There are countless ways to think about what it takes to transform. In IT we talk about transforming all the time. Without context, it can feel like a throwaway word. In fact, organizations are always transforming. We modernize our technology, processes, and teams. We repair, recondition, and refurbish our hardware and software systems. We make adjustments, revamp our methodology, renew our policies, and mend working relationships with collaboration. But at some point, it becomes something bigger. Someone makes a conscious decision to implement a Transformation.
For IT teams that are working hard, adapting, making adjustments, and always investing in getting better, a formal Transformation initiative can be taken very personally. What is a transformation going to take? Does it mean that what we have done is not good enough? How will it impact our current day to day? What about all the effort and time (years!) we just spent “modernizing IT and implementing change?”
If we look at it from a pure business perspective, it’s no shock that organizations must constantly adapt to changing macro conditions. In fact, when change is embraced it can foster innovation and make products and services better for customers. And those that do it well, not only survive but become market leaders. Right now, business and IT leaders are faced with:
- Delivering high value to customers at a rapid pace
- Ensuring superior user experiences
- Dealing with a very low tolerance for “things not working”
And don’t forget, reducing cost is always expected to occur in parallel!
Embracing a New Mindset
Software delivery velocity with exceptional quality is a lofty goal. But it can be achieved if the organization embraces a mindset of Continuous Transformation. Continuous Transformation enables an organization to absorb change consistently and efficiently as part of the day-to-day processes and procedures—making changes as needed while embedding new methods and capabilities continuously. Of course, continuous implies teams are working with agility.
Characteristics of continuous transformation include:
- It is enterprise level, multi-stream, and involves the entire organization.
- Leadership actively participates, supporting and socializing why change is critically important to the future of the business as well as the team.
- People evolve—How they work, the processes they follow, the tools they use. This evolution is challenging but rewarding.
- Change is implemented iteratively—respectful of current operations but pursues an ongoing series of specific objectives that lead to a better “Model State”.
Successful Continuous Transformation requires assembling a team of subject matter experts from various parts of the organization (or external experts) who focus on the following workstreams:
- Managing organizational change
- Designing high-velocity workflows and processes
- Architecting technical tool frameworks
- Modeling behaviors for adoption
- Training via formal instruction and individual mentoring.
6 Guiding Principles
When partnering with clients to enable Continuous Transformation, we follow six guiding principles:
- Build for your future, whatever it is (Agile, DevOps, etc.)
- Define/architect an initial “Model State” to guide your journey.
- Attack and put fires out early.
- Take advantage of the team’s tribal knowledge and skills—Co-engineer solutions with the people who use them.
- Implement incrementally, think globally.
- Look for opportunities to introduce technology accelerators.
Are you considering a transformation or already embarking on one? Consider the ideas in this article and embrace the concept of Continuous Transformation. Organizations that do can benefit from faster response to change as it happens—maximizing business impact, smoothing the “bumps” and continually becoming better.