Design and Adopt
Erik, Director of Engineering
"Are fast-flow teams enough for an efficient organization?"
Erik, the Director of Engineering, is interested in creating fast, modern R&D.
And now, as the majority of Erik's teams are mastering fast flow, he has started to wonder what the true north for his R&D is. Erik has observed that even though all the teams are working at full speed and doing their best, it is still challenging to deliver what truly matters from the business and customer viewpoint.
His recent insight: there is more to creating an efficient organization than creating autonomous fast-flow teams.
But how to capture today's successes and move on without losing the flow and hitting the limits of people's cognitive load?
Introduction to Elevating Structures™
The Org Topologies™ model supports people to address organizational transformation systemically. We provide a mapping technique to visualize the product development ecosystem. The mapping establishes a framework-agnostic language that describes organizational design transparently. They serve to create better (digital) product development organizations.
We are biased towards long-living teams as a core building block for organizational design, and towards high adaptability as a perfection goal. This gives a long-term vector for change that will make businesses more valuable, humane, and relevant for their customers in the long run.
Elevating Structures™, are a rich set of materials (i.e. tools, templates, workshops, articles, etc.) we add to our model to get everybody started experiencing and experimenting with the practices of the higher archetypes.
Practices and tools that stimulate organizational design to move toward higher-level archetypes as per Org Topologies™ Mapping.
Elevating Structures™ is a rich set of practices and tools that we recommend to use on your journey towards high adaptability (a.k.a. business agility).
The practices are systemic, which means they reduce local optimization and help the organization to move toward global optimization.
Organizations that elevate their value-creating ecosystems follow these guiding principles:
1. From managing dependencies to collaborative value creation
2. From fast flow at the team level to being efficient globally
3. From reducing the cognitive load to expanding on human potential
4. From constant reorganization to adaptive org design
5. From 'divide and conquer' to managing the whole
Elevated Ecosystems in Software Development (Business-Oriented R&D)
In many digital product development organizations, Business and IT (which we prefer to call R&D) are separate organizational units. The business is typically seen as a profit center and R&D as a cost center. To obtain company-level R&D efficiency for delivering value, we need both, so it makes sense to merge them. The million-dollar question is: "How?"
In traditional digital product development, work is broken down into items with a narrow scope so that they can be dispatched to people with deep specialist skills. Optimization efforts are focused on improving efficiency to obtain optimal flow. On the other hand, people who work in a broader area of the business domain are more flexible to adapt to changing demands.
Creating a business-oriented R&D means finding the sweet spot where the worlds of fast flow and global optimization intersect.
Industry Examples of Business-Oriented R&D
Creating a business-oriented R&D group means we implement multi-skilled groups of teams, where value is created seamlessly by product-, and technical experts who work as one. This kind of organizational design is not established overnight. It is a long-term vector for organizational change because of its impact on many aspects of the organization (budgeting, HR, governance, culture, etc).
The following companies have succeeded in creating such organizational designs.