When transforming to a Product-centric organization, People, Processes and Technology are the key elements for executing the transformation. People do the work; Processes make the work more efficient and Technology is used to help do the work and automate processes. There needs to be balance among the three to achieve optimal organizational efficiency. Ensure you’re supporting the shift from old-to-new ways of working across all three.
Remove Organizational Silos
Removing silos is key to success. T-shaped, cross-functional teams with both breadth and depth work best. Focus on partnership among members instead of hierarchical order taking, features instead of silos and shared skills instead of specialized skills.
Communities of Practice among people with common technical or business interests encourage a culture of internal networking, collaboration, sharing skills and advancing the knowledge in their domain of interest. Communities of Practice foster an open culture based on Agile principles and encourage staff autonomy, mastery and purpose beyond an individual’s specific functional role.
Agile Center of Excellence
Establish an Agile Center of Excellence to serve as a governing body and to lay out Best Practices. Dedicate a leader from the Director or Senior Director level who is empowered to make decisions. The leader must be aligned with the organization’s vision and strategy and have empathy for the psychological safety of the team. Encourage local leaders to come together and support Agile Coaches and Scrum Masters as eyes and ears on the ground.
Incremental Roll Out Strategy
Create an incremental roll out strategy that includes the following five steps.
Assess: Use a SWOT analysis and start with culture first.
Identify Roll-out Phases: Create a sense of urgency and train and identify meaningful metrics.
Lead the Transformation: Plan for success and identify leaders at multiple levels.
Execute across the Enterprise: Define roles, responsibilities and value delivery.
Check: Take the pulse periodically and adjust where necessary.
Adopt a holistic Product Management approach such as xScion’s Product Genome. It’s a blueprint of a product’s value that provides a clear understanding of the problem a product addresses with a focus on discovering customer needs. The systematic approach and customer focus ensure the most useful product is built in the most predictable and Agile manner while reducing time-to-value.
Product Genome Key Elements
Problem Space Definition. To define the problem space, leverage activities like voice of customer analysis and conduct market research to generate customer feedback.
Product Vision. A well-defined product vision identifies the user, the reason behind the product and the key differentiating factors.
Product Genome Creation. The Product Genome is the comprehensive blueprint of the product and its value. It incorporates the Product Vision, including well-defined business value and mapping, to guide the product in the right direction.
Solution Space. The Solution Space indicates how the product is designed and the people, processes and technology that will be used to address the customer’s problem. It lays the groundwork for development starting with “just enough” to establish customer feedback loops that drive the development process. The Problem Space indicates customer needs and answers the “what” question. The Solution Space answers the “how” questions.
Product Development. Having a well-defined Agile Product Delivery process in place helps to speed track development. A robust continuous integration/continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline allows for rapid deployment and scaling, drastically improving go-to market timelines.
Whether it is Product Genome or some other framework, picture the business operations as a system that defines the Problem space, establishes the “why,” creates feedback loops and develops products in iterations where teams learn from users each step of the way to create the best solution. Then examine ways to optimize and continuously improve the system and the products and value it delivers.
New technology provides the tools to enhance your transformation. Cloud technology can make your IT leaner, faster, more flexible, reliable and secure while reducing costs and increasing capability.
Lift and Shift
Organizations are migrating their legacy technology and applications to Cloud-based infrastructure to reduce cost and improve performance and resilience. This sort of migration is called lift and shift and it refers to moving technology, applications and associated data to Cloud infrastructure without any redesign. It allows organizations to transfer their existing business workflows, logic and data to a more extensive Cloud architecture and potential modernization.
New Technology Adoption
Leveraging Cloud services advances IT capabilities and provides advanced tools and automation that allow organizations to streamline their work and gain efficiencies that are truly transformative. Cloud native technology such as built-in tools equip organizations with the ability to rapidly build and deploy applications to be more responsive to internal and external customers.
A common challenge with new Cloud technology is the initial knowledge gaps for internal IT staff. A sound strategy to develop competencies among your IT staff is to work with them directly from the beginning of the process and train while they implement. This ensures they learn skills that apply directly to the proper business context, and they learn them while on the job, delivering value.
Shifting to a Product-centric, Agile business approach is a journey not a destination. The journey is built on the same principles incremental product development is built on with feedback loops and continuous improvement to rapidly respond to changing conditions. When changing the culture, start small, achieve early wins to demonstrate effectiveness and then build momentum for change. Adopt and implement processes that reflect a Product mindset of learning, discovery and improvement. Implementing new technology available through Cloud can truly transform your capabilities.
Download the Transform Your People, Process and Technology infographic that is the third part of our Become a Product-centric Organization series for a framework for approaching your People, Process and Management to achieve organizational efficiency.