The day started with registration and a BRM community gathering. As we in Sweden don’t have our own community to work with (yet!) I skipped that part and did some work on my hotel room instead.
My day started with Lunch that in my case was salad, hot veggies, assorted potatoes and herb spiced chicken breast. Really good food and some great conversation with Kip Fanta, Suresh GP, Stephen Plante, Malini Jayaganesh and Frank Wander.
Stuart Knight fired of a great intro after Marleen Lundy has welcomed us and walked through some housekeeping. Stuart is to my knowledge not an IT guy and has not worked with BRM earlier but he makes BRM a part of his Keynote I a really great way. The word awesome ca
me up when Marleen welcomed us, and Stuart lets us all know that we are awesome several times. He splits us in the middle and half of us are giving the other half a standing ovation because they are so awesome. The other half just needed to sit down with a smug face, nod and say – ‘Yeah, I know, tell me something new!’. After the other side had enjoyed it for a while and we switched…
My half won…we are awesome…
After Stuart, Joe Topinka from CIO Mentors entered as keynote and Joe delivered a whole bunch of wise words and shared his 35 years of experience in a great way. He shared a lot of useful and operational tools for a BRM’s to use and work with.
One very accurate thing I liked was the milk carton with “CEO missing” ad on it. If C-levels always are offsite, in meetings or travelling – who are leading the company and managing “the change”? Joe also gave us some great insights in leadership rules where my favourite was “Get out of your BMW” (stop Bitching, Moaning and Whining) You can download them all from Joes website, ciomentor.com
Joe also talks about the importance of the “R” in BRM and almost all other speakers also point out the importance of the “R”. Agree – if it wasn’t for the “R” it would be just another role and just another framework. The “R” is what makes the difference! Finally we are getting somewhere with capabilities to work with people!
Kimball Lovin & Daniel Poole shares their dos and dont’s when introducing a BRM to the business, failing to “sell” BRM and introducing it to the business partner is key for success. The session ends with a small workshop where a number of scenarios are hand out and each table should discuss the scenario and come up with some insights or a role play for the scenario. Good points came up and a takeaway for me was the apparently common mixup in USA that BRM is just another PM. I haven’t experienced that in Sweden, instead we tend to mix other more operational roles with the strategic perspective.
In Sweden we also have other roles that might be challenges by a BRM role if introduced in a wrong way.
Good learning points about the introduction of the role and discipline:
- Make sure you’re not considered as an extra PM or Service manager with a new title. Emphasise the difference!
- Do your homework. Coming to a meeting cold doesn’t work for selling anything!
- Create a “runbook”. I really like that concept, we need to work more with Runbooks or Playbooks! I’ll take that with me right away.
I Choose Aaron Monroes breakout session about BRM, and Agile and Aaron surprised us with a Lego exercise. Have done some Lego exercises before and they are great, you learn something new every time you do them. All gaming gives great opportunities to reflect on behaviours and identify learnings – with gaming or simulations you actually experience something, hence it’s possible to reflect on behaviour and create immediate learning and improvement. Aaron facilitated the exercise really well and moderated a ‘retrospective’ where some great learning points came up:
- Talk to each other
- Make decisions
- Check accomplishment with customer
- Clarify if unclear
- Help each other
This helps a team be more agile and self directing and it applies to BRM teams as well.
Peter Ljinse finishes of the first day of BRM connect with an introduction to Value management a new guiding value framework that Peter Lijnse, Aaron Barnes and Elka Schrijver are working on. Some great tools! Peter also makes us a little uncomfortable by asking how many that have a Value plan they are working with! 4 persons of almost 200 stands up…in a room of 200 people and half of us are BRM certified as BRMP or CBRM….shame on us.
Peter also emphasizes the importance of defining value and value streams and to make IT stop talking about how great they are at solving incidents. – well lets se here now… it’s IT that has created most of the incidents through bad changes and lack of testing and now you want cred for fixing your mistakes! Are you serious? The business needs value managment and Peter makes us discuss how we can measure value of the BRM role. Very few hands come up to when we are asked to feedback our findings, even though there must be a couple of thousand years of experience in the room…shame on us again….
Good points from this session:
- Observe the business, look what they are doing and understand it. Walk in someone else’s shoes…
- Show success, not failure
- Create a value plan and work with it continually
- Focus on short term value realization to justify investment in BRM
- Make sure you know how to measure value
All in all a great first day with new friends and new insights. It’s really great to se so much energy and “hope” with everybody. At the same time it’s a little sad – we have talked about Business and IT alignment since early 90’s and we are still struggling with defining value, we still lack management commitment. Convergence is definitely the final goal but I think alignment is a good milestone on the roadmap. The bright side is that BRM addresses most of these challenges, so there is hope for us ? I’m more motivated to introduce BRM to the Swedish market than ever and have got some good tools from today, looking forward to two more days with “awesome” learnings.
The day ends with networking outside the Riverview ballroom, I take an early evening and sneak up to my hotel room with a glass of wine and an intention to watch some TV and process the day.