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Empowering Agile Self-Organized Teams With Design Thinking

My experience and research has shown that design thinking empowers employees and teams, enabling them to create a more resilient, value-focused organizational culture. Innovation-driven growth at the organizational level requires a multidisciplinary approach to designing systems that create the right conditions for self-organizing teams to explore and create while maintaining system hygiene. To achieve that growth, leaders and managers must adopt a strategy for fostering new thinking, practices, and processes that convert strategy both laterally and vertically into new value. To foster the right kind of environment, you must manage the boundaries of the teams, establishing the right cadence and rituals to ensure trust and psychological safety. “Organizations that operate from the authoritarian, hierarchical, command and control model, where the top leaders control the work, information, decisions, and allocation of resources, produce employees that are less empowered, less creative, and less reductive.” – Journal of Strategic Studies, Creativity and Innovation: The Leadership Dynamics. In this talk, we’ll discuss boundaries, policies, cadence for self-organizing teams, then cover the key principles and practices of design thinking and how it can be leveraged by agile teams to collaboratively test new options and create new value. Design thinking all comes down to the collaboration utilizing divergence and convergence: acquire and synthesize insights, formulate hypotheses, prototype solutions, and ruthlessly test them with real customers. We’ll cover that with a case study of how an infrastructure engineering team transformed themselves from waterfall to agile, while learning the key practices of design thinking to reduce the lead time for delivering services and systems from 9 months to days, and in some cases, hours. The key aspects of Design Thinking we’ll cover: The importance of trust, boundaries, and candor for team dynamics; Customer-Centricity. Who are they? What are their challenges? What are their ‘jobs-to-be-done’? Empathy and Understanding to engaging with customers in their context; Validate through experimentation that the team is solving the right problem; Bringing the whole team together to collaboratively explore the problem space and engage in divergent and convergent exercises; Prototype lightweight solution hypotheses to ensure that the problems are solved before scaling out and investing in delivering the product or service to customers; When design thinking is appropriate, and when it’s a waste of time (when a user story is simple, simply do it!)

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WILL EVANS
EMPOWERINGAGILESELF-ORGANIZEDTEAMS
with Design Thinking
Empowering Agile Self-Organized
Teams With Design Thinking Welcome
Hashtag:
Twitter:
#QConNewYork
#EmpoweredTeams
@semanticwill
ASSUMPTIONS
We all exist and work within complex social systems.
We are all responsible for the design, development,
and maintenance of purposeful systems.
To build a great team, you must have an organization
design that enables teams to design great customer
experiences.
Before you can design an amazing customer
experience, you must design a team to create the
customer experience.
The most accute constraint organizations currently
face is that their organizational design is incongruent
with their strategy; places to many policies,
procedures, reporting lines, and queues between the
teams delivering great experiences for their
customers.
“Rational discussion is useful only
when there is a significant base of
shared assumptions.”
– NOAM CHOMSKY
SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
“I still observe executives exhibiting the
same lack of courage or knowledge that
undercut previous waves of innovation.
They declare that they want more
innovation but then ask, 'Who else is
doing it?’”
- ROSEBETH MOSS KANTER
SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
Releases suck.
Change management sucks.
Death marches suck.
Quality sucks.
Morale sucks.
Moral dilemmas suck.
Firefighting sucks.
Things That Suck
SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
“People are already doing their
best; the problems are with the
system. Only management can
change the system.”
— W. EDWARDS DEMING
SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
Ad

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Empowering Agile Self-Organized Teams With Design Thinking

  • 2. Empowering Agile Self-Organized Teams With Design Thinking Welcome Hashtag: Twitter: #QConNewYork #EmpoweredTeams @semanticwill
  • 3. ASSUMPTIONS We all exist and work within complex social systems. We are all responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of purposeful systems. To build a great team, you must have an organization design that enables teams to design great customer experiences. Before you can design an amazing customer experience, you must design a team to create the customer experience. The most accute constraint organizations currently face is that their organizational design is incongruent with their strategy; places to many policies, procedures, reporting lines, and queues between the teams delivering great experiences for their customers. “Rational discussion is useful only when there is a significant base of shared assumptions.” – NOAM CHOMSKY SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 4. “I still observe executives exhibiting the same lack of courage or knowledge that undercut previous waves of innovation. They declare that they want more innovation but then ask, 'Who else is doing it?’” - ROSEBETH MOSS KANTER SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 5. Releases suck. Change management sucks. Death marches suck. Quality sucks. Morale sucks. Moral dilemmas suck. Firefighting sucks. Things That Suck SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 6. “People are already doing their best; the problems are with the system. Only management can change the system.” — W. EDWARDS DEMING SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 7. WHAT IS Organization Design? “Organization design is conceived to be a decision process to bring about a coherence between the goals or purposes for which the organization exists, the patterns of division of labor and inter-unit coordination and the people who will do the work.” ― JAY GALBRAITH, ORGANIZATIONAL DESIGN There is no one best way to organize.
  • 8. “Organizations that operate from the authoritarian, hierarchical, command and control model, where the top leaders control the work, information, decisions, and allocation of resources, produce employees that are less empowered, less creative, and less reductive.” – Creativity and Innovation: The Leadership Dynamics. Journal of Strategic Studies
  • 9. § Isn’t just a mindset and a style of management (though it is both those things). § Command and Control is traditionally about setting targets and ensuring compliance (to the process). § It is a way of making or delegating decisions through the organizational structure. § Traditionally, managers have power…. (to bound, constrain, decide, structure, monitor, reward, punish) and that power comes from different sources. Command & Control “I'm sad to report that in the past few years, ever since uncertainty became our insistent 21st century companion, leadership has taken a great leap backwards to the familiar territory of command and control.” – MEG WHEATLEY
  • 10. 6 SOURCES OF Power in Org Design § Legitimate Power: formal authority in a hierarchy. § Expert Power: possessing knowledge or expertise in a particular area. § Referent Power: use and exercise of interpersonal relationships a person cultivates and social capital a person accumulates. § Coercive Power: ability and willingness to influence others through threats, violence, or sanctions. § Reward Power: ability to influence the allocation of incentives within an organization including pay, appraisals and promotions § Informational Power: ability to control the flow of information and disinformation within a social group. “There is no power relation without a correlative constitution of a field of knowledge, nor any knowledge that does not presuppose at the same time power relations.” – MICHEL FOUCAULT French, John R. and Raven, Bertram (1959) The Bases of Social Power. Studies in Social Power
  • 11. GOVERNANCE is a process by which power is intentionally allocated across the organization. Governance systems are how managers intentionally delegate decision-making vertically into the organization through hierarchy and policy, and establish decision rights horizontally across functions and business units. This becomes the structure of empowerment. Designing for Empowerment Requires Governance SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 12. When power dynamics are not designed well, the result is prolonged decision-making, endless meetings, mindless email chains, misunderstanding, friction, failure, and death. SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 13. When those with more power in a group aren’t needed to help with bounding, structuring, or deciding, they need to get out of the way so that the team can do what teams do best — share, discuss, and integrate diverse perspectives and knowledge to create value. SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 14. The Four Levers of Control model (derived from Robert Simon‘s work) serves as a way for leaders to consciously make governance part of the organizational design process. The four levers are defined as: 1. Belief Systems, used to inspire and direct the search for new opportunities 2. Interactive Networks, used to stimulate organizational learning and the emergence of new ideas and strategies 3. Boundary Systems, used to set limits on opportunity seeking behavior 4. Measurements, used to monitor and reward achievement of specific goals. CONSTRAINING ACTION Robert Simon‘s Four Levers of Control
  • 15. When management tells a group of people they are empowered, it means those people have the power to make a set of decisions without their managers second- guessing them. Defining Empowerment
  • 16. “Teams need leaders who don’t need to be out in front, who are able to work quietly, creating an environment where everyone on the team is empowered to make decisions.” – ESTHER DERBY SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 18. The “Dictator” What happens when we tell people what to do? § We deprive them of the opportunity to think. § You take the responsibility away from them. § They might do it (and you might be wrong). § Probably farthest from the work (or problem). § Farthest from the customer. § Least capable of ‘doing’ the actual work. In employee surveys, people will say they “aren’t empowered” and will give leadership low scores in collaboration and engagement.
  • 19. The “Hippie” What happens when we provide results targets & disappear? § Sub-optimization (or local optimization) § Waste resources / Thrashing § Only short term benefits (if any) § Loss of direction, control, potential synergies § Risk-shifting § Fratricide § Blame-bombing In employee surveys, people will say there is no clear strategy, water cooler conversation tends towards whispers, calendars are completely booked.
  • 20. A Lean Leader § Clarifies the vision and intent. (Why and What!) § Articulates boundaries. § Distributes decision rights. § Models right behavior. § Creates Trust. § Favors Safe-to-Fail Experiments over Fail-Safe Solutions SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 21. “Individuals and teams closest to the problem, armed with unprecedented levels of insights from across the network, offer the best ability to decide and act decisively.” - GEN. STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 22. CASE STUDY An agile transformation in infrastructure engineering. SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 23. The business* said to IT: “You deliver last years tech, in twice the time, for three times the price, and a fraction of the value!” * A Fortune 50 Pharmaceutical Company
  • 24. Six weeks later… § Reduce the lead time for delivering enterprise services from 9 months to days, and most cases, hours. § Unplanned work dropped from 64% to 28% of capacity. § Business satisfaction increased by 72% § The infrastructure engineering team began the journey from waterfall to agile.
  • 25. HOW DID THEY DO THAT? SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 26. 1. Create a Kanban (this was harder than you think!) 2. Visualize all the work in the team 3. Map the value stream 4. Identify all the steps and waste (approvals/handoffs/rework) 5. Talk to the users! 6. Talk to the stakeholders (this includes compliance, security, finance) 7. Design Studio new processes! 8. Prototype, Test, Measure, Learn 9. Build MVS (Minimum Viable Enterprise Service) 10. Iterate, Test, Measure, Learn, Iterate, Repeat Six Weeks to Flow
  • 28. Map End-to-End Flow One way to evaluate the end-to-end workflow through your system is to draw a process flow map – also known as a value stream map – of the end-to-end flow of a product or a customer problem as it makes its way through your organization.
  • 29. Value Stream Maps There are two reasons for drawing these maps: 1. Discover the reasons for failure demand, so it can be eliminated 2. Find waste in the system; waste includes: 1. Queues 2. Unnessary approvals 3. Returns and rework Remember, all time spent handling failure demand is waste. It is better to map the process that creates the failure in the first place, than to map and improve the process that handles the failure demand.
  • 30. OVERBURDENING DISEMPOWERS “Every system is perfectly designed to get the result that it does.” ― W. Edwards Deming Adding more capacity upstream or downstream of the bottleneck will make things worse, not better. Try to “improve” any other point but the bottleneck, and you’ve made the whole system significantly worse.
  • 31. Identify Waste A value stream map is a diagram of the end-to-end flow of value-creating activities through your process; its purpose is to help you understand and improve the flow of value value through your system.
  • 32. “By contrast, work in an organization where value is made to flow continuously also creates the conditions for psychological flow. Every employee has immediate knowledge of whether the job has been done right and can see the status of the entire system.” - JAMES P. WOMACK SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 33. Blowing shit up with Design Thinking
  • 34. Design Thinking begins with as open approach to the people, the problem, and the possibilities involved in creating innovative solutions in complex adaptive systems. “In practice it combines empathy to enable deep understanding and reframing of a problem in context, divergence to generate insights and solutions; visualization and prototyping to document, connect and test ideas, and rationality to analyze and assess the solutions outcome.” - TIM BROWN, IDEO SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 36. Diverge Converge CREATE OPTIONS MAKE CHOICES Divergence/Convergence
  • 37. Design Thinking Mindsets Exploration We have problems What is the context? Who is impacted? Where is the value? Ideation I have an opportunity for design How do I make sense of the data? What are our options? What experiments could I run? Experimentation I have an interesting solution What is the smallest experiment I could run? How will we know things are getting better? How do I scale the solution?
  • 38. A Simple 5 Stage Model
  • 40. Double Diamond Model ACTIVITY Phase EXPLORE Research SELECT Synthesis EXPERIMENT Ideation SELECT & SCALE Execution A Solving the right problems Solving problems the right way WE KNOW Should Be WE GUESS Could Be B
  • 41. “A problem well stated is mostly solved.” — C HA RLE S KE TTE RIN G The problem is that stating a problem well is really hard. Just as our cognitive default is to see and try to solve symptoms, not their underlying causes, our brains normally jump to solutions as well instead of framing and stating a problem clearly. On Problems SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 42. Double Diamond Model 2 3 EXPLORE PROBLEMS PROBLEM SETTING LEARN SUCCESS PAIN 1 SELECT Fe e db ack PROBLEM FRAMING PROBLEM DISCOVERY EXPLORE CONCEPTS EXPERIMENT LEARN
  • 43. “The day soldiers stop bringing you their problems is the day you have stopped leading them. They have either lost confidence that you can help or concluded you do not care. Either case is a failure of leadership.” - COLIN POWELL SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE
  • 44. Empathy for Users Empathy — it’s a buzzword in the CX (customer experience) design world. Empathy requires us to put aside our learning, culture, knowledge, opinions, and worldview purposefully in order to understand other peoples’ experiences of things deeply and meaningfully.
  • 45. Practiced Empathy 1. Abandon Your Ego. It really isn’t all about you. 2. Adopt Humility. You really don’t know more than you think. 3. Active Listening. Stop waiting to talk, and actually hear what people are saying. 4. Observation. 93% of communication is non-verbal. See what people are saying. 5. Care. You need to actually be driven by a need to make things better for others. 6. Be Curious. Surface explanations never uncover the complex web of meanings and causes. 7. Be Sincere. You intentions must be transparent, and your mindset open.
  • 46. Collaboration is the cooperative behavior of a team empowered to solve clear and meaningful problems. The capabilities, frames, and subjective experiences of the team are leveraged in addition to the collection of individual skills (practices) to both solve the problems – and deliver value. Collaboration
  • 47. Design Studio Process 1. Framing the Problem 2. Solo Ideation (Silent, 8 Concepts) 5 minutes 3. Generative Critique (Yes, and…) 5 minutes 4. Steal & Integrate 5. Solo Ideation (Silent, 1 Concept, 5 minutes) 5 minutes 6. Critique 5 Minutes 7. Solo Ideation (1 Concept, 10 minutes) 8. Transference & Seeding 9. Synthesis (Team Design, 1 Concept) 30 minutes 10. Ritual Dissent (Only Negative) 10 Minutes 11. Active Decision Making (Ignore, Innovate, Remove, Best Practice) 10 Minutes 12. Kill Your Babies 13. Final Design, Ritual Assent 60 minutess FROM “THE DESIGN STUDIO METHODOLOGY,” WILL EVANS
  • 49. SEMANTIC FOUNDRY ATELIERMADE WITH LOVE ACTIVITY Phase EXPLORE Research SELECT Synthesis EXPERIMENT Ideation SELECT & SCALE Execution A Solving the right problems Solving problems the right way WE KNOW Should Be WE GUESS Could Be B
  • 50. Final Thoughts § Self-organizing teams still need a vision and a goal. § Boundaries and constraints allow exploration and meaningful interactions to emerge. § Empowerment means intentionally distributing decision-making authority closest to the problems. § Teams require access to information to make good decisions. § Teams must be trusted to talk with customers or users. § Creating trust takes time and consistent modeling by leaders. § Designing Thinking (divergence/convergence) is a collaborative process to created shared empathy, create options, test prototypes, and move towards better value creation. § Design Thinking isn’t brain science!