Fix it now. Get fancy later, when you can afford it.
That's what Decision Integration LLC is all about.
The fact is, most organizations that have immediate challenges can get the problem under control with the people and information they already have, without spending any significant amount of money. That's where I come in. Quick, intense, insightful interactions resulting in specific action plans. Then I'll help you by checking in with you to make sure that the team is moving forward with its plan, and help you deal with the bumps in the road.
What sort of problems could we solve together? Here's some, to give you the idea:
- I'm working to bring in a much-needed change. Management agrees but they don't seem willing to press the issue, and/or my colleagues aren't interested
- People can't stay focused on a task long enough to get it done. The priorities are always changing, people are getting pulled form one project to another, and I never know who is supposed to be working on what.
- I don't even know where to begin to come up with a realistic plan, strategy or budget
- I can't explain the impact of budget cuts effectively
Here's the ugly truth: hiring a bunch of "consultants" to keep doing the same thing you're doing now while you try to find time to plan your way out of the problem simply is not going to work. You need to get the situation under control, set some pragmatic goals, and start moving in the right direction. Now, not next year.
The good news? You can do it with the resources you have right now. We'll work together quickly to plan out how you can do it, then we'll touch base to make sure things are staying on track for you. That's it. Quick, cost-effective, and it works.
I don't do butts-in-seat (staff augmentation) work; if you need that, I'll be happy to refer you to some reputable companies I know and/or am working with.
So now you know what this is all about, welcome to the site! Check out the blog posts. Grab some free resources. Once you're comfortable that I know what I'm doing, apply for a free consulting session so you can get an example of how we'd work together. It's not a sales pitch. It's a hands-on development of the first step towards your solution. If you like it, we'll keep going.
First Aid For Your Business
A consultant who doesn't have some sort of framework for dealing with business issues isn't an expert. They're just making it up as they go along. On the other hand, you don't want to be locked into a highly-complex framework that isn't quite right for your problem but is going to cost a bunch of money and take a lot of time. I've got a lot of professional certifications and I know about a lot of frameworks, but those shouldn't come into play until you're ready.
My framework isn't right for every situation, but it is right for cases where immediate action is called for. It's the same basic framework we apply to first aid situations:
- A = clear the Airway. Identify the problem that will stop anything else from working.
- B = restore Breathing. Take the initial steps that will allow you to breathe again. There is a light at the end of the tunnel!
- C = Control the bleeding. Deal with the problems that are stopping you from operating now. Do enough to get it under control. It doesn't have to be cutting edge technology or a world-class best-practice solution; in fact, those are probably impractical right now and won't work for your situation anyway. Then start fixing things that will cause problems later. By the way, even though your patients are bleeding, they'll fight the treatment. My Simmer System is the method of finding ways to help them fix things they want fixed in a way that gets you to your solution.
- D = Turn it over to the Doctor. Now that the situation's under control, turn it over to the people who can apply lots of expertise and resources to producing a optimal solution that will last for the long term. This is the expensive part. Now you're in position to choose the right providers and solutions.
If you run across a car accident victim who has also got a cancer that will eventually be life-threatening, you don't spend your time coming up with elaborate chemotherapy programs. There's no point figuring out how to extend their life by 6 months or 5 years if they're going to be dead in 20 minutes. You provide first aid: clear the airway, restore the breathing, control the bleeding. Get them into the ER or ICU where they can be stabilized. Then think longer term. Today is not the day for the lecture about how they should stop smoking.
This happens to businesses all the time. When they ask for advice on their immediate problems, the experts talk them into high-cost, long-term implementation of best practices and maturity models [models that, ironically, few consultancies practice themselves]. When you're running short of money, the last thing you need to do is throw gobs of it at a solution that isn't going to pay off for quite a while, if ever.
There is a choice. After working with dozens of organizations, I've learned how to shake off those early and expensive false starts.
We've regrouped to try different approaches, based on my Simmer System (SM), and gotten the main problems solved fairly quickly and much less expensively.
Then, sure, it's time to think about raising the bar and joining your industry leaders in their best practices. You can do ISO or CMMI or whatever your preferred standard is, and for that, you'll need a lot of help. It won't be cheap, and it may well be worth it. I'll even help you shape and find that help. When you're ready.
Just not today.
You've got some issues that need to be resolved today.
Let's stop spending money and start solving problems.
Who Am I and Why Should You Let Me Help You?
I'm Douglas Brown, founder of Decision Integration LLC. I've been solving business (and government) management problems for over 20 years, as an in-house manager, a consultant, and a small business owner. You can read all about the various roles and engagements I have had over the past three decades via my profile on Linked-In.
You'll see that I have all the traditional experiences and I have numerous professional certifications. That means I know what best practices are in many areas, and I'm professionally obligated to endorse and follow them. In the right way, at the right time. I probably won't be doing that part for you - it takes a lot of people and a lot of time. But I'll help you set all that up, when the time comes.
On Stage and Screen ...
Here are some of the organizations that have asked me to speak to their members and sites where you can find examples of my work and speaking style:
Project Management Institute
- Chapter meetings
- Regional conferences
International Association of Software Architects
Project Summit / BA World
Over those three decades I kept getting my nose rubbed into the fact that so many organizations were striving to use industry best practices but they simply weren't working.
Over time, I developed methods of dealing with the perfectly normal frictions of bringing about change, and I developed an approach from bridging the gap between "no practices" and "best practices".
At first I just started seeing that the same things were working. After a while I started consciously re-using variations on the approach, and eventually it occurred to me that it's an actual system.
Then I wrote the book on it: Let It Simmer.
It's a little different from the usual crop of books that just parrot the best practices. But I've been asked to speak by several organizations composed of my fellow professionals and most of them spend most of the session nodding their heads. They've seen the same issues before. And they're very enthusiastic about discussing my approach to the solution, and what's worked for them too.
OK, Maybe It's Not for Everybody
A very few people are lucky enough to work with an organization that runs like a well-oiled machine. I'd love to interview you for a new book on what that workplace looks like. Seriously.
But if you're one of the many people working in an organization that:
- Has difficulty delivering on expectations to customers and stakeholders
- Has to re-invent simple routine processes every time it does one
- Has settled into silos (distinct sub-groups) that just can't seem to cooperate
- Lives day-to-day without a plan for the future
Then you're the kind of organization I can help.
Sure, the usual response is to get a consulting firm to give you advice and put a bunch of people into your work space to help you implement it. And at some point that's exactly what you should do: get some help on the"implement" part, once you know what you want to do.
But that's not what you should do today. It's very expensive. They don't know your organization so you spend the same amount of time bring them up to speed as you would have done to solve the problem yourself ... if only you had the time. Usually it's not a matter of knowing what ought to be done, it's a problem of getting it done.
That's where I come in. I offer short-term workshops, training events or a few consulting days. The idea is to help you jump-start your initiatives over whatever is holding them back. Other than my guidance and facilitation, you solve your critical problems using the people, data and tools that you already have in place. You get the critical problems under control, and you get your operation running at an acceptable level. Only then do you need to worry about best practices.
And all this for a price so cost-effective you can put it on a credit card.
What if you could quickly
- Identify the key causes of performance issues
- Work within the existing culture to implement rapid solutions to the most critical problems, and
- Get the situation back under control in months, not years ?
You can do all this while
- Using the information and tools your organization already has,
- At a fraction of the cost you've been used to
- With little or no purchasing action overhead?
Only after that would you need an expensive support team to transform your working solution into a business-wide system.
Well? What do you think?
If my approach, which is based on my Simmer System (SM), sounds good to you, press one of the green buttons to start the ball rolling on a no-obligation first consult.
The button will take you to a short application form. I want to make sure that I can really be of help to you before wasting both of our time in a meeting that doesn't make any sense for either of us. It's a pretty simple form, but I'd ask that you take a few minutes to think about it so we're not spending our time talking about things that aren't really very important to you. If I think I can help, I'll schedule the meeting. If I can't, maybe I'll know someone who can, and I'll be happy to refer you.
That meeting's not going to be a sales pitch. It's going to be a concrete discussion of the issues that are of most concern to you. So during that session, you'll be able to determine whether that first meeting was useful for you, and whether you think I'll be able to continue to help you quickly and inexpensively in the future. And I'll be able to judge whether I think so too. If we both agree, then we can move forward.
Of course, every consultant says they don't do work that isn't a good fit. Then they take on work that isn't a good fit, reckoning they'll just hire some people to do it. You know how well that works. We understand why it happens; they've got people they have to pay now who they want to keep around for whenever they do get more appropriate work. And they have sales quotas to meet if they want to keep their own jobs.
My business model doesn't work that way. I don't have to worry about making payroll for the employees I don't (and will not) have; and I don't have to hit a quota number someone else set for me. It's just me, and I can only work with a limited number of people at once. If you're happy, you'll tell others. So, no, I'm not going to take on just any work offer that comes along. I want to make a difference for you by making it easier and faster for you to make a difference in your role. If we can succeed in that, good things will happen for both of us.
I look forward to meeting you!