This is my view on how SaaS consultants should work, formulated as a bunch of principles in the style of the Agile Manifesto.
I like the style, because it recognises that all work happens on a spectrum, and that good work can come from knowing the broad direction, or which way to go when in doubt. The “a over b” style feels to me like it covers all the complexity, yet still tells me what to do if I want to do it right.
These are for Analytics and optimsation folk. And this one is more about the technicalities, while the “Value Manifesto” in Consultants (can) do Everything is more about general work ethics and guidance.
Standards over customization
Keep it simple, cover 80%, only customize when absolutely necessary.
Our solutions are complex, and when combined, they are so complex that even we struggle with it. Try to keep everything you do simple, make it easy for users to understand what they do, and how to do it. Only ever customize if it makes something easier.
Restraint over Quantity
Only track what you actually need. Check with your KPI framework.
Doing too many things at a time tends to overwhelm people. Limit what you do to only those things that actually make sense and create value for the customer. It makes sense to look from the top, use a KPI framework or something similar.
Quick over Complete
Get results quickly, rather than going for a “big bang” approach.
Try to show value as quickly as possible, rather than trying to sort everything out in one fell swoop. A customer who sees value is more likely to work well with you one the rest of the bucket list, and beyond.
Testing over planning
Don’t follow instinct, instead test what works.
Use testing when and where you can. Assumptions can be wrong, instinct can be wrong, even your taste can be wrong.
Insights over Reports
Don’t implement so you can report. Dig for insights in what you have.
It is better to find insight in existing data, no matter how dodgy that data is, than to implement something new in the hope that it will be clean, useful data.
Action over Insight
Better to have “form abandoners” segment and target that, than to have form abandonment analysis.
It can sometimes be easier to segment, test, and then target, than to analyze and understand. We have a tendency to want to understand, but consider this: testing or targeting on web sites can be quick and insightful. Go for action rather than insight.
“Why?” over “Let me think how we can do that”
Don’t just do what customers say.
Even if it means that you have to eventually back down, you should still always ask “why?” when a customer asks you to do something. Think about the bigger picture, the strategy, don’t be a reporting worker, or an implementation bee.
Guidance over “What do you want me to do?”
Better to guide customers towards a solution that works, than to do exactly what they say.
Customers can be caught in their tactical world of specific tasks and things. It should be our aim to get them to see the big picture, to tell them what makes sense.
WE are the experts.
Spell it out over buzz words
Always define terms, or avoid them completely and describe what you mean.
Our industry is young, our solutions are complex. If you spell things out without using buzz words, customers are much more likely to understand you. And real dialogue leads to better work.
The above are based on what I see colleagues, partners, customers, and of course myself do, and what I think is harmful to both us, and our customers.
Our customers trust us. If you are like me, this is a little shocking every time it happens, but it is the truth, and we do merit it.
I feel that with the above, we can be sure to get to the best result for them, and for us.