David Anderson defines fitness for purpose in terms of the “criteria under which our customers select our service”. Through this lens we can explore how Strategy Deployment can be used to improve fitness for purpose by having alignment and autonomy around what the criteria are and how to improve the service.
In the following presentation from 2014, David describes Neeta, a project manager and mother who represents two market segments for a pizza delivery organisation.
As a project manager, Neeta wants to feed her team. She isn’t fussy about the toppings as long as the pizza is high quality, tasty and edible. Urgency and predictability is less important. As a mother, Neeta want to feed her children. She is fussy about the toppings (or her children are), but quality is less important (because the children are less fussy about that). Urgency and predictability are more important. Thus fitness for purpose means different things to Neeta, depending on the market segment she is representing and the jobs to be done.
We can use this pizza delivery scenario to describe the X-Matrix model and show how the ideas behind fitness for purpose can be used with it.
Results describe what we want to achieve by having fitness for purpose, or alternatively, they are the reasons we want to (and need) to improve fitness for purpose.
Given that this is a pizza delivery business, its probably reasonable to assume that number of pizzas sold would be the simplest business result to describe. We could possibly refine that to number of orders, or number of customers. We might even want a particular number of return customers or repeat business to be successful. At the same time operational costs would probably be important.
Strategies describe the areas we want to focus on in order to improve fitness for purpose. They are the problems we need to solve which are stopping us from having fitness for purpose.
To identify strategies we might choose to target one of the market segments that Neeta represents, such as family or business. This could lead to strategies to focus on things like delivery capability, or menu range, or kitchen proficiency.
Outcomes describe what we would like to happen when we have achieved fitness for purpose. They are things that we want to see, hear, or which we can measure, which indicate that the strategies are working and which provide evidence that we are likely to deliver the results.
If our primary outcome is fitness for purpose, then we can use fitness for purpose scores, along with other related leading indicators such as delivery time, reliability, complaints, recommendations.
Tactics describe the actions we take in order to improve fitness for purpose. They are the experiments we run in order to evolve towards successfully implementing the strategies, achieving the outcomes and ultimately delivering the results. Alternatively they may help us learn that our strategies need adjusting.
Given strategies to improving fitness for purpose based around market segments, we might try new forms of delivery, different menus or ingredient suppliers, or new alternative cooking techniques.
I hope this shows, using David’s pizza delivery example, how fitness for purpose provides a frame to view Strategy Deployment. The X-Matrix model can be used to tell a coherent story about how all these elements – results, strategies, outcomes and tactics – correlate with each other. Clarity of purpose, and what it means to be fit for purpose, enables alignment around the chosen strategies and desired outcomes, such that autonomy can used to experiment with tactics.