Define your swim lanes – to deliver to key stakeholders first

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(C) Tweeter Linder 2016 – All rights reserved. Photo by iStock

A few weeks into your lean sales support journey you start to see patterns in the flows delivering value to key stakeholders. You have left the ocean of opportunities behind and focus on a few swim lanes in the pool where lean make the biggest difference. These swim lanes build on your initial lean experiences as you aim to take your lean game to the next level.

Swim lanes delivering high value add

The first group of swim lanes are the ones delivering highest value add. The areas were your team adds most value is likely where the demand is highest. This is also the part of the sales support activities with highest visibility to your key stakeholders. Without these flows working well the performance perception of your whole lean team effort will suffer.

Swim lanes eliminating frequent idle sectors

The second group of swim lanes are the ones eliminating major idle sectors. The flow can be less important or less visible but the amount of requests can drive high inefficiencies if idle sectors remain. By eliminating waste in this group of activities  you can achieve larger effects through the sum of many small coupled tasks.

Swim lanes representing your team’s new tasks

The third group of swim lanes represent tasks and activities your team did not perform before. Some tasks only make sense if you support them in a flow efficient way. As the customers and sales team see the efficiency in your flows you can expect them to come up with new support ideas. Ideas to support areas you have not done in the past. Or areas you now can offer better support than an existing alternative.

Questions for you and your team

1. What are the 5-8 swim lanes in your sales support pool – avoid to pursue an ambition to  boil the ocean..
2. How are the swim lanes divided across the three groups defined here – aim to penetrate all three groups.
3. Which swim lanes are low hanging fruits and which requires harder work – not all swim lanes need equal efforts.
4. Which 3-6 month ambition do we have for each swim lane – start by setting ambitions even if your data and visibility is vague in the start.

Additional reading

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