Action Item to assign to the team to fill in the matrix.

    Finally, lets add some instructions for the team to give them guidance on how best to fill in the matrix.

    That wraps up our priority matrix.  We now have given the team the capability to visualize their proposed resolutions to the top-driving issue.  In our next section, we will create 3 sections to allow the team to identify the top 3 they will focus on, and capture their process within each section.  To do this, we will create a StreamWork collection.

  • Joe Wichowski 7:50 pm on September 7, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 4: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Relationship Diagram 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    Now that we have our Affinity Diagram created, we need to allow the team to identify the Drivers and Outcomes as each item relates to each other.  This will help us prioritize our Affinity Diagram, and give us 2 to 3 clear items to focus on and drive the most change within the process improvement stream.

    To do this, we will add a DACI Matrix to our template, and customize the choices.  As usual, we select “Add Tool”, but this time we need to “Browse Tools Catalog” to find the DACI Matrix.

    Remember to move your new matrix to the end of the template stream.

    First, we can rename our Matrix.  In our template, we renamed it “Relationship Diagram – Define the Drivers”.  We also setup our columns and rows to be equal (The matrix only defaults to 3 rows.  We simply add a category row to match the corresponding category columns).  In the end, the user will change the category (both row title, and column title) to match the categories created within the Affinity table.  This just serves as a placeholder for now.

    The second thing to set up is to limit the amount of options within the Row/Column pairing.  By default, all options within the DACI matrix are available.  Since we only need to define the Drivers, we will limit the drop down selection in the matrix to just that value.  Click on the “Edit Properties” option within the matrix, and only specify “Drives” as an option.

    Finally, we will make sure our Relationship Diagram has action, so we will create an action item that will later be assigned to the team to fill it out.

    That’s about it for our matrix.  We will just add some quick instructions on the About tab to be sure users know how to fill it in.

    In our next part, we will allow the team to brainstorm these driving categories for possible solutions, and prioritize based on difficulty and payoff.

  • Joe Wichowski 6:18 pm on September 5, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 3: Creating Your Six Sigma template – Affinity Diagram 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    In our next section, we want to further dissect our 4m.  Usually when you make a 4m, you will often have several “like” ideas within the different M’s.  For example, you may have a an issue listed under Man which states “Sales staff don’t often know the cutoff quantities for the various discount levels during discussions with the customer”, and you may have similar issue under Materials which states “Management hasn’t provided updated breakdown tables for discounts on the various product families”.  To that, you may want to bind those two ideas into one single category called “Discount Training & Documentation”.

    We do this with an Affinity Diagram.  In StreamWork, we again use a simple table where we can lump these “like” issues together from the 4m, then give it a “category” that encapsulates the general idea or topic.

    To add our Affinity Diagram to the template, we again use the “Add Tool” button, and select “Table”.

    The table will again pop up to the top.  No worries, we can use the “Move To Bottom” button to put it at the bottom of the canvas.

    Now, we will title the table “Affinity Diagram – Categorize Your 4m”, and leave 2 columns – “Category” and “Items From 4m”.  (Note:  We usually leave 8 rows, and in the instructions, we try to “limit” the number of categories to no more than 8.  We feel this is best-practices when categorizing your 4m.)

    Next we have to remember to give our Affinity Diagram some accountability, so again we will build an Action Item to have someone fill it out.  (Remember to make it unassigned for now)

    Finally, we will add our instructions into the About tab.

    That wraps up our Affinity Diagram.  We can now move onto the next section, and define a Relationship Diagram to help the team identify the Drivers and Outcomes in relation to these newly defined categories.  Click here to read the next part.

  • Joe Wichowski 9:25 pm on September 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
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    Part 2: Creating Your Six Sigma template – 4m 

    (If you missed the beginning of this series, click here)

    Next, we will add a 4m section to our template.   We use the 4m to get a good understanding of where the team feels there are issues within the current process.   It also lets them focus their thoughts within a single category at a time – meaning we fill in the Man first, then the Machine, then the Materials, then the Methods – ensuring we document everything within the current category before moving on to the next category.

    For us, the 4m (Man, Machine, Materials, Methods) translates more to the business categories “Sales staff/Operations Staff/Admins/Management/Production”, “Computers/Servers/Phones/Technology/Software”, “Collateral/Presentations/Instructions/Catalogs/Website”, and “Processes/Tasks/Required Action/Expediting”.  We feel this provides the team with a good definition of “what” to put inside each category.

    To add this to our template, we will add a simple Table tool to our template-in-progress.  First, click on the Add Tool button, then select Table.

    This should insert a new table into your template.  However, StreamWork always adds a new tool to the “top”.  No worries, we will simply click on the “Move To Bottom” option, which will move it to the end of the template.

    Once at the bottom, we will retitle the table “4m – Identify All Current Pain Points”, as well as rename the column headers “Man”, “Machine”, “Method”, and “Materials”.  The final table should look like this:  (Note: on a few occasions, the column-rename function wasn’t working as expected.  You may need to play with it, but in the end I double-clicked on the column headers, typed in my new title, then clicked on the cell just below it to “save” the change)

    Finally, we want to setup an Action Item to make sure the team can keep track of “when” it gets filled out.  We can do so from the Action Items sidebar on the Table (like before).  Remember to make sure it is unassigned.

    Finally, give your users any specific instructions on filling out the 4m by using the “About” tab.

    Thats it for the 4m.  You can now move on to the next section, the Affinity diagram.

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