Neutral Advocate

Pivoted to JanaRS - An orchestration platform

Working on a new logo...

​Starting back in 2015, increasingly frustrated with traditional options, ​I (Martin) ​felt that we needed a more nuanced way of engaging teams. In talking to leaders in the IT sector about this challenge, they strongly ​believed there was ​a big challenge ​in the adversarial relationship ​around traditional agreements (between customers, vendors and internal teams). We all ​recognized ​​teams ​work more effectively together when ​aligned around delivery as partners facing the problem together rather than as adversarials. At this time, I returned to university to study conflict and dispute resolution and over 2 years became a qualified mediator.

From early 2018, as an early stage company, we starting experimenting with these very powerful concepts and ideas by building a solution. ​Based on ​the above guidance and new knowledge, we ​leveraged ​collaborative capabilities of Agile-Lean thinking, and introduced conflict resolution ​theory and practice to support the new model for ​team ​relationships.

​As part of our product discovery process, ​IT leaders told us they need:

  • A collaborative alternative to fixed fee and time-based agreements
  • Support for Incremental delivery — the ability to learn and adapt is a must
  • Trust building process — partners are afraid of being taken advantage of
  • Both partners need to be accountable for success as a shared commitment
  • Service providers must commit to deliver (client)
  • Lower risk to drive less cost (client)
  • A straightforward process where earned value for deliverable based work is paid for regularly (service provider)

We also learned as we progressed that ​clients, service providers and ​consultants have their own core highly dynamic needs ​in how this process of negotiation or facilitation should be designed ​and executed. We responded by building based on capabilities that best delivered the key targeted outcomes. Going direct to this point was a mistake, it resulted in too big a change.

​We had built an ​online platform, JANA, that supported:

  • Leaders and Teams that want to incorporate the practice of "Being Accountable Together - BAT"
  • Lean SD - Lean Service Delivery - this introduces operational excellence and continuous improvement around agile initiative
  • Self-Serve Resolution Services - this provides a mechanism for parties to pursue a resolution themselves leveraging the interested based negotiation practice. It also offers support and guidance from neutrals, coaches and mediators. ​​Thereby, enabling clients build a culture of resolution.

​From client feedback, we saw firsthand what implementing "BAT" meant for the team relationships, the level of change and risk involved in making this ​change. ​While we adapted the product to support all billing and risk sharing approaches, we ​had become a methodology company with a product. Not the product company, we wanted to be. 

​Feedback on our self-serve negotiation ​product JANA RS was ​positive without the same adoption issues. ​It was ​being co-created with feedback from ​an HR leader and her department. ​We also learned from conversations with agile coaches, consultants, and leaders that they ​had methods that worked for them and their clients. Our key question became why would they adopt our method and ​determined they would not. ​We had learned that we ​needed to enable our customers to build solutions that work for them. i.e. start where they are. 

​Based on this, in our pivot, our ​role ​is ​a platform provider not ​a solution provider. ​This pivot decision was made in August 2019. We have spent the months since:

  • ​Confirming continued interest in a solution to the problem
  • ​Conceptually designing the solution and ​exploring the new tech ​stack ​through series of experiments.
  • ​​Engaging with ​agile community on problem interviews
  • Expanding and integrating ​team ​on a bootstrap budget (from apartment in a 2nd tier IT city in India - Nagpur)
  • ​Building core tech, features, UX/UI and flow ​to support ​MVP features (sprint retrospectives) ​

​Our next steps are:

  • Launch MVP ​​built for our use. Then ​offer MVP as a sponsored product under a Freemium license to scrum masters/agile coaches.
  • Launch Co-creation Community - we ​continue with problem interviews to the agile community, our target co-creation community. We are very blessed to be part of an amazing community across Canada, US and India. There are high levels of interest and engagement.

Martin West

Passionate about leaders, coaches & facilitators reimagining how teams and people connect, and deliver together

Responsibility: Business Success 

Background: IT services – 20yrs as a vendor – 10yrs as a customer - “made-it-happen” through strong team problem-resolution practices.  Executive & agile leader -  major programs–up to $30M. Bootstrapped JANA. Agility Coach & Qualified mediator.

Sohel Khan

Passionate about technical leadership. Loves coding and everything related to automation. Enjoys challenging work as an Enterprise Application Architect with high performance ​enterprise systems.

Responsibility: ​Product Architect & Technical Delivery

Background: 20yr - full stack developer and architect. Succeeded in transaction-intense middleware environments.  Education: BE in Electronic Design Technology from RKNEC & MSc from KFUPM. And Speaks: Arabic English Hindi

Copyright 2020 Neutral Advocate Ltd