Many organizations won’t survive the next decade. Of those that survive, even they are likely to be extinct before century’s end — especially the largest of contemporary organizations.
I was thinking today of a few essential adaptations that enterprises must make immediately in order to stave off their own almost-inevitable death.
With Regard to Business Strategy
- Measure value delivered and make decisions empirically based on those data.
- Strive toward a single profit-and-loss statement. Understand which value streams contribute to profit, yes, but minimize fine-grained inspection of cost.
- Direct-to-consumer, small-batch delivery is winning. It will continue to win.
With Regard to People
- Heed Conway’s Law. Understand that patterns of communication between workers directly effect the design and structure of their results. Organize staff flexibly and in a way which resembles future states or ‘desired next-states’ so those people produce the future or desired next-architectures. This implies that functional business units and structures based on shared services must be disassembled; instead, organize people around products and then finance the work as long-term initiatives instead of finite projects.
- Distribute all decision-making to people closest to the market and assess their effectiveness by their results; ensure they interact directly with end users and measure (primarily) trailing indicators of value delivered. Influence decision-making with guiding principles, not policies.
- The words ‘manager’ and ‘management’ are derogatory terms and not to be used anymore.
- Teams are the performance unit, not individuals. Get over it.
With Regard to Technology
- Technical excellence must be known by all to be the enabler of agility.
- Technical excellence cannot be purchased — it is an aspect of organizational culture.
For example, in the realm of software delivery, extremely high levels of quality are found in organizations with the shortest median times-to-market and the most code deployments per minute. The topic of Continuous Delivery is so important currently because reports show a direct correlation between (a) the frequency of deployment and (b) quality.
That is, as teams learn to deploy more frequently, their time-to-market (lead time), recovery rates, and success rates all change for the better — dramatically!
I have a theory which is exemplified in the following graph.
Sabine’s Principle of Cumulative Quality Advantage Explained
As the intervals between deployments decrease (blue/descending line)
…quality increases (gold/ascending line)
…and the amount & cost of technical debt decreases (red area)
…and competitive advantage accumulates (green area).
Note: The cusp between red and green area represents the turning point an organization makes from responding to defects to preventing them.
This is a repost from David’s original article at tumblr.davesabine.com.
This post is inspired in part by these awesome texts:
- Mishkin Berteig’s article: Refactor or Die
- The Manifesto for Agile Software Development
- Building Cloud Value by Mary Allen & Michael O’Neil
- Measuring DevOps: the Key Metrics that Matter by Anders Wallgren
- Darel Hardy’s animation