As organizations pivot to new realities — refining business models, adopting new technologies and adjusting to changing competitive landscapes — software teams are tasked with taking on a new vision and transforming the way they do business.
“The best plans of mice and men often go awry.”
Ensuring business continuity while in crisis management mode requires the right mix of technology, patience and agility. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something can — and frequently will — go wrong. In times of heightened anxiety and stress, we must change the way we lead. All too often, investors and management in technology-enabled organizations are unclear about the progress being made. When teams spend time trying to convince them, it is with minimal data.
The solution: Engage people in the right way, at the right time, with the right information.
To start, we find it essential to recognize the typical pitfalls to avoid. The pitfalls we typically see are:
- Lack of urgency or buy-in on the need to change
- Unclear or unrealistic expectations
- Lots of activity but little measurable progress
- Initiative loses momentum and executive interest
- Perception driven decision-making
- Extended feedback loops
We frequently see organizations rebooting an effort from where they left off, rather than collecting data and adjusting to achieve the new desired result.
The following are some key principles for driving measurable change in software development and avoiding the most common pitfalls to progress.
COVID-19 has challenged how many companies manage their organization. The global pandemic is the spark that has coalesced organizations on the need and urgency for driving change with measurable results. In the short term, organizations are adapting the scope of their business plans and long-term, they must adapt as they continue to make progress on their original goals.
The opportunities lie in understanding the small set of critical levers to pull that will have the most significant impact in achieving the desired result. While several levers could be removed in most businesses, it is important to identify which activities are most important and can deliver the desired results in the fastest time. Initial levers often include cost optimization initiatives.
Vision and roadmap
This is all about creating a compelling vision that gains the support of the organization and motivation of the team. Think of what what success looks like in the future — along with measurable success criteria and timeframe for progress. As you scale up and pivot your evolving strategy, start redesigning your roadmap for this new reality.
All businesses are scrambling to cope with the highly uncertain and rapidly evolving business landscape. Assess your team to ensure they are aligned around the critical initiatives to your business. This step is necessary to ensure the team is capable of delivering on the necessary changes.
- Are they motivated to make change happen?
- Do they understand and accept the call to action?
- Do they have the skills and training to execute?
Progress executing change loses momentum very quickly and is not sustainable if it conflicts with the teams’ day job of releasing great software. It is critical that the improvement opportunities are integrated with your development process to keep the momentum and achieve the result. Opportunities are on the backlog, have measurable definitions of done for success criteria, and are included in retrospectives and status reviews.
We can measure our progress on technology with some simple planning and disciplines. Not only will this kind of planning de-risk complex initiatives it can also help to diagnose and solve problematic areas and deliver continuous improvement.
We’ve helped several investors and companies accelerate business impact. Contact us to learn more about some of our transformation success stories.