Wednesday, April 08, 2020 in Surviving DisruptionsImposed change on a global scale shifts how the world works. For example, the industrial revolution eventually replaced cottage industries with at-scale manufacturing. Similarly, the rise of the Internet shifted the meaning of expertise from what-you-know to what-you-can-find-and-apply. And now we are watching another global shift, from tolerating remote work to embracing it as a value. We are seeing the first glimmers of a new reality. Last week we wrote about mindshifts that are necessary to prepare your technical teams for the ways of working required by COVID-19.
Disruptions kill companies.
Stable times are profitable; times of change are not. And companies dies when they attempt to remain stble and profitable while the world is changing.
Therefore, companies need a way to smoothly transition between two modes: 1. Disrupting: survive a disruption and capture new markets. 2. Growing: grow existing markets, capture profits, and prepare for the next disruption.
The problem is that most management approaches and company structures work well in one of these modes and poorly in the other. For example:
* Hierarchies are cost-efficient but poor at innovation or change. They are optimal for Growing and poor at Disrupting.
* Independent, cross-functional teams are great at innovation but poor at optimization or scale. They are optimal for Disrupting and poor at Growing.
* Individual accountability is designed to punish errors and create conservative thinking. It is great for Growing and poor at Disrupting.
* Fail fast is designed to maximize local learning, but makes it hard for groups to collaborate or standardize. It is great for Disrupting and poor at Growing.
In this series, we look at the upcomming Covid Disruption. We will explore a management structure, Zone Management, that can flex into two forms — one for Disruption and one for Growth. If your company isn’t using this or a similar structure today, the upcoming disruption is going to require that you change your entire corporate culture.
This article series can help you find the points to change that will not only survive the disruption, but create an ability to move smoothly between the two modes for decades to come.
Thursday, April 02, 2020 in Surviving DisruptionsIn the United States we are a month into the quarantine, give or take a little depending on your geographic location. Dr. Fauci, Director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, informs us that the infection rates will not truly curb until a vaccine is created. While J&J and other companies are working to deliver a vaccine, we know this is not a quick fix. Regardless of how many safety protocols they are ignoring to speed delivery.
Friday, March 27, 2020 in Surviving DisruptionsIt’s safe to say that the world is in a state of disruption that organizations are navigating all at the same time. The book Zone to Win describes how to organize in times of disruption. Moore’s premise is that during stable times every company plays in three of the four zones. However, when disruption happens, a fourth zone comes into play … the transformation zone. Companies die when they transition poorly from stability to disruption.
Wednesday, March 25, 2020 in Surviving DisruptionsOur world is in a state of emergency. Today’s uncertainty and ambiguity means we can’t assume everybody can be back in the office shortly. And truthfully, this is an opportunity. In the office, informal technical communications covered for many weaknesses. Technical skills that were good enough in the office won’t work well in remote work, where informal communication is limited. Excellent technical skills, however, allow developers to communicate informally through the code.
Thursday, March 19, 2020 in Surviving DisruptionsAs consumer confidence has plummeted, wooing new customers with exciting new features is less likely. However, engendering loyalty among your customers as they look through their subscriptions and decide what to cut seems a very wise plan. Not only do your customers not really care about snazzy new features, but it’s the kind of work that does not flourish within the remote environment. Well done feature development requires communication across many different roles that is good, frequent, and fast.
Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in Surviving DisruptionsAre you prepared to lose 120 hours a week for each development team? As a manager, I would assume that sending development teams home for remote work, as we must right now, would still achieve productivity. After all, so many developers work remotely very easily and they seem to do well in quiet alone spaces. Of all the quarantine disruptions, this one seems minor, right? Mmmmmm…not so minor. Developers Need to Share Tacit Knowledge Technical development frequently requires tacit knowledge that is shared in close verbal quarters.