In my role at Cyara, I regularly have discussions with our customers about forecasting, funding, and resource allocation in their organizations. In my most recent interactions with two customers, I came to realize that organizations may be overlooking a great opportunity to make their business more efficient.
Both of those organizations told me that they had moved to a model where their product teams (such as Agile or scrum teams) were constant and work was brought to them using backlogs of ideas generated by the business. This is a very effective model, as I’ve mentioned previously. Its benefits include faster time to market, reduced waste through re-work, and improved ability to react to changing market conditions. So it was great to hear that the organizations were using it.
Unfortunately, they told me the business couldn’t sustain the generation of ideas for the backlog so they had to disband the teams or move back to their previous model. In this model, they brought teams together to deliver projects instead of products, which is known as the ‘bring people to the work’ model.
For me this is a missed opportunity. When any organization forms a team, it tends to go through Tuckman’s stages of group development, with phases for forming, norming, storming, and performing. It takes time for the team to get through the first three phases and start performing. And with every addition or subtraction or change to the team, the cycle of forming, norming, storming, and performing starts again. So it stands to reason that if your team remains constant—rather than banding together and disbanding to deliver projects over and over—it will perform better. This is an area of your organizational structure that should be examined. Less waste is a key argument for forming product teams rather than project teams.
How to Keep the Band Together
I suggest that rather than disbanding the product teams and reverting the operating model when there are troughs in their backlog, they should use the bandwidth to optimize their processes so that when the business does come up with new ideas, they are able to implement them in a more efficient manner.
For example, this is a great time to:
- Improve your design process and artefacts
- Do maintenance upgrades
- Automate build and deployment processes, test libraries, and so on
Another bonus is that you won’t be asking for extra funding or disrupting the business in any major way. When the business does come up with their next wave of ideas, you’ll be able to do it quicker and for cheaper, and provide them with a more reliable solution. As I said, I think this is a major missed opportunity, don’t you?
To hear more about product vs project models, listen to my webinar with Accenture’s Mirco Hering on DevOps: The Transformation Continues.
And to learn more about how Domain Consulting can help you with your Agile/DevOps transformation, contact us or get in touch with your Account Executive.