Slightly modified, the 2-Minute Isenberg validation test for business ideas, as chronicled in this HBR Blog post on the 2-minute opportunity checklist for entrepreneurs, is a great test to determine which supply management initiative you should run with. Specifically, if you line up your opportunities, the one that scores highest is the one most likely to get the organizational support you need for success and the one that you should focus on in your quest for purchasing fire.
It’s 17 short questions, and I would recommend that you answer yes to at least 13 of them before proceeding with any effort that is going to take a lot of time and resources.
- Will your initiative ease the pain, frustration, or dissatisfaction of someone outside of Supply Management?
- Are there more of these people in the organization?
- Will any of these people commit budget or resources to get it done?
- Will they be able to make a decision to support your initiative quickly?
- Does the initiative exploit and showcase a strength of Supply Management?
- Are you able to bring to bear unique assets in the initiative?
- Can you think of at least two C-Suite executives who will support you?
- Can they commit resources with complementary skill sets?
- Will they see the value that you do?
- Do you have evidence that you will be able to convince a majority of the decision makers that your idea is a good one?
- Will at least one person disagree with you?
- Is the idea compelling enough that your staff will do what it takes to get it done?
- Can you sneak by the trolls in accounting and get it done?
- Can you find someone in the organization who will commit to trying it and help you work out the kinks?
- Can you start without a huge cash outlay up front?
- Can you keep the long-term costs low?
- Does the initiative lay the foundation for future incremental initiatives that will generate more cost reductions and additional value?