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How Microsoft is making the
culture change to Lean
Cindy Alvarez
@cindyalvarez
How do you change a culture of 8,000
people across the world?
https://thenounproject.com/mordariu
https://thenounproject.c...
NO:
Top-down mandate
Organic bottom-up adoption
Consistent roll-out to everyone
Flip the switch
TRY:
Set cultural expectations
Experiment
Offer different paths
Embrace skepticism
Highlight best practices
Practitioner e...
QUESTIONS:
Is your budget tiny, big, or non-existent?
Do you have top-down executive support?
Are you under a deadline?
Ho...
What we’ve tried
Pros and cons
Investment required
https://thenounproject.com/crumen
If you want to be a gardener, start by
keeping a potted plant alive.
https://thenounproject.com/deepika8
https://thenounproject.com/Bloom
MVP: We sent a team through an external
startup accelerator program
Plant a few seeds early so you can
watch how they grow.
https://thenounproject.com/yummin
https://thenounproject.com/zidney0
MVP iteration: We shortened the training and
brought it in-house
Endorsing cultural change from top-
down is necessary (but not sufficient)
https://thenounproject.com/korawan_
https://thenounproject.com/grega.cresn
Endorsing cultural change: Workshops for all
of senior leadership, attendance expec...
Propagate faster growth through
cuttings.
https://thenounproject.com/suji.rs1
https://thenounproject.com/jmkeuni
Coaching: Teams embedded with internal
customer development ‘experts’
Every plant has different ideal growing
conditions.
https://thenounproject.com/julia.kita
https://thenounproject.com/lerem
Customize: Meet small teams where they are
today
After some progress, there’s
still an uphill battle.
Now what?
https://thenounproject.com/lerem
https://thenounproject.com/lerem
Foster community: Peer mentoring to share
best practices
https://thenounproject.com/wkwan
Share the love: Newsletter to praise the
people who are learning and taking risks
https://thenounproject.com/lerem
Try a ninja: Bring in an expert with minimal
constraints
What will happen next? We
don’t know.
We are learning to embrace
uncertainty.
Let’s learn from each other…
cindy@cindyalva...
MVP: We sent a team through an external
startup accelerator program
‘Air cover’ from judgment
Permission to break from ‘no...
MVP iteration: We shortened the training and
brought it in-house
Less time commitment
Adapted for our reality
Taught by in...
Endorsing cultural change: Workshops for all
of senior leadership, attendance expected
If the EVP cares about this, you
sh...
Coaching: Teams embedded with internal
customer development ‘experts’
Hands-on practice
Learning from peers
Aha! Epiphanie...
Customize: Meet small teams where they are
today
Customized experience
Freedom to be skeptical
High empowerment ROI for lo...
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How Microsoft is Making the Culture Change from Traditional to Lean, Cindy Alvarez, Principal Design Researcher, Microsoft

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How do you make the culture change from traditional to Lean work? It requires changing behaviors and building new habits and competencies. In this breakout session, Cindy Alvarez will share strategies that Microsoft's Cloud & Enterprise division has employed to help its 8,000+ employees learn new skills, build new habits, and change behaviors. You'll learn the pros and cons of various approaches, what initial investments they required, and which situations they've worked best in. If your leadership is looking to you to recommend a Lean strategy, this session will help you make a recommendation that works best for your organization.

Published in: Business
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How Microsoft is Making the Culture Change from Traditional to Lean, Cindy Alvarez, Principal Design Researcher, Microsoft

  1. 1. How Microsoft is making the culture change to Lean Cindy Alvarez @cindyalvarez
  2. 2. How do you change a culture of 8,000 people across the world? https://thenounproject.com/mordariu https://thenounproject.com/kozin
  3. 3. NO: Top-down mandate Organic bottom-up adoption Consistent roll-out to everyone Flip the switch
  4. 4. TRY: Set cultural expectations Experiment Offer different paths Embrace skepticism Highlight best practices Practitioner evangelists
  5. 5. QUESTIONS: Is your budget tiny, big, or non-existent? Do you have top-down executive support? Are you under a deadline? How skeptical are people? What types of expertise do people trust?
  6. 6. What we’ve tried Pros and cons Investment required https://thenounproject.com/crumen
  7. 7. If you want to be a gardener, start by keeping a potted plant alive. https://thenounproject.com/deepika8
  8. 8. https://thenounproject.com/Bloom MVP: We sent a team through an external startup accelerator program
  9. 9. Plant a few seeds early so you can watch how they grow. https://thenounproject.com/yummin
  10. 10. https://thenounproject.com/zidney0 MVP iteration: We shortened the training and brought it in-house
  11. 11. Endorsing cultural change from top- down is necessary (but not sufficient) https://thenounproject.com/korawan_
  12. 12. https://thenounproject.com/grega.cresn Endorsing cultural change: Workshops for all of senior leadership, attendance expected
  13. 13. Propagate faster growth through cuttings. https://thenounproject.com/suji.rs1
  14. 14. https://thenounproject.com/jmkeuni Coaching: Teams embedded with internal customer development ‘experts’
  15. 15. Every plant has different ideal growing conditions. https://thenounproject.com/julia.kita
  16. 16. https://thenounproject.com/lerem Customize: Meet small teams where they are today
  17. 17. After some progress, there’s still an uphill battle. Now what? https://thenounproject.com/lerem
  18. 18. https://thenounproject.com/lerem Foster community: Peer mentoring to share best practices
  19. 19. https://thenounproject.com/wkwan Share the love: Newsletter to praise the people who are learning and taking risks
  20. 20. https://thenounproject.com/lerem Try a ninja: Bring in an expert with minimal constraints
  21. 21. What will happen next? We don’t know. We are learning to embrace uncertainty. Let’s learn from each other… cindy@cindyalvarez.com @cindyalvarez https://thenounproject.com/Ryaaa
  22. 22. MVP: We sent a team through an external startup accelerator program ‘Air cover’ from judgment Permission to break from ‘normal’ behaviors Created evangelists Minimal upfront administration/planning Aha! epiphanies Major time commitment ‘Not invented here’ Best for net-new projects Not scalable
  23. 23. MVP iteration: We shortened the training and brought it in-house Less time commitment Adapted for our reality Taught by internal employees = more credibility Easier to bring to other locations Still best for net-new projects Less ‘air cover’ for learning new behaviors More philosophy than practice Required dedicated employees
  24. 24. Endorsing cultural change: Workshops for all of senior leadership, attendance expected If the EVP cares about this, you should too Allows leaders to express skepticism openly Taught by internal employee = more credibility One-time only More philosophy than practice Generalized by necessity
  25. 25. Coaching: Teams embedded with internal customer development ‘experts’ Hands-on practice Learning from peers Aha! Epiphanies Customized experience Substantial time commitment Requires prep work Scheduling is tricky Not scalable
  26. 26. Customize: Meet small teams where they are today Customized experience Freedom to be skeptical High empowerment ROI for low time commitment Requires a trainer with improv skills Not scalable Pull, not push

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