Many organizations struggle with how to get started with their digital transformation. They have read the articles, listened to the presentation, and have seen the videos, so they know that they need to work in a new way with new tools, but they still need practical advice on how to get going, and fast. We have an idea that we have tried and seen that it works, we call it beautiful delivery, so let me tell you about that.
But first, let’s start with the big picture, and what the main purpose of your organization is. The most common answer is to maximize the profit, but Peter Drucker had a much more important idea, which was to focus primarily on the customer. The truth is that both matters, but it’s healthy to start with the customer, while at the same time consider the benefit to the business.
So when you understand that your organization has to be obsessed with the customer, you realize that this also has to be your employee’s primary focus, and there are a number of human abilities that are especially important. The first one is compassion, which is about empathy, The next is curiosity, and how we engage to learn something new, which leads to creativity, and the ability to bring things together in new ways. But all of that is useless if we don’t take initiative, commit, and carry out something! In that process, it’s important to use cross-disciplinary thinking, and see things from different perspectives, but also to reach out, and ask others for help. Also, in our world, people are increasingly looking for a purpose, and the most efficient way to motivate people is to put them in control. A way to do that is to create autonomous teams.
So let’s look at a day with an autonomous team:
- 9 am: The morning starts with a new idea the product owner got from a customer on social media. She checks the analytics, and confirms that this could be a problem for many users. She gathers the team, and they talk about how to solve the problem with regards to the customer experience, design, technical solution, and so on. They decide to fix it today.
- 10 am: The product owner, tester, and agile coach starts to write requirements and define tasks. The architect outlines the solution, and the designer sketch the user experience and user interface. One hour later, the team meets to go through everything together, and now have a shared view of what to do.
- The DevOper starts coding and constantly commit while the tester creates automatic tests, which result in new deployments with increasing quality that everyone can try out. Everyone iterates on their parts, and there is a constant synch going on involving everyone.
- 5 pm: When the team is done, which means that they have something that works with high quality, they release it to early adopters, which includes the customer that gave the feedback, and a public response on social media is how the team does marketing. Before they go home, they capture what they learned, and adjust how they work and the tools they use.
Here’s some more on each role (follow the links for a description of each role):
- The main responsibility of the Product Owner is to be the voice of the customer and to represent the stakeholders.
- The main responsibility of the Agile Coach is to make sure that everyone in the team works efficiently together.
- The main responsibility of the Architect is to make sure that the end result rests on a solid technical foundation.
- The main responsibility of the Designer is to make sure that the final result is beautiful, and that it makes the customer happy.
- The main responsibility of the DevOper is to create a solid implementation of the end result and make sure that it runs smooth in operation.
- The main responsibility of the Tester is to make sure that the end result has high quality.
Impressive, so what makes this magic happen?
In addition to the people, it’s about organizational alignment and technology to accomplish quality at speed. The organizational alignement is how to move from hierarchies to autonomous teams, and groups of such teams, all the way to ecosystems that involve partners, and even competitors. The autonomous team is responsible all the way from the customer need to run in production, and everyone in the team is responsible for everything, especially quality. The main part of technology is automation, and the goal is to try and automate everything. It’s also crucial to continuously improve and learn.
Ok, but how do you get there?
- I think you should start with an objective that is important for the business and that has executive support, and ideally, it’s something that the business has been struggling with for a long time. A typical objective is a touch point, like a web, app, bot, or a connected thing, that could benefit as many customers as possible, and that has a clear revenue or cost saving goal.
- Then you should engage an architect to set up a digital cloud platform, which is primarily about allowing the touch points to move faster than the back-end systems. It is the foundations that allow you to create beautiful digital solutions.
- Now it’s time to put together an autonomous team as described above, and let them create their own work environment and tools. Define clear boundaries in the form of a budget and frequency of delivery, like once a month. Make sure that they are not being “killed” by the old ways of working, and let them experiment within the defined boundaries. As they have clear metrics and deliver often, their progress is easy to follow.
When that team is up and running, don’t scale up too fast, and in the beginning, do it one team at a time.
We can help you get started working this way, with a complete team or the tools, like a digital cloud platform, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Here is an introduction video to beautiful delivery:
You can also find a more detailed version on www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BeoBf_ddds.