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Agile IT Organization Design: For Digital Transformation and Continuous Delivery

Book Description

Design IT Organizations for Agility at Scale

Aspiring digital businesses need overall IT agility, not just development team agility. In Agile IT Organization Design, IT management consultant and ThoughtWorks veteran Sriram Narayan shows how to infuse agility throughout your organization. Drawing on more than fifteen years’ experience working with enterprise clients in IT-intensive industries, he introduces an agile approach to “Business–IT Effectiveness” that is as practical as it is valuable.

The author shows how structural, political, operational, and cultural facets of organization design influence overall IT agility—and how you can promote better collaboration across diverse functions, from sales and marketing to product development, and engineering to IT operations. Through real examples, he helps you evaluate and improve organization designs that enhance autonomy, mastery, and purpose: the key ingredients for a highly motivated workforce.

You’ll find “close range” coverage of team design, accountability, alignment, project finance, tooling, metrics, organizational norms, communication, and culture. For each, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of where your organization stands, and clear direction for making improvements. Ready to optimize the performance of your IT organization or digital business? Here are practical solutions for the long term, and for right now.

  • Govern for value over predictability

  • Organize for responsiveness, not lowest cost

  • Clarify accountability for outcomes and for decisions along the way

  • Strengthen the alignment of autonomous teams

  • Move beyond project teams to capability teams

  • Break down tool-induced silos

  • Choose financial practices that are free of harmful side effects

  • Create and retain great teams despite today’s “talent crunch”

  • Reform metrics to promote (not prevent) agility

  • Evolve culture through improvements to structure, practices, and leadership—and careful, deliberate interventions

  • Table of Contents

    1. About This eBook
    2. Title Page
    3. Copyright Page
    4. Praise for Agile IT Organization Design
    5. Dedication Page
    6. Contents
    7. Preface
      1. Who This Book Is For
    8. Acknowledgments
    9. About the Author
    10. Glossary
    11. Chapter 1. Context
      1. 1.1 Focus
      2. 1.2 Business, IT, and Shadow IT
      3. 1.3 Business-IT Effectiveness
      4. 1.4 Digital Transformation
      5. 1.5 Bimodal IT and Dual Operating Systems
      6. 1.6 Angles of Coverage
      7. 1.7 Summary
    12. Chapter 2. The Agile Credo
      1. 2.1 Understanding the Agile Manifesto
        1. 2.1.1 Example #1
        2. 2.1.2 Example #2
      2. 2.2 Continuous Delivery and DevOps
      3. 2.3 Agile Culture
      4. 2.4 Common Themes
        1. 2.4.1 Fail-fast
        2. 2.4.2 Iterative over Incremental
        3. 2.4.3 Value Stream Optimization
        4. 2.4.4 Information Radiators
      5. 2.5 Isn’t Agile Dead?
        1. 2.5.1 Spurious Implementations
      6. 2.6 Summary
    13. Chapter 3. Key Themes
      1. 3.1 Software Development Reconsidered
        1. 3.1.1 Source Code, Binary Is Not the Product
        2. 3.1.2 The Product Is What the User or Client Uses
        3. 3.1.3 Software Development Is a Design Process
      2. 3.2 Govern for Value over Predictability
      3. 3.3 Organize for Responsiveness over Cost-efficiency
      4. 3.4 Design for Intrinsic Motivation and Unscripted Collaboration
        1. 3.4.1 Autonomy
        2. 3.4.2 Mastery
        3. 3.4.3 Purpose
        4. 3.4.4 Unscripted Collaboration
        5. 3.4.5 An Organic Approach
      5. 3.5 Summary
    14. Chapter 4. Superstructure
      1. 4.1 Business Activities and Outcomes
        1. 4.1.1 Outcome Orientation Allows for Autonomy
        2. 4.1.2 The Outcome Owner
        3. 4.1.3 Outcome Design
      2. 4.2 Centralization and Decentralization
      3. 4.3 Silos
        1. 4.3.1 Business-IT Divide
        2. 4.3.2 Silos inside IT
        3. 4.3.3 Higher-Order Silos
      4. 4.4 Summary of Insights
      5. 4.5 Summary of Actions
    15. Chapter 5. Team Design
      1. 5.1 Framing the Problem
      2. 5.2 Activity-oriented Teams
        1. 5.2.1 Hamstrung by High-Latency Handoffs
        2. 5.2.2 The Traditional Lure of Functional Organization
        3. 5.2.3 When Is It OK to Have Activity-oriented Teams?
        4. 5.2.4 Independent Testing, Verification, and Validation
      3. 5.3 Shared Services
        1. 5.3.1 Shared Services Lose Purpose
        2. 5.3.2 Reducing Friction in Shared Service Interfaces
      4. 5.4 Cross-functional Teams
        1. 5.4.1 DevOps = Cross-functional Dev + IT Ops Team
        2. 5.4.2 Organizing for Responsiveness
        3. 5.4.3 Utilization
        4. 5.4.4 T-shaped People
        5. 5.4.5 Team Size
      5. 5.5 Cross-functionality in Other Domains
        1. 5.5.1 Hospital Pod Teams
        2. 5.5.2 A Cross-functional Museum Layout
        3. 5.5.3 Taskonomy
      6. 5.6 Migrating to Cross-functional Teams
        1. 5.6.1 Separation of Duties
      7. 5.7 Communities of Practice
      8. 5.8 Maintenance Teams
      9. 5.9 Outsourcing
      10. 5.10 The Matrix: Solve It or Dissolve It
        1. 5.10.1 Matrix of Shared Services
        2. 5.10.2 Matrix with Dedicated Capacity and Fungible People
        3. 5.10.3 Matrix with Dedicated Capacity and People
        4. 5.10.4 Monolithic Cross-functional Product Team
        5. 5.10.5 Cross-functional Setup with Activity-oriented Subteams
        6. 5.10.6 Cross-functional Setup with Outcome-oriented Subteams
      11. 5.11 Summary of Insights
      12. 5.12 Summary of Actions
    16. Chapter 6. Accountability
      1. 6.1 Power and Hierarchy
      2. 6.2 Balance Autonomy with Accountability
      3. 6.3 Assign Accountability
        1. 6.3.1 Who Owns the Outcome?
        2. 6.3.2 Accountability Maps
      4. 6.4 Minimize Power Struggles
        1. 6.4.1 Matrix Paralysis
        2. 6.4.2 Absolute Hierarchies
        3. 6.4.3 Professor-Entrepreneur
      5. 6.5 Decide on an Outcome Owner
      6. 6.6 Migration
      7. 6.7 Decision Accountability
        1. 6.7.1 Decision Record
        2. 6.7.2 Tools
        3. 6.7.3 Scope
        4. 6.7.4 Resistance
      8. 6.8 Planning and Execution
        1. 6.8.1 Disadvantages of Separation
        2. 6.8.2 The Forest and the Trees
        3. 6.8.3 Overlapping
        4. 6.8.4 Dealing with Opposition
      9. 6.9 Org Chart Debt
      10. 6.10 Summary of Insights
      11. 6.11 Summary of Actions
    17. Chapter 7. Alignment
      1. 7.1 Articulate Strategy for General Alignment
        1. 7.1.1 Operational Excellence, Product Leadership, Customer Intimacy
      2. 7.2 Aligning IT with Business
        1. 7.2.1 MIT’s Operating Models
        2. 7.2.2 Pace-Layered Application Strategy
        3. 7.2.3 Alignment Maps
      3. 7.3 Structural Alignment
      4. 7.4 Making Business Play Its Part
        1. 7.4.1 IT Business Partner—A New Role
      5. 7.5 Summary of Insights
      6. 7.6 Summary of Actions
    18. Chapter 8. Projects
      1. 8.1 What Is Wrong with Plan-driven Software Projects?
      2. 8.2 Budget for Capacity, Not for Projects
      3. 8.3 Business-capability-centric IT
      4. 8.4 Project Business Cases
        1. 8.4.1 Benefits Validation Powered by Continuous Delivery and Analytics
        2. 8.4.2 Deemphasize Financial Business Cases
      5. 8.5 Value-driven Projects
      6. 8.6 Project Managers
      7. 8.7 Governance
      8. 8.8 Change Programs and Initiatives
        1. 8.8.1 Digital Transformation Programs
        2. 8.8.2 Limit Work in Progress
      9. 8.9 Summary of Insights
      10. 8.10 Summary of Actions
    19. Chapter 9. Finance
      1. 9.1 Relevance
      2. 9.2 Cost Center or Profit Center
      3. 9.3 Chargebacks
      4. 9.4 CapEx and OpEx
        1. 9.4.1 CapEx, OpEx Accounting without Timesheets
        2. 9.4.2 Activity Classification
      5. 9.5 Conventional Budgeting
        1. 9.5.1 Targets
        2. 9.5.2 Budgeteering
      6. 9.6 Agile Budgeting
        1. 9.6.1 Rolling with Agility
        2. 9.6.2 Collaborative Budgeting
        3. 9.6.3 Venture Funding Enterprise IT
      7. 9.7 Summary of Insights
      8. 9.8 Summary of Actions
    20. Chapter 10. Staffing
      1. 10.1 Dealing with the Talent Crunch
        1. 10.1.1 Limit Scope and Sophistication
        2. 10.1.2 Let Org Design Help with Retention
      2. 10.2 Go Beyond Project Teams
        1. 10.2.1 Cost
        2. 10.2.2 Challenges
        3. 10.2.3 Other Objections
      3. 10.3 Better Staffing
        1. 10.3.1 Staff by Skills, Not by Roles
        2. 10.3.2 Job Titles
        3. 10.3.3 Profiling Skills
        4. 10.3.4 Avoid Part-time Assignments
        5. 10.3.5 Team Personality Mix
      4. 10.4 Summary of Insights
      5. 10.5 Summary of Actions
    21. Chapter 11. Tooling
      1. 11.1 Access Control for Unscripted Collaboration
      2. 11.2 Subtle Effects of the Toolchain
        1. 11.2.1 Silos of Tool Access
        2. 11.2.2 Silos of Tool Usage
        3. 11.2.3 Silos of Tool Specialty
      3. 11.3 Technology Isn’t Value Neutral
        1. 11.3.1 How E-mail Shapes Us
      4. 11.4 Tool Evaluation
      5. 11.5 Summary of Insights
      6. 11.6 Summary of Actions
    22. Chapter 12. Metrics
      1. 12.1 Metrics Don’t Tell the Whole Story
        1. 12.1.1 Can Measure, Can’t Forecast
        2. 12.1.2 Velocity
        3. 12.1.3 Dealing with Unknown Unknowns
      2. 12.2 Dashboards Promote Ignorance
      3. 12.3 The Problem with Targets and Incentives
        1. 12.3.1 Targets Tempt Local Optima
        2. 12.3.2 Targets Are a Control Mechanism
        3. 12.3.3 Targets and Incentives Erode Intrinsic Motivators
        4. 12.3.4 Targets Lead to Gaming
        5. 12.3.5 Goodhart’s Law
        6. 12.3.6 Implicit Targets
        7. 12.3.7 Targets Imply Incentives
      4. 12.4 Reforming the Metrics Regime
        1. 12.4.1 Get Rid of Incentives
        2. 12.4.2 Ease Targets Progressively
        3. 12.4.3 Allow Assessments
      5. 12.5 Designing Better Metrics
        1. 12.5.1 Outcome-oriented Metrics over Activity-oriented Metrics
        2. 12.5.2 Aggregate Metrics over Specific, Fine-grained Metrics
        3. 12.5.3 Adaptability Metrics over Predictability Metrics
        4. 12.5.4 Get Comfortable with Lagging Indicators
        5. 12.5.5 Compensating Metrics
      6. 12.6 Objections to Metrics Reform
        1. 12.6.1 Conversations in Context Don’t Scale
        2. 12.6.2 My Team Only Responds to Carrots and Sticks
        3. 12.6.3 Nice Try (at Cost Savings)
      7. 12.7 Migration
      8. 12.8 Summary of Insights
      9. 12.9 Summary of Actions
    23. Chapter 13. Norms
      1. 13.1 What Are Norms?
      2. 13.2 Reinforcing Norms
        1. 13.2.1 Mechanics of Reinforcement
      3. 13.3 Cooperation over Competition
      4. 13.4 Living Policies
      5. 13.5 Consistency over Uniformity
      6. 13.6 Ask for Forgiveness, Not for Permission
      7. 13.7 Confidential Surveys
      8. 13.8 Balance Theory and Practice
      9. 13.9 Summary of Insights
      10. 13.10 Summary of Actions
    24. Chapter 14. Communications
      1. 14.1 Intrinsic Motivation
      2. 14.2 Interpersonal Communications: Problems
        1. 14.2.1 Pulling Rank
        2. 14.2.2 Microaggression: Nonverbal
        3. 14.2.3 Microaggression: Verbal
        4. 14.2.4 War Metaphor
      3. 14.3 Interpersonal Communications: Mitigation
        1. 14.3.1 New-Hire Orientation
        2. 14.3.2 Pulse Charts
      4. 14.4 Scaling Employee Engagement through Internal Communications
        1. 14.4.1 Group Meetings
        2. 14.4.2 Blogs and Videos
        3. 14.4.3 Surveys
        4. 14.4.4 Online Forums
      5. 14.5 Deliberating in Writing
      6. 14.6 The Use and Misuse of Visual Aids
        1. 14.6.1 Visuals May Mislead Inadvertently
        2. 14.6.2 The Primacy of Words
        3. 14.6.3 Meaning Trumps Aesthetics
        4. 14.6.4 Slide Decks
        5. 14.6.5 Ditch the Pitch
      7. 14.7 Documents, Reports, and Templates
      8. 14.8 Summary of Insights
      9. 14.9 Summary of Actions
    25. Chapter 15. The Office
      1. 15.1 Open-plan Layouts
        1. 15.1.1 How Open?
        2. 15.1.2 Wall Space
        3. 15.1.3 Solitude and Privacy
        4. 15.1.4 Criticism of Open-plan Layouts
      2. 15.2 Ergonomics
      3. 15.3 Remote Working
      4. 15.4 Summary of Insights
      5. 15.5 Summary of Actions
    26. Chapter 16. Wrap-up
      1. 16.1 Summary of Effects
      2. 16.2 Order of Adoption
      3. 16.3 Information Radiators
      4. 16.4 Sample Exercise
      5. 16.5 IT Services
        1. 16.5.1 Contracts
        2. 16.5.2 Access to End Users
        3. 16.5.3 Securing Client Involvement
        4. 16.5.4 Intrinsic Motivation
        5. 16.5.5 The Way Ahead
      6. 16.6 GICs
        1. 16.6.1 Business Attitude
        2. 16.6.2 Cultural Differences
        3. 16.6.3 Old-style Managers
        4. 16.6.4 The Journey from CMM
        5. 16.6.5 Prognosis
      7. 16.7 Beyond IT
    27. Bibliography
    28. Index