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Taking the Tiger by the Tail, P3X 2019

Nat Pryce
November 01, 2019

Taking the Tiger by the Tail, P3X 2019

What do you do when you have a wicked problem to solve? When the current organisational structures do not fit the problem? When the current enterprise architecture does not fit the problem? When these aspects are preventing you from reaching or even conceiving a solution?

Your people can find a solution if you bring them together and give them the freedom, resources and authority to do whatever needs to be done — if you unleash a Tiger Team.

We describe our experience forming a Tiger Team to solve complex organisational and technical problems, and lessons we learned.

Presented at the P3X 2019 conference by Julie Camosseto & Nat Pryce .


* P3X Conference: https://skillsmatter.com/conferences/11839-p3x-people-product-and-process-exchange-2019

Nat Pryce

November 01, 2019

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  1. Wicked problems "A wicked problem is a social or cultural

    problem that is difficult or impossible to solve for as many as four reasons: incomplete or contradictory knowledge, the number of people and opinions involved, the large economic burden, and the interconnected nature of these problems with other problems." Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving by Jon Kolko
  2. The business of science publishing Submit Review Accept Typeset Publish

    Read Research Transfer Reject Revise FREE FREE Subscription Open Access
  3. Funding deals Funding bodies, individual institutions or consortia usually cover

    the publishing and subscription costs. They strike deals with publishers to cover the costs in bulk: • Better author experience • Simpler administration • Predictable cash flow • Better reporting to funders
  4. Springer Nature wants to make "cross-entity" deals Funders and Springer

    Nature want to make deals that cover all content of all the merged companies, not each one individually. But our systems and business processes: • are not integrated • are old and hard to change So a programme began to create an integrated system for payment and financial reporting
  5. NASA: "a team of undomesticated and uninhibited technical specialists, selected

    for their experience, energy, and imagination" We formed a Tiger Team
  6. We worked with Conway's Law We: • Changed the team

    structures to match the required architecture • Merged teams in different continents • Invested in tools and training to assist distributed collaboration "Organizations which design systems ... are constrained to produce designs which are copies of the communication structures of these organizations." Conway, Melvin E. How do Committees Invent?, Datamation, 14 (5): 28–31, 1968
  7. We focused on getting IT off the critical path "Organise

    your stuff into two piles: stuff that needs to be done and stuff that improves the stuff that needs to be done. ... Do you need to estimate the stuff that needs to be done? No! It all needs to be done. ... Do you need to estimate the stuff that improves the stuff that needs to be done? No! Focus on the stuff that needs to be done." http://slap.pm
  8. Reflection Your current organisation, process & architecture may not fit

    the problem They may be stopping you reaching or even conceiving a solution But the people have the solution: bring them together and let magic happen "Never let a good crisis go to waste!"