Zone to win and UX (Performance Zone)

Zone to win is a book by Geoffrey Moore, in which he presents a framework on how to manage a corporation during a time of disruption. You begin by splitting the company up into 4 zones and then manage each one separately. In turn, this has an impact on the UX strategy, which has to be adjusted for each zone.

In this initial blog, I am covering the Performance Zone, and in my upcoming blogs, I will cover the other zones (Productivity Zone, Incubation Zone, and Transformation Zone).

Performance Zone

The Performance Zone contains the bulk of all mission critical products/services in the company. These are the company’s “Cash Cows” (usually over 90% of revenue is generated from products/services in this zone). Therefore, this zone also consists of a large portion of the company’s employees.

The goal in this zone is focused on sustaining innovation, and the time horizon is for the next fiscal year. Basically, the company needs to make sure they make “the numbers” every quarter.

If a company’s overall strategy is to grow, it would require them to expand the offerings to new market segments or offer new products/services. Therefore, the main problem for initiatives in the Performance Zone within a growth focused company, is to manage the allocation of resources.

On the other hand, if the company primarily tries to protect its market shares, their primary goal is to retain customers. In other words, they don’t focus on attracting new customers, just keeping the ones they already have from deserting them and going to a competitor. Because of this, the R&D initiatives are primarily focused on making your products “good enough”.

Most of UX professionals work in this Performance Zone since it contains the bulk of the products/services that the company offers. If the company is focusing on growth, it is important to manage the UX resources closely. They should not be spread too thin. Instead, it is better to focus on some projects and make sure they are staffed appropriately.

If the company is going through a transformation (they invest heavily in new technology), the primary focus should be on projects that align well with the initiatives in the Transformation Zone. Thereafter, a ranking of projects needs to be made. There are many components that need to be taken into account, but make sure to include the following:

  • Severity of the user pain point you would be solving – higher pain, the more you can charge for the solution.
  • Market potential – the larger market, the more you can sell.
  • Internal capabilities – if you can weave together many internal capabilities/products to deliver a superior solution to the user pain, the harder it will be for competitors to replicate your offering and you’ll be able to reap the benefits for a longer time.

Alternatively, if the company is primarily trying to protect their market shares, the UX team needs to be spread out on many projects to maintain the products/services to be “good enough”. This means that the company may need to be staffed with more UX generalists compared to when the company can focus on specific projects and can allocate many UX resources to one initiative.

Next blog post will cover the Productivity Zone

© David Juhlin and www.davidjuhlin.com, 2017

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