Welcome!

FinTech Journal Authors: William Schmarzo, Elizabeth White, James Carlini, Xenia von Wedel, XebiaLabs Blog

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @DevOpsSummit

FinTech Journal: Article

Alignment vs Autonomy | @DevOpsSummit #Agile #Scrum #DevOps #Monitoring

You cannot have autonomous self-directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go

Alignment vs Autonomy and The Purpose Alignment Model
By Chris Lukassen

When scaling agile / Scrum, we invariable run into the alignment vs autonomy problem. In short: you cannot have autonomous self directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go, or even shorter: Alignment breeds autonomy.

But how do we create alignment? and what tools can we use to quickly evaluate if what we want to do is part of the mission or better left out? Niel Nickolaisen created the Purpose Alignment model and I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to decide what should be part of our innovation and what should be left to others.

Why
So if you struggle with aligning your development approaches with the market strategy on how their product is going to be successful in the marketplace, grab a whiteboard. To be successful, a product must do solves a particular set of problems that customers are willing to pay for. At the same time it needs to solve other basic problems no worse than the current solution. Product teams need to know where they are aiming to be "differentiating" and where they are aiming to be "good enough."

As Gartner as taught us: all comprehensible things fit a 2 by 2 diagram. In reality the world is more complex but if we can frame our problem in two dimensions at least the major decisions become obvious.

What

The Purpose Alignment Model

The Purpose Alignment Model
The Y -axis is indicating where you product should have true market differentiation (high) or where differentiation is either not possible or simply not a focus of the organization (low). The X-axis asks what the impact or mission criticality is.

It's easy to see that your product is differentiating not only in functionality but also in importance to the end user. If it is not that important, or mission critical as Niels calls it, we just need to be on parity with solution we are substituting. Remember the first iPhone? it was not attacking Nokia on call quality, durability or battery life, but was good enough.

Some aspects may not be in your reach, but are mission critical to the customer. For those items we can look to partner with someone to create an overall differentiated offering. E.g. we created several Value Added Reseller networks for our products. This allows for local, native presence for support, training and maintenance, while the product company focusses their energy on increasing the differentiation.

Then there is the who cares segment. Really, the customer doesn't care and we won't sell anything more if we build something there. (2 x 2 quadrants always have such a segment. It helps the Product Manager to say NO)

How
To align the individual Product Owners/Managers of the self directing team, we need to get them together and decide on what the model looks like. You probably won't get this right the first time, but that is okay. Build in feedback loops to test your assumptions, if you think a feature is mission critical, gather evidence.

Follow these steps to engage in purpose alignment:

  1. Present and explain the model.
  2. Identify the key problem for your customer that you solve better than anyone else.
  3. Write a simple filtering statement or question that you can use to quickly evaluate future decisions and designs. Verification: check if any of the differentiating activities can best be delivered via a partnership, if so they are not a partner, but a competitor.
  4. Now check if the remains features are mission critical or differentiating and assign them to the appropriate boxes.

You can use the Purpose Alignment Model for roadmap planning, by performing a gap analysis on the differentiating, parity, and partnering activities. Your roadmap should explain how to fill the gaps.

The second great use of the Purpose Alignment Model is to design projects, features, and functionality around purpose. Design differentiating features, and functionality to win the market. Design parity features to be good enough. Parity features are still mission critical so don't do them poorly, but simplify and standardise.

Caveat: Culture
If you have an engaged team they will want to solve all of the problems for your customer. We want to be the best in what we do, so leaving something to partners or not doing it all doesn't feel right. After all, everything we do is important right? so it must be upper right corner stuff!

People have a natural tendency to make their work "differentiating" and if you don't emphasize and communicate the mission-critical nature of the parity activities, people will resist the use of the model and its associated decision filters. Or worse, they will attempt to put everything in the differentiating category.

So if your workshop ends up with all stickies in the upper right corner, your did not moderate it well.

Caveat: Change
What I like about the Purpose Alignment Model is that it can be done with Post-IT's which makes it easy to update. Have regular meetings, in cadence with with your release scheme to make sure you are not chasing the past. Also, partner opportunities come and go, sometimes you need to adapt your strategy. The Kano model learns us that what once was a differentiating feature will become a parity feature over time.

Caveat: Purpose Is not Priority
Purpose identifies the design goals of a process, business rule, function, or feature. It does not define the sequence in which the work on that process, rule, function, or feature must occur. That being said, purpose can provide a framework for strategic and tactical planning.

Now, go look at your product backlog and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your product differentiated in the market?
  • Are you treating some features as though they are differentiated but just need to be at parity?
  • Are you working on features that are really neither differentiated nor mission critical?

This blog is part of the Xebia Product Samurai series. Sign up here to stay informed of the upcoming book: The Product Manager's Guide to Continuous Innovation.

The post Alignment vs Autonomy & The Purpose Alignment Model appeared first on XebiaLabs.

Related posts:

7 Agile Practices You Can Apply In A Controlled Environment
The DevOps Leadership Summit Wrap Up

Data Driven Continuous Delivery with XL Release's Export Hooks

More Stories By XebiaLabs Blog

XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.

@ThingsExpo Stories
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...