Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Thanks to #apmp Socal, the Shipley Capture Guide is on my reading list

Back in 2009, I went to a conference and won a book as a prize, and a guy named Larry was involved. I wrote about this here. The book in question was Judi Doolittle's PeopleSoft Developer's Guide for PeopleTools & PeopleCode: Create and Distribute High-Performance Applications and Reports. As I noted at the time, this book didn't directly impact me, since I was not working with PeopleSoft:

Now this is not the first time this week that I've been pretty much out of my depth....And I think that I would lose wits with many of the 40,000+ people who are here, including Roger Daltrey and Shooter Jennings.

And of course even that analysis is based upon my role as a product manager in the marketing department. What if my role within my company changes?

This is a literary technique known as foreshadowing. I had already performed some fore-foreshadowing the previous week, in a post in which I discussed some changes at a company called Shipley Associates.

Later that same month, I publicly wrote about a change in my role within my company, stating that I was no longer a product manager in the marketing department, but was (again) a proposal writer, and therefore very interested in what companies such as Shipley Associates were doing.

OK, let's fast forward to 2012. Last week, I went to a conference (this year's APMP Socal Training Day) and won a book as a prize, and a guy named Larry was involved. But this time, Larry wasn't the head of the company that sold the product mentioned in the book. This time, Larry was the book's author.

The book in question is the Shipley Capture Guide, written by Larry Newman of the aforementioned Shipley Associates. If you want to buy the book yourself, Amazon sells it (although as I write this, superstorm Sandy may be adversely affecting Amazon delivery times).

Oh, and for FTC disclosure purposes, I should note that this book has a price that ranges between $83.99 and $119.

The book is packed within information about capture planning, which is defined as an early phase in winning a business deal. (The proposal itself is a later phase in this process.) Newman defines capture planning as follows:

The AIM of capture planning is to progress from an initial unknown position to a favored position as viewed by the customer. Initially, the customer is unknown by the seller and the seller is unknown by the customer. Your initial UNKNOWN seller's position is ignorance about customer needs, the customer's view of your organization, and your relative competitive position.

Now some of you may read this and say that it doesn't apply to you. You know your customer, and you know your customer's needs. Or do you? I've been involved in at least one situation in which we had enjoyed a business relationship with a customer for decades - and the next thing we knew, the customer was scheduling meetings with all of our competitors. Obviously something went awry in that relationship, and it could go awry in any relationship.

(To take a more recent example, could anyone have envisioned the day in which Joe Paterno would be fired by Penn State? We were all operating with insufficient information.)

I will definitely be reading this book, not only because of its impact upon my job, but because it coincidentally relates to a topic that I'll briefly address in my ebook - but only briefly.


P.S. I actually won two prizes at the APMP Socal Training Day. In addition to the book, which was donated by Shipley Associates, I also won an Amazon gift card that was donated by the 24 Hour Company. (I've blogged about this company before.) However, I probably won't be using that gift for business purposes.
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