Why disruption still matters and 5 ways to deal with it (Part II)

Last week, I covered three of the five ways to stave off disruption. Here are the remaining two for you to consider.

As I mentioned in my last post, disruption has fallen off many organizations’ radars because it’s “so 2017.” But I don’t believe disruption is behind us. Some industries have yet to be disrupted; others are poised for round two, which will likely be faster and more painful than the last one.

Last week, I covered three of the five ways to stave off disruption. Here are the remaining two for you to consider.

  1. Eliminate status reporting waste
    If your status reporting is still based on people sitting in a bi-weekly status meeting and verbally reporting whether their team’s work is done, you are way behind the times. We recently asked companies how much time their people spend trying to consolidate project status information. By translating that time into labor costs, we’ve uncovered staggering results. One Fortune 250 financial firm told us that in one division, one thousand Scrum Masters spent at least an hour each week manually reporting on the status of their teams. Five hundred Product Owners spent four hours each week managing dependencies and rolling up metrics. At least a hundred people in their Project Management Office (PMO) spent at least eight hours per week collecting, managing and reporting data up. The total cost to this one business unit was $9.5M annually. Taken across the entire corporation, they estimated they were spending a staggering $100M on simply reporting status.The data already exists; it just needs to be linked and made visible. Implement a tool that allows you to see direct ties between work and strategy, and then use the data the teams naturally create when working on their backlogs to tell you the actual status of the projects. Access metrics from your agile tools, not spreadsheets. It’s no longer enough to track your top strategic projects through verbal updates and dreaded status meetings. Instead use real data to determine if your strategies are on track to deliver the desired outcomes. You should know within 2-3 sprints whether the project will be completed as planned.
  1. Optimize the whole flow
    How efficient is your organization? How fast can you get a new strategy out to market—from idea to outcome?Running an efficient organization is just as important as alignment and running your business on data. Not doing so is a recipe for being disrupted. Outdated methods, processes and data models that rely on long-term detailed plans, verbal status reports and spreadsheets of irrelevant metrics have no place in 2018. Nor do bonus programs that motivate leaders to work against each other, rather than collaborating.I used to work for a CTO whose bonus depended on meeting dates for strategic projects. Our best practices included enabling our customer-facing teams, but this work did not factor into our bonuses. As schedules slipped, we eliminated things that would keep us from having the product ready by that all-important date. For many top strategic projects, we made sure the product was ready even though the customer-facing teams like Services, Support, Sales and Marketing were not. So technically the company could not effectively sell, implement or support the product, yet the technical teams earned bonuses because the product was ready on the date promised.Look at your entire organization. Make sure all areas are updated to optimize for efficiency and executives are rewarded for working together to accomplish the overall goal.

At the end of my last post, I asked you to consider whether your company was taking the first three actions. Now, I’d like to ask you, is your company making progress on all five?

  1. Are you investing in the right things?
  2. Are you working on your strategy?
  3. Are you making sure your teamsunderstand that strategy?
  4. Are you eliminating status reporting waste?
  5. Are you optimizing the work flow?

The only way we can ready ourselves for disruption in our markets is by following these five steps.

I encourage you to register for my October 9 webinar, Connect Strategic Planning to Agile Team Execution, available ondemand, where we discuss each of these points in greater detail. In addition, please join my October 17 Ask the Agile Expert conversation where I answer your questions on this subject.

Laureen Knudsen
Before joining CA Technologies in the Agile Advisor role, Laureen was an award-winning senior business leader…


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