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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 .

Links:

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

Nat Pryce

November 01, 2019
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  1. Taking the tiger by the tail
    Nat Pryce
    @natpryce
    natpryce.com
    Julie Camosseto
    @juliecamosseto

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  2. 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

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  3. The business of science publishing
    Submit Review Accept Typeset Publish Read
    Research
    Transfer
    Reject
    Revise
    FREE
    FREE
    Subscription
    Open Access

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  4. 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

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  5. Springer Nature was formed by merger

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  6. 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

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  7. For two years, the programme made little progress

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  8. The whole programme landed (back) in our laps

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  9. Postmortem: where were the hold-ups?

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  10. We started to plan the programme
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stakeholder_analysis

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  11. NASA: "a team of undomesticated and uninhibited technical
    specialists, selected for their experience, energy, and imagination"
    We formed a Tiger Team

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  12. We established a Situation Room

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  13. We used Event Storming to see the big picture
    https://www.eventstorming.com/

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  14. People were not busy
    all the time

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  15. We transitioned to implementing the solution

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  16. 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

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  17. 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

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  18. We used the Mikado Method to plan & track progress
    http://mikadomethod.info/

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  19. We abstracted the Mikado Method in reports to the board

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  20. We met the deadline... and got some new ones!

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  21. We now have a way forwards...

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  22. 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!"

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