A Transformation is too complex for a Big Plan approach

It’s about complexity.

As synthetised by Stacey, a perfect plan can only address a situation where response to your actions remain predictable. Beyond this level of complexity, there comes the dance. And that’s exactly where we are.

3 key factor comes to my mind that makes transforming an organisation too complex for pre-planning / pre-designed approach.

Your organisation will evolve all along

After your first step, the organisation has already evolved to something new. Mindsets have changed, new habits have formed, structure and processes have been changed. Heck, even people will change. It’s already a new territory, and many other steps are due.

Your organisation will react to the change

Your organisation is a living being. Every single individual, every team, every division, branch has their own context, processes and personalities, each one will respond differently. Some changes will be easy here, while extremely difficult there. Variants will appear.
This can’t be predicted.

Some fundamentals will be rocked: culture, beliefs, habits

You are going through an approach that challenges how people work together, how your organisation is structured, and how you do business. I can’t enumerate how many aspects of a business is touched, and I’m discovering new ones with my clients as we go. And so will you.

So what do you need instead of a plan? You need a vision and a strategy, and a system.

Also, you can call me 🙂

Traditional TV becoming digital heroes in 3 years

Context – national TV under pressure to be on the forefront of digital media while facing bare

  • Weekly crashes on production, low level of software and devops practices, distrust between IT and media branches
  • Digital productions under political scrutiny, asked to grow N-fold
  • Working directly with the CTO of the digital division
  • Coaching for 3 years with a pair coach, Jean-Claude Grosjean

Approach: Accompanying Digital division as a whole into an organic transformation

1. Change strategy hand in hand with the CTO

  • Change management addressed early on (establishing urgency, vision, strategy)
  • Weekly strategic follow up

2. Approaching Teams and stakeholders as one

  • Addressing media and IT as joint teams
  • 1o1 coaching of organisational roles: sponsors, agile managers, product managers

3. Organic and adaptive Agile transition in the organisation

  • Going product by product, with consideration of opportunity and strategic consideration
  • Starting with one pilot project, then
  • Coaching of every new projects to run inception and delivery the Agile way
  • Audit of existing projects, on-demand coaching when necessary
  • Always waiting for buy-in from IT and media branches, then both included in the coaching

4. Stabilization and resilience of Agile practices

  • Using simplified Agility metrics to review progress and eventual plateaux
  • Expertise and coaching on-demand with advanced teams to refine and adjust their practices
  • Training internal coaches
  • Creating Circles of Practitioners for various roles and topic of interest

Outcome – state of the art tech and practices help reach several national top audience

  • 300 people coached (IT+business)
  • Several websites and apps becoming Top 3 national audience (FranceTVSport, FranceTVInfo, CultureBox)
  • Achievement praised by government sponsorship
  • Teams now sharing their experience at Tech and Agile conferences
  • Fun fact: a channel asked for an Agile coach in the design phase of a new TV show

How a 5 year old Agile program went through a strategic realignment

A software program stuck after 5 years running in Agile

  • 90-100 actors, 8 teams, 5 year doing Agile (Scrum)
  • metrics were sinking (velocity, business satisfaction)
  • business was about to drop support and funding
  • friction among the teams (“my Agile is better than yours”), and among the roles (support vs dev, PO vs devs, SM vs the world), among the hierarchical lines (3 hierarchy intertwined in the program)
  • an intricate complexity of legacy software services to talk to

A simple goal: project ROI back in the black

  1. Find a breakthrough strategy to turn the situation around
  2. Work better together as team of team

Approach: Strategic coaching + Agile coaching

  1. With program directors and head of division: change management coaching (inspired by Kotter model of change)
  2. With managers and team leaders: strategic coaching as a leadership circle
    • Bi-weekly coaching to become a highly performing team steering the transformation
    • Strategic Planning and Strategic follow up (workshops)
    • Systemic Thinking
    • Agile management coaching
  3. With Scrum Masters, Product Owners, teams: Agile coaching to step up their game
    • reviewing rituals and practices upon team demand (retrospective, planning, story mapping, etc.)
    • dispelling some misleading practices and myths about Agile
    • introducing sharper Agile tools and practices (facilitation skills, roles and responsibilities workshop, advanced retrospective techniques, etc.)

Outcome: a new dynamic and a situation back to green in 6 month

  • 45 days of coaching over 6 month + yearly follow up for 2 years
  • Program on track / out of “red state” after 1 year
  • Leadership circle remains the spinal chord of the project governance
  • Continuous improvement dynamic still vivid at organisation level
  • Hierarchy lines clarified / streamlined
  • Team restructured as Feature Teams
  • PO working hands in hands with their teams

Startup re-aligned on product vision and renew its innovative edge after scaling up

A growing startup loosing focus on product strategy and delivery

• Located in Jakarta, 50 actors among several development teams, 1 market team, 3 managers

• Many features mismatch with users expressed interest or business focus after delivery

• Mix and match bag of online services, disparate look & feel, due to lack of coordinated product approach

• Local culture of conflict avoidance prevents raising problems and nurture hidden conflicts

• Agile practices, first introduced by an internal Agile enthousiast, need an expert to raise the bar and straighten up several practices as the business scales up

• Most profiles are young (under 30), most product owners and Scrum Masters are new to the role and untrained

Approach – organisation aligned on a product vision + coach performance driven behaviors

1. Align CxO & Product Owners on a shared product vision

• Product workshop : 2 days offsite to reframe product vision, targetted users, user experience, story map and roadmap

• Coach Product Owners with attention to leadership posture toward their team

2. Setup entreprise-wide product ownership through LeSS oriented organisation and practices

• Shift organisation toward Feature Teams & Chapters

• Multi-team backlog setup and associated rituals

• Scaled agile estimates & planning

3. Inspire performance driven behaviors in teams

• Coach Scrum Masters as Agile Facilitators

• Use retrospective as a safe space to explore radical candor-type behaviors (caring disagreement, assertive reformulation, personal feedbacks, …)

• Use PDCA to seek improvement opportunities (collective problem analysis, decision follow up)

• Unleash visual management (walls as information radiator)

• Review and improve Agile rituals

A renewed sense of purpose brings a new forward momentum within 2 months

• ⅓ of features were de-prioritized, several team effort redirected toward more disruptive features, bringing more innovation edge

• Taking advantage of this capability, the company entered two new target markets to solidify growth

• Following the work on product vision, CEO led a brainstorm on the entreprise mission and day to day emphasizing on the enterprise culture

• Staff turnover went from standard to none for the next six month, while still scaling up

• Several young profiles stepped up and asked for more involvment in the organisation