Demand Activity Plays
Review of Benefits
Reminder of some high level benefits that our redesigning to a more Agile at Scale organisation will enable:
- Minimise hand-offs with empowered cross functional Teams
- Increase speed of decision making with reduced layers of work management and leadership
- Increase transparency of the work and the who will be doing the work, reducing checker roles
- Blocker visibility with clear ownership and escalation paths
- Tighter alignment to business outcomes and strategies
- Clear goals, measures and ownership increasing employee engagement
- Consistency across the organisation in design and ways of working
- Strategy to outcomes cost modelling
- Enhance prioritisation
Choose the area or areas of the organisation that will be transforming for this round, be clear and specific what is and is not included. Most success has been seen when the whole organisation or at least multiple business units have been transformed at once; these should be aligned to value streams and include but not be solely limited to IT/tech (see: 2021 Business Agility report key findings p.6, detail p.15).
Having the strategic organisations outcomes clearly and measurably defined as this will help the business units create their aligned outcomes and in turn define the purpose and out comes of each grouping of teams.
Creating Design Guidelines
Provide organisational design guidelines that will offer guidance on how the new transformed structure should look and feel from delivery perspective, the talent requests/demands need to be supplied to for successful delivery.some things to consider:
- How will the new structure be aligned to firstly the customer along with the type of organisation, is the alignment around market segments, services delivered, product types, individual products or something else. We use the term Value Stream to mean how we deliver a discrete piece of value to the end customer.
- Have the strategic organisations outcomes clearly and measurably defined as this will help the business units create their aligned outcomes, which in turn defines the purpose and out comes of each grouping of teams.
- How may layers or lines of reporting are possible, the goal here is to minimise the number of layers allowing ownership and decision making closer to where the work is done, clearer and more rapid.
- What is the desired type of organisational groupings and their sizes at each of the layers, some examples are:
- Team grouping 8-15 individuals
- Groupings of teams up-to 150 individuals
- Business Units 500 up-to say a maximum of 1500 individuals
- Define any Specialised role types at each of the layers and start defining how these roles fit into the new structure along with their responsibilities. This may include:
- Product Owner
- Group of Teams Owner (can also be a product owner)
- Business Unit of Function owner
- Srum Master
Generally Organisation Function and Business Unit supply supporting roles to the Teams responsible for delivering.
Delivery Grouping Construction
- Select which Groupings will be delivering which business outcome(s) this will help understand the number of and types of skill/capabilities required to deliver them. If possible try not to have multiple groups delivering the same business outcome as it will increase dependancies and reduce ownership.
- design the number teams and what will be the expectation of their delivery contribution, again the more a single team can own a full piece of work the higher the chances of success.
- build out the teams with the number and types of skill/capabilities need in the teams to deliver, where ever possible it is best to work with the team if it already exists.
- What skills / capabilities will the grouping provide to support the delivery teams whilst also removing distractions, impediments and other admin task. Some example roles:
- grouping owner
- way of working Enablers
- grouping coach
- grouping scrum master
- technical Enabler
- security expert
- business Enabler
Talent to Demand Needs
- Start putting the names of individuals currently known that are already be doing the work in some form against the demand design needs created in the Delivery Grouping Construction stage above. Depending on the transformation the organisation has gone through the matching of Talent to the demand needs could be done by the Talent supply leads.
- It may be possible or make sense to move whole existing teams into the newly built Grouping design.
- This will then highlight where there may be challenges filling roles or glut of people that can be mapped to other groupings or teams.
- Once complete this will provide good visability into the to the organisations talent pools: available today, available internally within 3-6mo with training, need to be recruited/sourced from outside
Balance with Priorities
A form of 'Market Place' makes visible the constraints that exist for the parts of the organisation that are undergoing this transformation. The constraint challenges at a high level will generally be around available or capacity talent and funding.
- Show the capacity contains for the number of people required to do the work with in each team and group. It may mean that some teams will need to fold together.
- There is nearly always more work than people, understanding the capacity constraints will help prioritise what it is really important.
- Funding also plays an important constraint against the work and the number of people, again this constraint will help focus on the important work.
- Using the organisations strategies, people constraints and funding constraints, Prioritise the highest delivered value and strategic work while keeping the customer at front of mind.
- With all the new constraint information this generally leads to revisiting outcomes and capacity that will be made available for each team and grouping
- Capture where future recruitment, cross training or up skill will meet future skill and capacity needs to help the future of the organisation achieve its customers goals.
- Often there is a process with some iterations where visibility is honed and conversations continue attempting to resolve contention and constraints (eg cost).
- On the completion of market place the following should clearly defined and agreed on:
- Groupings and their teams
- Agreed and locked funding
- The people that will provide the capacity within the Resources grouping and teams
- The time period before next design review, example quarterly seems to be common in larger organisations.
Both the Delivery demand and Talent supply groupings need to work together to ensure that individuals feel secure, confident and informed.
Transparency, trust and communications play key roles in a transforming organisation, once it is possible clearly communicated to individuals that are effected by the new structure and team designs letting them know the following minimum information:
- There role in the new ways of working structure
- Expectations of them in their role
- What team they will be members and who are the other members in the team
- Who has an Agile specialist role with in the team and what is the purpose of the role
- What other teams are in the grouping
- Who is the grouping owner
If only areas of the organisation are transforming, it is also just as important to let the rest of the organisation know what is going on to avoid rumours and panic.
Kickoff (start) Event for Groupings
These events bring everyone together (live or virtually) so that the same message is delivered and received by all. Some of the things that should be covered off are
Expectations with in the group like
- The expected interactions with in the Grouping
- cadences (example showcases, sprint lengths, Group meetings)
- Best way for teams to interact with in the group
- How impediments can be managed or raised.
- Who are the grouping Enablers and best way to interact and maximise their value.
- How product owners with in the team will provide
- delivery expectation of the teams
- Radiation of team progress
Try, Learn, Iterate
Implementing and running the new organisational design will provide an abundance of learnings, a regular cadence should be in place to ensure that these learnings are reviewed and implemented. Try not to implement all things all the time, this will lead to change fatigue and potentially confusion, pick the items that will provide the highest team delivery outcomes. Some examples of what has worked is
- Quarterly Business Review in alignment with business and outcome based reviews
- this is when any business change in priorities occue
- work that needs to be stopped is called out, either not providing value, enough has already been realised, business priority change or other market conditions.
- Enhance forward looking talent need forecasts; giving the Talent supply areas of the organisation better understanding of what and how the needs of the organisation are changing.
While the work is being reviewed an changed its a great time to implement some of the organisation design learning
Remember the goal is to make the organisational design align as best as possible to the desired outcomes in service of the customer, bring the right work to the right people and empowering those people to make the decisions needed to deliver.