Let's Build a Product Development Organization!

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A workshop on building agile organizations from small single teams through large numbers of teams including discussions of long term organizational thinking and leadership coaching. Participants will use their current organizations as a starting point and will project them through future growth and challenges.

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Let's Build a Product Development Organization!

  1. 1. Lets Build a Product Development Organization! Kevin Goldsmith, CTO @kevingoldsmith
  2. 2. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Why are we here?
  3. 3. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • A strong development team • A strong small product development organization • A larger product development organization Let’s talk about what it takes to build
  4. 4. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Who am I?
  5. 5. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Long time leader/manager (20+ years) • Microsoft • Adobe • Spotify • Avvo • Early-stage Startups • Teams from 3 to 175 people
  6. 6. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs I’ve learned a lot of lessons.
  7. 7. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs The hard way.
  8. 8. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Who are you?
  9. 9. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Your name • Your current role • The size of your current team • What you hope to learn today Please…
  10. 10. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs What are we doing today?
  11. 11. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • The single team • Building a strong team • The small organization (2-4 teams) • Build a strong organization • The larger organization (4-8 teams) • Building organizations for scale Agenda
  12. 12. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs The most important thing you will learn today
  13. 13. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Be thoughtful. Be deliberate.
  14. 14. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Learn. Adapt.
  15. 15. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Be agile. To a point.
  16. 16. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs People are not software.
  17. 17. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs You cannot continuously deploy organizational changes.
  18. 18. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  19. 19. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Building a strong team
  20. 20. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Why does this team exist?
  21. 21. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Which Skills? • What Roles? • What levels of seniority for each skill? To achieve your mission, what is needed?
  22. 22. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Budget? • Time? • Existing people? What are your constraints?
  23. 23. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Un-agile • Super effective for certain kinds of needs • Deeply technical • Very narrow missions • Given constraints, may be the best approach The team of specialists
  24. 24. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Very agile • Very flexible • Great for certain efforts • Simple problems • Exploration (speed of iteration > depth of iteration) • Given mission may be the best approach The generalist team
  25. 25. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Agile • Somewhat flexible • Great for autonomous teams • Great for velocity • Good for teams that have to support multiple platforms • My preference for consumer product teams The “T-shaped” team
  26. 26. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs What do you think?
  27. 27. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Product • Developers • Test • UX • Agile Coach Team roles
  28. 28. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs True cross-functional teams
  29. 29. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Diverse teams
  30. 30. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Diverse teams produce better results • Diversity is along many axes • Personality • Experience level • Human (ie: in your DNA) Diversity
  31. 31. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Great ways to understand team • DiSC • SDI (Strength Development Inventory) • Myers-Briggs • Looking to build a set of balanced approaches to problem solving • Create healthy tension Personality Diversity
  32. 32. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Balance of experiences and approaches • Create a mentoring culture • Build the next set of technical leaders Experience Diversity
  33. 33. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Spider Maps are great tools for this. Understanding current team strengths
  34. 34. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  35. 35. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  36. 36. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  37. 37. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Exercise
  38. 38. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Create a spider map of the diversity of your current team. Choose any axes that make sense for you. Have you learned anything about the strengths and weaknesses of your current team from this exercise? If you were going to hire someone new, would this help inform for the kind of person that you should look for? Map your current team
  39. 39. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs The small organization
  40. 40. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs What is a team in your organization?
  41. 41. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • When is a new team created? • What roles are required? • What skills are needed? • What is the process for selecting members of the team? • What is the mission of the team? • What is the lifetime of the team? • What choices can the team make and which are prescribed? Creating teams deliberately
  42. 42. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • You need complete coverage • Overlapping missions leads to turf battles between teams • Distinct missions leads to things “falling between the chairs” Team mission paradox
  43. 43. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • How does a team wind down? • What happens to the artifacts that the team created? Ending a team
  44. 44. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Team leadership
  45. 45. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  46. 46. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  47. 47. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  48. 48. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  49. 49. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  50. 50. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs
  51. 51. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs No Leaders = No Leadership
  52. 52. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs No Leaders = No Managers
  53. 53. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs It depends on the larger organization structure, and company-defined roles as well as company culture. How to decide on leadership structure?
  54. 54. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • How are decisions made? • How are responsibilities split? • How to avoid decision-making bottlenecks? • How are disputes resolved? Leadership structure gotchas
  55. 55. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs What is the leadership structure of your teams today?
  56. 56. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Reporting structure vs team structure
  57. 57. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Aligned reporting / teams
  58. 58. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Plusses • clear alignment • clear accountability • cross-functional leadership opportunities (potentially) Aligned reporting / teams
  59. 59. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Minuses • lack of mobility/flexibility • maximizing locally • functional silos / blame game (potentially) Aligned reporting / teams
  60. 60. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Matrix organization
  61. 61. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Plusses • mobility / flexibility • global maximization • Minuses • lack of clear accountability • lack of alignment Matrix organization
  62. 62. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Sociocracy / Holocracy • Zappos • Slack • Self-organizing / democracy • WL Gore Other Organization models
  63. 63. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Self-organizing / no manager • Valve • Qumulo • Github Other Organization models
  64. 64. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Career development • Mentoring • Salary setting • Handling personal issues • Handling organization issues • tie-braking Jobs to be done in no-manager organizations
  65. 65. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Discussion
  66. 66. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Information flows
  67. 67. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs When your organization grows, communication is the first casualty.
  68. 68. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Team meetings • Town halls • E-mail • Wiki / Confluence / etc… Formal communication
  69. 69. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Give context • Inform • Top-down Formal communication
  70. 70. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Functional (formal or informal) organizations • Guilds • Clubs • Mailing lists • Slack-channels • Point-to-point • Lunch-roulette / fika Informal communication
  71. 71. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs When to split?
  72. 72. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Team size / effectiveness • Team dynamics • New opportunity / priority • Mission-growth Split based on
  73. 73. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Organization growth patterns / budget • How will this impact future decisions • What is your primary reason? • team effectiveness? • velocity? • throughput? Considerations
  74. 74. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Deliberate • hire in new team? • seed new teams with senior folks and new people? • leadership-led (need buy in from individuals) Splitting techniques
  75. 75. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Self-organization • need guiderails / constraints • guarantee successful outcome Splitting techniques
  76. 76. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Skill matching / match-game • “I’m good at this” • “I want to learn this” • leadership tries to match up skills/desires to team needs Splitting techniques
  77. 77. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Be mindful of the humans!
  78. 78. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs What about the people who end up with no chair?
  79. 79. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Conway’s law
  80. 80. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs - Melvin Conway (paraphrased) Any piece of software reflects the organizational structure that produced it.
  81. 81. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Structure your organization to reflect the desired software architectural model. Reverse Conway Maneuver
  82. 82. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs discussion
  83. 83. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Spread the skills that are critical for organizational or technical improvement. Decentralize what you want to be good at
  84. 84. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Centralize rare skills initially, and build capability (via hiring or training). As you establish skills with a broader base, decentralize responsibility to larger organization. Centralize -> decentralize pattern
  85. 85. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs The larger organization
  86. 86. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Larger organizations have the same issues as smaller organizations. Larger organizational issues
  87. 87. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Larger organizations have the same issues as smaller organizations… Just more so. Larger organizational issues
  88. 88. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • As the organization grows, watch for issues arising • Solve them not just for today, but for continued growth • Put an expected life-time on a process based on size • Have a replacement ready beforehand Be deliberate!
  89. 89. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs • Larger organizations require more process to operate, but the process can quickly overwhelm and slow down the organization. • Have just enough, but not too much. • Maybe just slightly less than enough. • Look for processes that are hurting and remove them. • MINIMUM VIABLE BUREAUCRACY Be deliberate!
  90. 90. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Q&A / Open Topics / Lean Coffee
  91. 91. @kevingoldsmith #buildingorgs Thank you!

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