In this week's edition of our weekly 3@3 series, Al and Steve discuss the Agile method and DT best practice with Agile coach Paul Mathers. Paul was a business architect for 10 years before becoming an Agile coach with Arabica Transformation consultants.
The 3 questions covered in this episode:
Arm's length leadership - why is this bad for transformation?
Theory over practice - do the certificates really help?
Scaling - when is it right to do this?
Paul talks about the pitfalls associated with arms-length leadership in DT projects and the need to engage and keep engaged throughout the process. He suggests that all too often, C-suits participation in DT projects, stops at the point of tendering and argues that it's a tremendous amount of trust to put into a company that is as, yet not a known entity. Paul suggests that this is hands-off approach is indicative an over-promising by the transformation company and a lack of understanding by executives on the process of transformation, and that it is just that, a process, not a switch that you can assign immediate KPI's to.
The act of immediately assigning value to something is what accreditation is all about, and Paul suggests that claiming to be an expert after completing a short training course and announcing yourself to be an 'Agile Coach' without any previous experience is a misnomer.
Al, Steve and Paul all agreed that certification has it's a place in some industries, but technical training on Agile theory and application of that theory, can not replace real-world experience or the insights a practitioner gleans from applying that theory in a real-world context. There are some things you can't learn in a controlled classroom setting.
Watch the rest of this series here:
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-In this weeks 3@3 conversation, we speak with John Hatfield from Second City Communications.
John joins us in week number 15 of the series, to give us his take on the following hot topic questions:
In a fantastically relatable comparison, John illustrates how business transformation projects can be compared to the act of moving home when you were a child. This experience usually comes with shock-horror, fear, uncertainty and doubt for the child, which is of course not a good place to start off from.
Many transformation projects start off from the point of view of "We are going to change you", "This is something that is going to happen to you!". So the big lesson to learn here, is don't do things to people, do things with them. If this is the case when moving home, that experience can happen so much smoother, whilst drastically reducing the negative impact that surrounds the experience.
A key phrase to remember here is: "We would like to do this with you". It's not for you, which is patronising, or to you which is enforcing, it's together which allows for cooperation and mutual benefit.
In what is a very enjoyable 26 minute long conversation, John continues to share his wealth of knowledge and advice on the subject, making this 3@3 week, one not to be missed.
Watch the full conversation below:
What did we get right and what did we get wrong in our chat about IT's role in Digital Transformation projects - CIO Keith Laidlaw joins the debate.
IT is part of the team and is an essential part of the strategic leadership team along with operations, change management and HR. Keith suggested that years ago IT was considered a citadel department, too busy with other IT related projects to spearhead any organisational change programmes. Over time organisations developed 'IT islands', external to the IT department, which they invariably knew nothing about, which was fine to an extent, however, IT islands affected the holistic nature of the organisations IT systems. Suddenly marketing systems couldn't talk to sales, sales systems couldn't talk to finance, the island effect had created technology 'silos'. Had IT been involved in these change decisions, they would have had a more holistic view of the technology.
To Keith, digital transformation is ultimately about the decentralising of skills. Global teams can now collaborate effectively no matter where they are in the world. Keith argues that digital transformation also supports BAU and business continuity. Using the examples of call centres, Keith argues that with the right technology and metric's in place, productivity can continue at the same rate no matter if an employee is in the call centre or taking calls from their front room.
The questions we are now facing are around education and professional or medical consults, can these be effectively delivered through digitisation? The enablement for all of this is communication infrastructure. Keith suggests that in this regard, we are already there. With approximately 99% of the UK having access to 'fast fibre' with download rates of 50-60 megabytes, speeds which 5 years ago were the preserve of offices only. Now, these ability services are in people homes, individuals can do everything online from home which they used to have to do in the office. IT has to be reactive also and be able to quickly investigate business requirements and this can sometimes be difficult.
Keith suggests that the old IT model has changed, the last decade has seen a move to a RAD approach (Rapid-application development), an adaptive software development approach, which allows packets of development to be released incrementally, every 2 weeks. This approach allows for development to happen piecemeal. Keith argues that while organisations may not know exactly what they want end to end, they often know what they want to happen first. IT is no longer perceived as inhibitor or blocker to change, the new mode of working allows the organisation to test their ideas and help inform the end to end strategy through rapid testing and deployment.
Watch the rest of this discussion.
Has working from home killed the command & control manager or indeed the validity of this style of organisational culture? This is 'the big pointy question' Angela and Steve discuss in this edition of our 3@3 video blog.
Angela suggests that while managerial approaches need to change, we're not quite there yet. We are still seeing some organisations encouraging their middle management to push employees down the 9-5 route with little appreciation of those working with children in the house or partners that work shifts. Some organisations consider getting their employees to work their usual 9-5 working patterns as a return 'to normal', and are not yet in the place of looking at deliverable and accountability rather than the proverbial 'bums on seats' approach. These are the organisations that will struggle as this 'new way of working culture', embeds in society. However, Angela suggests that it's never too late to build relationships with your team based on trust, deliverable's and shared organisational goals.
'In this week's webinar Al and Steve discuss the role of skills development in the successful delivery of transformational road-map.
Al talks about his own eclectic learning journey that incorporated further, higher, mature, online learning and everything in between.
Having experienced the full spectrum of learning pedagogy's, Al suggests that the most important aspect of up-skilling is to find a learning approach that works for your circumstances and your preferred style of learning.
Whatever the approach it's important to implement that learning in the real world and turn the skills you learned into knowledge. Most crucial, however, is developing the mindset of a life long learner and being cognitive that through this 4th wave of industrialisation, even those considered to be experts' in their fields will require continuous learning throughout their careers to maintain their depth of knowledge on a subject.
This isn't new of course, plenty of professions require continuous up-skilling, nursing being one of them. However, the rate of technological advancement is at a pace previously unseen, and it is now incumbent on individuals as well as businesses to prepare for this change if they hope to benefit in the future. Ultimately, getting started is the most important part. You won't really know what you don't know until you start.
Steve and Al talk about World Economic Forum predictions, which suggests that 65% of jobs in the next decade currently don't exist and asks, do we know what the key skills for the future look like?
While 'coding' could be a valuable skill to drive your kids towards, in our future driven by automation and AI. Coding is also something that computers with the help of AI, will get better at themselves and the real 'future skills' lie in your adaptability and other 'soft' or rather 'fundamental skill' attainment.
Our training programmes are built on a foundation of industry need and the resounding response from 'industry' is that job skills can be taught but they can't teach the fundamental skills and this message from industry mirrors the finding by the WEF. Soft skills are no longer an accurate name for this collection of interpersonal skills and these skills are now considered a fundamental requirement.
Watch the rest of this discussion were we ask:
What are the key skills required for future-proofing?
What is the best way to support skills development?
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