by Bruno Heufelder and Nicolas Friberg
An integral part of consultancy and software development in a VUCA world - meaning volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguine – is focusing on making feedback loops shorter and more efficient. The agile mindset is spreading within organisations - from agile software development to business or corporate. Here are the 5 major methodology trends we see for 2018.
The business side is affected by how software is being developed. This has an impact in two parts: one is the closer collaboration between business and IT, the other is business organization moving closer towards the customer and applying basics from lean startup, doing a series of small experiments with fast feedback loops on the market. Going public, getting fast market feedback. The learning effect for the organization can be huge. For an organization that aims to increase its agility, it is key to have a closer collaboration with all its stakeholders for being more effective in the market.
We need alignment and transparency through various layers in the hierarchy. In order to be successful, you need to communicate clear vision and give clear goals so that everyone is working in the same direction. This is something that is becoming more and more a key success factor. As an example, we can mention a customer with three different project teams that are not having a common understanding of the goals and are pulling into different directions. As a result, the project is stuck for several months. An agile leader encourages cross-functional teams to communicate, fail forward, have a common understanding and take responsibility for the decisions. Moving away from a commanding authority figure towards a servant leadership style inspiring with a vision and empowering teams to deliver in a self-organized way.
Lean Portfolio Management
A pain point we are seeing at the moment is, that portfolios are set up in a traditional way whilst development practices and project execution methods have evolved– meaning a traditional project portfolio is blocking a fast execution. Talking about projects improving the own organisation, like a new service, new website etc. lean portfolio management functions with a given goal and a given budget. It distributes decision making whilst upholding accountability. This means, splitting budget and work. As long as the delivery is aligned with the mission and within the budget, decisions are taken fast without asking the higher hierarchy and carry accountability and responsibility for the decision taken. To sum up the benefit in a few words; decision making is faster and better informed.
Big Room Planning
In a VUCA world, the complexity is growing and it can’t be managed by a few experts doing the work planning. We see big room planning meetings on the rise; everyone who is involved in the execution is also part of the work planning. It is an All Hands on Deck concept. This means that all involved parties are in the same big room at the same time and plan together. With teams being distributed across functions, big room planning is a very effective method to achieve transparency and alignment. It can also be executed over several locations with the corresponding preparation and communication technology. With big room planning, teams are enabled to plan their work autonomously, cross-team communication is enhanced and misunderstandings avoided so that people communicate face-to-face in a big, even virtual room. It is a means to quickly get all teams and team members together, so that they can self-organise and determine the most efficient means to reach the goal.
We explicitly write (Biz)DevOps. When organizations address DevOps in its full intention the business part is fully integrated in the process, as also proposed by the main experts. (Biz)DevOps has two dimensions to look at. The first one being the Lean / Agile mindset- everything we talked about before - combining the previously mentioned methods. In addition to this we have the second dimension: the technical aspect that enables fast execution feedback loops. It focuses on how (IT) organisations execute fast delivery of software packages to the market and then records and tracks relevant feedback, to keep learning and improving. If you want to improve the practices of getting business needs into production more quickly and reliably, with business involved during the entire lifetime of a project, then this is the way to go.