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Organization, Architecture, Autonomy, and Accountability

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Many consider agile a process to implement within an existing organization. A set of rules to follow that will produce some useful outcomes. This approach can provide improvements in many different structures of organizations. As agile maturity improves, however, the benefits can become limited by the structure and culture of the organization itself. Agile is more than a framework for organizing tasks for a team. Agile is a culture, a mindset and a structure for improving the velocity of innovation and providing real business value to customers. To gain the most benefit from Agile it must be considered as part of a more extensive system that incorporates organizational structure, software architecture, and company culture. This talk considers the interactions between how the work, the software, and the people are organized in high performing agile organizations. Using my own experiences at companies large and small, I will share what I have learned and some best practices I use. These lessons will help you as you improve and scale your Agile teams. I will discuss: How to structure your organization to remove the bottlenecks in coordination and decision-making that can slow velocity to a crawl How to take advantage of modern systems architectures to allow teams to move faster Using data to provide accountability for autonomous teams without creating more process By the end, you will have concrete examples and ideas that you can bring back to your team to help you improve and scale agile within your organization.

This talk was the opening keynote of the Agile Israel 2019 conference.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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Organization, Architecture, Autonomy, and Accountability

  1. 1. Onfido - Confidential & Proprietary Kevin Goldsmith
 Chief Technology Officer Organization, Architecture, Autonomy and Accountability
  2. 2. @KevinGoldsmith Some principles
  3. 3. @KevinGoldsmith Data beats opinion Everyone has opinions. How do you know which one is correct? Is it the opinion of the most senior person? Data is how you decide. Understand your customer, your business, the environments you operate it. Make a decision based on reality.
  4. 4. @KevinGoldsmith “I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.” Arthur Conan Doyle, A Scandal In Bohemia (1891)
  5. 5. @KevinGoldsmith Speed of iteration beats quality of iteration Optimizing for speed leads to faster learning, including from failures. Faster learning leads to higher quality. Optimizing for quality is an obstacle to speed, which undermines learning and slows down improvements to quality.
  6. 6. @KevinGoldsmith Speed without data means you aren’t learning
  7. 7. @KevinGoldsmith Data without speed means you aren’t learning fast enough
  8. 8. @KevinGoldsmith DATA VISION EXPERIM ENTS LEARNING PRODUCT INFORMS GUIDES GENERATES DRIVES PROVIDES
  9. 9. @KevinGoldsmith Achieving Speed of Learning Through Organization
  10. 10. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous teams go faster.
  11. 11. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous teams learn faster.
  12. 12. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous adjective au·ton·o·mous - ȯ-ˈtä-nə-məs • (of a country or region) having the freedom to govern itself or control its own affairs. • having the freedom to act independently. synonyms: self-governing, independent, sovereign, free, self-ruling, self- determining, autarchic; self-sufficient
  13. 13. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous Teams Fully empowered and resourced to fulfill their mission and their commitments.
  14. 14. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous Teams Fully empowered and resourced to fulfill their mission and their commitments. UX Prod Mgr Dev Lead Back End Front End Test Mobile Data Eng
  15. 15. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous Teams Generate their own experiments.
  16. 16. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous Teams NOT Autonomous Individuals
  17. 17. @KevinGoldsmith Individuals on autonomous teams are accountable to each other.
  18. 18. @KevinGoldsmith Requirements of Autonomy
  19. 19. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomy needs communication
  20. 20. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomy needs context
  21. 21. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomy needs transparency
  22. 22. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomy needs trust
  23. 23. @KevinGoldsmith If you can’t trust the people you hire, you are bad at hiring people.
  24. 24. @KevinGoldsmith By giving teams context and trust
  25. 25. @KevinGoldsmith By giving teams context and trust and reducing dependencies on other teams
  26. 26. @KevinGoldsmith By giving teams context and trust and reducing dependencies on other teams they can make decisions on their own
  27. 27. @KevinGoldsmith By giving teams context and trust and reducing dependencies on other teams they can make decisions on their own and they can execute on their decisions
  28. 28. @KevinGoldsmith By giving teams context and trust and reducing dependencies on other teams they can make decisions on their own They become AUTONOMOUS! and they can execute on their decisions
  29. 29. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomy Anarchy=
  30. 30. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomy Anarchy=
  31. 31. @KevinGoldsmith
  32. 32. @KevinGoldsmith
  33. 33. @KevinGoldsmith Where are we going?
  34. 34. @KevinGoldsmith • Product Vision Where are we going?
  35. 35. @KevinGoldsmith • Product Vision • Company Goals Where are we going?
  36. 36. @KevinGoldsmith How do we get there together?
  37. 37. @KevinGoldsmith • KPIs How do we get there together?
  38. 38. @KevinGoldsmith • KPIs • Best Practices How do we get there together?
  39. 39. @KevinGoldsmith • KPIs • Best Practices • Leadership How do we get there together?
  40. 40. @KevinGoldsmith What/Why How
  41. 41. @KevinGoldsmith Grow in market <X> Get all documents for the market
  42. 42. @KevinGoldsmith Software Architecture for Autonomous Teams
  43. 43. @KevinGoldsmith MICROSERVICES!!!!! Four Blair Services Pvt. Ltd. [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)]
  44. 44. @KevinGoldsmith “Organizations which design systems... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations.” Melvin Conway
  45. 45. @KevinGoldsmith “We find strong evidence to support the mirroring hypothesis. In all of the pairs we examine, the product developed by the loosely-coupled organization is significantly more modular than the product from the tightly-coupled organization.” Exploring the Duality between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the “Mirroring” Hypothesis MacCormack, Baldwin, Rusnak - Harvard Business School, 2008
  46. 46. @KevinGoldsmith How Microservices Enable Autonomy delivery schedules teams coordination on architecture Decouple
  47. 47. @KevinGoldsmith How Microservices Enable Accountability Ownership of deliverables Fast delivery of value Ability to experiment Operational Responsibility Support
  48. 48. @KevinGoldsmith Composable platforms require a lot of tooling to work.
  49. 49. @KevinGoldsmith The Role of Devops
  50. 50. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous Teams Require Devops Support
  51. 51. @KevinGoldsmith • KPIs • Best Practices • Leadership How do we get there together?
  52. 52. @KevinGoldsmith • KPIs • Best Practices • Leadership How do we get there together?
  53. 53. @KevinGoldsmith Devops Supports teams so they can be autonomous. Provides the tools they use to build and deliver quickly Create the path of least resistance for teams to follow the best practices
  54. 54. @KevinGoldsmith Being Opinionated
  55. 55. @KevinGoldsmith Being Opinionated Make the best practices the path of least resistance, but don’t prevent other choices. Let the new ideas in.
  56. 56. @KevinGoldsmith Being Opinionated When the new becomes the commonplace, make it a new path of least resistance.
  57. 57. Organization, Architecture, Autonomy and Accountability
  58. 58. @KevinGoldsmith Data > Opinion
  59. 59. @KevinGoldsmith Speed of iteration > Quality of iteration
  60. 60. @KevinGoldsmith Autonomous teams can iterate faster
  61. 61. @KevinGoldsmith For teams to be autonomous, they need context, direction and guardrails
  62. 62. @KevinGoldsmith For autonomous teams to be accountable, they need mutually agreed upon KPIs to measure their performance.
  63. 63. @KevinGoldsmith Microservice architectures support autonomous teams, by reducing dependencies
  64. 64. @KevinGoldsmith Devops teams support autonomy by making it easy to follow best practices without preventing innovation.
  65. 65. @KevinGoldsmith !‫רבה‬ ‫תודה‬

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