As a result of their conversation, Arthur and Heather identified the following objectives:
- Reduce the time it takes to produce commission payments from one week to two days.
- Reduce the time required to set up a new commission plan from six weeks to one week (needed every time a new product is created).
- Reduce the time required to set up a new agent from one day to one hour.
They then discussed the characteristics of a desirable solution. As they were talking, Heather used the Purpose-Based Alignment Model (Chapter 12) to identify commissions as a parity activity, and Arthur realized that trying to have unique commission rules for every agent was, in effect, overinvesting in commissions. Data from the existing commission payments indicated that the unique rules did not have a direct impact on what the agents sold, so they were probably not worth the effort that Arthur’s area spent in creating and administering them. Arthur made a note to talk to the sales managers about reducing the complexity of the commission rules.
At this point a team was formed that included Arthur and some of the more experienced members of his staff as well as Heather and a few others from IT. Arthur and Heather described the objectives they had put together and then worked with the team to create decision filters for the project, to make sure everyone was on the same page.
Here are the decision filters they came up with:
- Will this reduce the cycle time for commission payments?
- Will this help us set up a commission plan faster?
- Will this help us set up a new agent faster?