A product team is not the answer

group of people huddling
Photo by Perry Grone on Unsplash

You can’t move for people talking about the project to product journey lately. Getting organisations to start mapping out what their products are so they can build cross-functional teams around them. Projects are transitory and lose us all of the learning, we want long-lived squads! While these sentiments are all rock-solid, unfortunately, they’re missing the point. I’m going to be controversial and say that creating a product team simply isn’t good enough. What you actually need is outcome alignment.

Continue reading “A product team is not the answer”

Business outcome alignment

Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN on Unsplash

One of the largest challenges preventing organisations from competing effectively in the market is their structure. When you are optimised for technology or role, then you are not optimised for customer value. But how do you actually get there? What does good look like for your organisation if you went back to the drawing board? I’m going to share a process I’ve developed for redesigning a system for outcome alignment.

Note that this is not going to be a full article on digital transformation or strategic redesign. I am simply going to focus on the guiding principles and a specific approach to assist in exploring an outcome aligned design.

Continue reading “Business outcome alignment”

Lean PMO

A runner on the starting block.

Where We Stand

The role of the project manager in Agile is often a complicated one. While there is little concrete direction by many of the frameworks, it is often understood that a traditional project manager may often find themselves moving into a Scrum Master or Product Owner role. The intent behind this guidance is clear, there’s no need for a Project Management Office (PMO) where we’re going. I disagree. Let me introduce the Lean PMO.

Continue reading “Lean PMO”

Dependency Chain modelling

A rusted chain
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

A dependency chain is where you have a number of functions that all need to do some part of a piece of work in order to fully deliver it. These functions complete their part and then pass it along to another.

In my last article I showed why your IT requests were likely taking so much longer to service than you expected. But what if you have multiple dependencies chained together? How can you get a rough idea of how long something is going to take when you have a disconnected dependency chain rather than an end to end view of the system. In this article, I’ll explain the process of getting a rough statistical idea of how long something is going to take when you have multiple dependencies all linked together. I’ll explain this through an R script, but the concept is easily transferable.

Continue reading “Dependency Chain modelling”

Why do we have IT delays?

closeup photo of a stop sign
Photo by Kai Pilger on Unsplash

You’ve got a quick job to do so fire it off to an IT team. It should only take around half a day of effort so you expect to hear back by the end of the week. Three weeks later and you’re still waiting. So why is this happening? What is the deal with IT delays?

Apologies in advance to all scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.

Continue reading “Why do we have IT delays?”

The Psychological Impact of IT dependencies

Man wearing white top using MacBook
Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

Over this series, I’ve spoken in detail about the organisational impact of IT dependencies in your system. I’d like to take a diversion and discuss how it can impact the individual.

I posit that even without the work benefits you could derive from eliminating dependencies, the quality of life changes you could bring about would more than pay for the effort.

This isn’t an article about workplace stress, we’re all pretty familiar with its cost to our economy. Nor is this an article about the cost of employee churn. It’s not even about the cost to productivity through disengagement. Let’s move forward knowing the impact of people not being happy.

Continue reading “The Psychological Impact of IT dependencies”

Quick and dirty dependency map automation

horizontal neon lights
Photo by H Shaw on Unsplash

After some of my recent articles on building a dependency map, a few people got in touch asking for tips on actually creating them. Here’s a quick way to get started.

You might have noticed the following example in my previous posts.

Dependency map example

I created the graphic above with an amazing bit of kit called Neo4j. It’s actually an incredibly sophisticated graph database technology, so it almost feels a little sacrilegious to be using it for this.

Continue reading “Quick and dirty dependency map automation”

Dependency Map Analysis

pen on paper showing a graph
Photo by Isaac Smith on Unsplash

If you’re not up to speed on the concept of dependency mapping, then I’d suggest taking a look at my previous post where I talked through how to go about building a dependency map.

So what happens now? You’ve gone through the workshop and now have a bunch of data that’s telling you what? Something about your system? I’m going to run through some of the actions I take when attempting to understand a dependency map.

Continue reading “Dependency Map Analysis”

Dependency Mapping

A large number of coloured cables plugged into a machine.

Recently, I published an article where I discussed the concept of dependency as a proxy for complexity. I also tried to show that complexity is the biggest aspect to consider when attempting to improve the flow of value. This is all part of a concept I call Dependency Mapping.

Following publication of the article, I had a few people who read it on LinkedIn reach out for some advice on actually doing it in their place of work. In this article I will dig deeper into the process by which we can start to map out dependencies. With the map completed, we can then work to remove them.

Dependency maps are going to be messy as they try and convey a huge amount of information. We’ll aim small, and then offer some suggestions for improvement from there.

Continue reading “Dependency Mapping”

Why complexity is killing your business

dependent adjective

de· pen· dent | \ di-ˈpen-dənt  \

determined or conditioned by another

If you ask 10 people why Digital Transformations fail, you’ll get 10 different answers, often with phrases like “buy-in” and “culture” thrown around. Although there isn’t a simple answer to this question, I’d like to talk about one that often gets ignored. Dependencies.

You have a dependency if something is contingent on another, here are some examples:

  • “Getting this work complete is contingent on the tests passing.”
  • “We need the platform team to spin up a test environment before we can run the tests.”
  • “We need to have sign-off before we can allocate time to create the instance.”
Continue reading “Why complexity is killing your business”