When a plan comes together……

As the second weekend here in Abuja comes to an end, we’ve had another week of incredibly productive work, plus fun and spontaneous adventures along the way!  But, first about the work……………

The beginning of the week started off with more team brainstorming focused on the task at hand:  improving the Federal Capital Territory Administration’s (FCTA) ability to recover revenue from their customers – a complex challenge.  Pouring through notes and interview results after 3 days of speaking with 120+ government leaders in 9 FCTA departments and agencies, plus the IRS, our team dove in and started crafting a framework for the overall strategy and approach.  We quickly developed a process to identify common themes across all agencies based on their challenges and solutions.  We dedicated lots of time to “pitching” each other to sound out and vet our ideas – at times challenged by both intellectual passion and our own set of beliefs.


The Process



Midway through this process, though, we believed our recommendations would be even stronger and “centered” if we could gain a better perspective of the “Voice of the Customer.”   We had already spoken to the leadership of the FCTA, but by connecting with the government employees in all 9 agencies,  we hoped to gain their unique perspectives and candid feedback – ensuring our final recommendations were based on all perspectives.


“Voice of the Customer” Focus Group in action

Pulling together a Focus Group with about 30 employees from all 9 agencies, we used a survey-type of polling tool to gain this feedback.  We met with this Focus Group to explain and distribute the survey – conducting small group, personalized discussions afterwards where we listened to their input and suggestions.  We found these 1:1 conversations to be incredibly valuable and heart-felt.  Once back in our team room, we synthesized the survey results using the Watson sentiment analysis tool to gauge qualitative insights into the employees’ responses – which validated many aspects of our overall point of view.  We’ll be including these results in our final report.

In the end, based on our findings, we settled on 5 major recommendations to address the FCTA’s revenue recovery challenges.  Based on these recommendations, we’re creating unique and prescriptive strategies and solutions that will provide a way forward for the FCTA to begin to tackle their revenue recovery challenge.

My 3 key takeaways from this project so far:

  1. While a time-consuming process, the most impactful and valuable solutions come together when teams take the time to challenge each other’s ideas and recommendations – coming together on a final solution that makes up the sum of many parts.
  2. Customer-centricity is always the heart and soul of the end game. Many times when we hit a blocker in crafting our solutions, we paused, and asked ourselves:  “What’s our clients’ pain points? What outcomes do they want to achieve?”
  3. Outcomes vs outputs drives the best results. Understanding the outcomes you are trying to achieve in the end is the ultimate guidepost – it’s what keeps agile teams from “churning.”

We broke up our intense daily work sessions, with some comic relief in the evenings…. this team surely epitomizes the “work hard, play hard” mindset!  Some especially memorable moments below…


Stay tuned for my next blog on our recent adventures exploring Abuja over the weekend!


1 Comment

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One response to “When a plan comes together……

  1. sigmoidcurves

    Nice summary ! Wish I could write half as well.