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Digital Transformation through the lens of complexity

Digital Transformation is one of the most overused phrases of the past decade. And just like the blind men trying to describe the elephant, we only describe the parts of it that are most apparent to us. I’m aware of the same mistake that I’d be making if I tried to define it holistically. So, to me, the most meaningful way to describe it, is in context of the rest of this series. I’ve enjoyed complexity theory in the past few years after being introduced to the Cynefin framework by Dave Snowden. So I want to look at Digital Transformation… Read More »Digital Transformation through the lens of complexity

Tough Love

About a year ago, in a post about custard apples, I was talking about experimentation. The idea being that you have to assume failure and conduct a lot of experiments to really be able to use the method effectively. I also argued that this is not a new concept. In fact, we understand this quite intuitively, especially when it comes to nature. However, we seem to apply it very selectively in our lives. For example a colleague of mine pointed out in the comments that this concept is no different than a VC firm having a portfolio of startups, most… Read More »Tough Love

Technology Team Models for Modern Businesses

Siloes For as long as I remember, most of the “progressive” IT world has been talking about “removing siloes” as the way to improve the results of all IT endeavors. The debate is largely about what counts as “good results” and this definition has gradually shifted from a focus on efficiency and optimisation to a focus on value and effectiveness which is a welcome change. In terms of siloes, however, it only means moving from siloes of technology / expertise to siloes of functional value. There is no way to remove all siloes. In fact, we will not be able… Read More »Technology Team Models for Modern Businesses

Custard Apples

I love Custard Apples. Not giving anyone any ideas but I’m pretty sure you could kidnap me by showing me a custard apple at the right moment! Needless to say I want to grow a custard apple tree… Now growing a custard apple tree is a very difficult business. You have to: Put the seeds in water and discard the ones that float Leave the rest in water for about a week Wrap them in a damp tissue paper and leave them for a few more weeks to germinate. Some of them will germinate. Some will catch fungus. Others will… Read More »Custard Apples

Digital Transformation : Understanding Organization Culture

In the last post, we discussed how culture is an important element of successful digital transformations. This means that we should stop looking at culture as a byproduct and instead start making it part of our digital transformation strategy. There are a few frameworks that I have found useful in thinking about org culture but like the blind men trying to describe the elephant, these frameworks are individually limited. It is by using them together that we might be able to get somewhere. So that’s my attempt over the next few posts. All models are wrong; some models are useful.… Read More »Digital Transformation : Understanding Organization Culture

The Gardening Metaphor

During the lockdown over the last 4 months, I’ve taken up gardening. When I first started reading about agile software development, a lot of analogies for software development came from the world of construction. I guess it was a simple comparison that started due to the engineering nature of software development, but to this day we keep saying we are “building” software. There are several other analogies that people have used over the years like building a car (the famous skateboard => bicycle => car diagram) or the one with the “Monalisa” picture. I guess these analogies are sufficient in… Read More »The Gardening Metaphor

Digital Transformation : The importance of Organisational Culture

The In-sourcing Trend One of the big changes that we are seeing in the market today is the change in the relationship between business and technology. From being a separate organization that was mostly treated as a cost center, technology has gradually moved to the core of running a successful business. I have heard business leaders routinely make statements like “I don’t want to see the sausage factory” meaning that they didn’t want to understand how tech got things done as long as things got done. Most businesses are realizing that such an attitude towards technology is not helpful in… Read More »Digital Transformation : The importance of Organisational Culture

Continuous Discovery – Hurdles

Hurdles to Continuous Discovery Business outcome focused teams The idea that you can get a team organized around business outcomes itself is a huge hurdle. That means that business and tech team members work together everyday! Besides a few uber progressive startups, few companies can even comprehend the idea let alone implement it. Experimentation and Real Users The second big mindset change that traditional companies have to make it to put experimental products / ideas in the hands of real users. This is a problem especially for established organizations who care about their brand image as well as worry about… Read More »Continuous Discovery – Hurdles

Continuous Discovery – What is it?

In the last post, I talked about where the world of agile software development is and how we have all collectively ignored the question of value to end users and buyers. Not because we are bad people but because the question of value is fundamentally difficult to answer than the question of delivery. In my role as the Head of Capabilities for ThoughtWorks India, I struggle with the exact same question. I can understand learning needs of the organization and take bets on how we might be able to fill the gap, but to measure the effectiveness of any learning… Read More »Continuous Discovery – What is it?