Changing how people organize and operate, creating exponential IT and new exponential business models are all noble purposes (at least from my perspective) but they are also changing people’s work environment and lives. Therefore, the first goal in this journey is to try to get people that are going to be impacted involved in defining how they are going to be organized and operated.
While going through the in-sourcing process, I came with proposal of new organization chart to promote hybrid teams; this time I understood that the change needs to come from the team (or at least they should have multiple options).
The first attempt to get the team involved was during an all hands meeting. In a nutshell, I presented one slide that present four boundaries with a list of IT activities (tactical and strategic) that needed to be done by any IT group. I then asked the team to come up with suggestions on the best way to organize and operate within those four boundaries. By the way, the four boundaries that I mentioned were:
• Be adults / Have a culture where everyone is measured by performance
• Operate as One Team
• Proactively enable business change / Foster creativity
• Maintain Compliance / Security
I waited two months and while I reminded everyone that we should have something in place, what we got was nothing. Since I’m sure that such a change can’t be introduced to any group without help, I tried a new avenue with my friends in HR. The idea this time was to split the IT group into smaller hybrid focus groups and hopefully motivate those groups to come with suggestions using a very talented facilitator and the same material. Although we had 93% participation in these focus groups, the results weren’t what we expected – the team came with more tactical solutions based on our current mode of operations. In fact, one interesting reoccurring comment that we heard was that people didn’t understand why we needed to make any changes when IT is so successful.
Having a supportive HR team helping, we didn’t give up and tried yet another approach. This time we set up a committee with representatives from different IT domains in order to come up with suggestions as to how we are going to organize ourselves and how we are going to operate. This time we added to the stack the following diagram, taken from “The Open Organization” (by Jim Whitehurst):
Here we are, another two months having passed, and still no real breakthrough has happened in our committee. However, we didn’t give up and instead started our fourth and final try; which I’ll cover in details in my next post.