The Effective Organization of the Future

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The future is here today for a select group of companies.  It’s no longer a question of what to do, it’s a question of getting there. By looking at the characteristics of these select organizations we can gain insights into what we have to do to help our own organizations. One thing is clear however, we cannot try to do what other companies have done. No great organization was ever made by following another. However, there are ways of helping foster innovation, alignment, teamwork and strategic clarity. So the goal is not to copy another company that leads their field, but to learn from what they’ve done to get there.


This article describes the goals and characteristics of the effective enterprise of the future. It then describes what is required to achieve these goals and offers some helpful resources.

Goals

Here are the goals of the effective enterprise of the future.

  • Achieving business agility, the quick realization of value predictably, sustainably and with high quality
  • Being a great place to work with engaged employees
  • The ability to deliver products and services on a continuous basis with the management of release based on business value and not development limitations

Characteristics

Here are the characteristics of the effective enterprise of the future.

  • A budgeting process ranging from continuous to quarterly (see Beyond Budgeting)
  • Teams with end-to-end responsibilities for products and services. These are one step beyond feature teams that can build aspects of an application. Rather these are full end-to-end teams (or small groups of teams) that actually can create a product, or enhancement to an existing product. They will still require support from shared services and ops, but functionality will be owned by them.
  • Teams collaborating within a network that supports them, using Team-Agility tailored as appropriate for them
  • Shared service teams and DevOps integrated into this network. Shared services are teams such as business intelligence that support multiple teams by providing cross-organization functionality.
  • Highly innovative teams
  • Accelerated development
  • A safe environment within which to work
  • Able to take risks without being risky

What it requires

What does this involve? Here are some of the items that require focus, beyond what you might think about.

  • A commitment from leadership
  • A systems-thinking mindset
  • An integration of business and technology based on flow intended to reduce the cost of delay of realizing value
  • The role of Value Stream Architect to have an effective network of teams
  • The role of the Business Architect to ensure new offerings integrate well with existing capabilities
  • A validation mindset including what’s being built, how it is being built, and that it’s being built correctly
  • Using proper emergent design methods including automated testing and Acceptance Test-Driven Development

Transforming into the enterprise of the future

It is easier to work your way into a new way of thinking than think your way into a new way of working. – Jerry Sternin

Transformation is more than a mere adoption of good practices informed by effective principles. It requires changing the culture and management methods of an organization. Here are several of the steps involved.

  1. Create clarity on your target.
  2. Identify what are you currently doing that is getting in the way of that.
  3. Define the first thing(s) you are going to try in order to move in the direction of your target.
  4. Describe what you have learned.
  5. Repeat.

Transformation is most effective when led from the top. But regardless of where it is led from, it needs to attend to lowering the cost of delay of providing value. Transformation must also attend to the culture of the organization, something not being done by current Agile at Scale methods.

Visualization of the value stream

Common challenges

Resources

Organizations  and companies working on this next wave

In addition to Net Objectives, here are some other individuals or companies we believe are also working on the next wave. This does not imply that their approach is similar to ours but there thinking is impressive.

Notes

  • This is not a complete list and no inference should be made by anyone not being on the list.
  • Many people, such as David Bernstein, Llewellyn Falco, and Bob Martin, are not on the list only because they are more technically-oriented and I am discussing more process-oriented issues here.

Articles

Here are some relevant articles to explore.

Product and service development. Here are models and articles related to product and service development in the next wave.

Management. Here are models and articles related to management in the next wave.

Learning methods

Here are models and articles related to management in the next wave.

User group

If you want to have conversations about, this please join the True North Consortium Discussion Group on LinkedIn.

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