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Rethinking Transformation

Rethinking Transformation

I have heard many things that an agile transformation is not. It is not a transactional project or programme, and it should not be set up like one. It is not a side-gig that people need to do above and beyond their usual day job. And some say it is a process that never ends. (Imagine hearing that as the CFO!)

This is my take: Transformation is a product.

This is not a metaphor: transformation succeeds and fails just like a product does—as tangible changes in customer behaviour—and we should treat it like one. We should design it like a product, measure it like a product, fund it like a product, pitch it like a product, govern it like a product. We should take the time to identify the customer; involve them; understand their needs and the jobs they want to be done; and measure transformation success like a modern product manager.

In this session, Daniel confesses that Transformation-as-a-Product has been hiding in plain sight for at least a decade, and describes how approaching transformation in this way unlocks a whole world of modern product management tools, techniques, and learning.

Maybe successful transformation is possible after all.

Daniel Terhorst-North

March 28, 2022
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Transcript

  1. Rethinking Transformation
    Daniel Terhorst-North
    @tastapod

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  2. Some (legit) questions about transformation
    How long will it take?
    How much will it cost?
    How can we measure it?
    When will we be done?
    @tastapod

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  3. Some (sketchy) answers about transformation
    How long will it take?
    How much will it cost?
    How can we measure it?
    When will we be done?
    We don’t know yet
    3-5 years
    It will never be done
    Let’s ask the consultants
    @tastapod

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  4. Some (sketchy) answers about transformation
    How long will it take?
    How much will it cost?
    How can we measure it?
    When will we be done?
    See “how long will it take”
    How much have you got?
    It’s ok, there’s a central budget
    Let’s ask the consultants
    @tastapod

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  5. Some (sketchy) answers about transformation
    How long will it take?
    How much will it cost?
    How can we measure it?
    When will we be done?
    You can’t measure intangibles
    Something something lead time
    Happiness surveys!*
    Let’s ask the consultants
    @tastapod

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  6. Some (sketchy) answers about transformation
    How long will it take?
    How much will it cost?
    How can we measure it?
    When will we be done?
    When we declare victory
    When the money runs out
    When the CIO / sponsor quits
    When we get new consultants
    @tastapod

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  7. @tastapod
    Transformation is…
    a project?
    a programme?
    a journey?
    a never-ending journey?!
    Bryan Derksen, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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  8. What if transformation is a
    product?
    @tastapod

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  9. @tastapod
    Doing the
    thing right
    Doing the right thing
    => Product development
    => Product management

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  10. @tastapod
    Doing the
    thing right
    Doing the right thing
    => Product development
    => Product management

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  11. @tastapod
    “People don’t want to buy a quarter-inch drill,
    they want a quarter-inch hole”
    —Theodore Levitt

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  12. Theory of Jobs to be Done
    Product (n):
    Job (n):
    Context (n):
    Progress (n):
    something you “hire” to do a job
    make progress in a given context
    factors influencing the job to be done
    towards a desired state
    @tastapod

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  13. Prefer
    quantitative
    statements
    x Avoid
    qualitative
    judgements
    How would we describe our current context?
    @tastapod

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  14. What factors define our context?
    @tastapod
    Attitudes
    Behaviours
    Characteristics
    positions we take
    things we do
    properties of the system
    (observable)
    (verifiable)
    (intangible)

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  15. Alignment
    Psychological Safety
    Autonomy
    We choose our own
    tech stack and
    toolchain from a well-
    supported portfolio.
    Which factors describe our desired state?
    Our team has all the
    skills and resources
    we need to do our
    work.
    I challenge the status
    quo without fear of
    reprisal.
    We believe that
    people should speak
    up and ask for help.
    We should be able to
    release to production
    whenever we want.
    Our team’s decisions
    are consistent with
    other teams.
    …that are not true about our current context!
    @tastapod
    C
    A B
    A B
    C

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  16. Contains science: expert
    (academic) guidance advised!
    Now we have a tool for measuring progress
    @tastapod
    Strongly disagree Disagree Neither agree nor
    disagree
    Agree Strongly Agree
    ☐ ☐ ☐ ☒ ☐
    “How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?”

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  17. So now we can answer those questions!
    How long will it take?
    How much will it cost?
    How can we measure it?
    When will we be done?
    How far away is the desired state?
    If we do it right, it pays for itself!
    Continual assessment & sampling
    When our behaviour* has changed!
    @tastapod

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  18. @tastapod
    Doing the
    thing right
    Doing the right thing
    => Product development
    => Product management

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  19. @tastapod
    Doing the
    thing right
    Doing the right thing
    => Product development
    => Product management

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  20. Let’s go build a product transformation!
    https://dannorth.net
    [email protected]
    @tastapod

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