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Digital Transformation

Digital transformation challenges to keep an eye out for and how to address them

No journey is complete without a few challenges along the way. This is especially true when you are venturing into new territory. When undertaking a transformation journey we know that challenges in the people, process and technology spaces of your business are a reality. The key is how you deal with them and implement sustainable change that, not only solves the challenge, but enables responsiveness, collaboration and rapid delivery in your business.

Common symptoms to look out for in the people space, and how to address them:

Fear of failure and a lack of morale within teams can be the result of the team lacking ownership and accountability. Intrinsically motivated teams operate autonomously, demonstrate mastery in their skills and are driven by a purpose that they have been part of defining. Explore the areas of concern and frustration with your teams and put measures in place to address these. It is important to monitor the levels of happiness and motivation within your teams and act quickly if you notice either of these are on the decline.

Bottlenecks and single points of failure are often signs that you have too few skilled people available or that people are reluctant to delegate authority to others. Assess the demand and requirements for the various skill sets and then compare this to your current team. Based on the outcome of this assessment you can determine if you can solve the problem by sharing the workload, delegating sign off authority in certain instances, upskilling team members, or recruiting for specific skill sets if you are unable to adequately satisfy demand from your current resource pool.

People working in silos leads to ineffective collaboration within teams which impacts quality and delivery timelines. The concept of a team charter, created by the team themselves, can be used. The team charter defines the culture, the ways of working and communicating with each other. Once a team starts to understand the eco system within which they are working, and the inter-dependencies, they are much more open to communicating and collaborating to achieve the ultimate goals of the initiative they are working on.

Common symptoms to look out for in the process space, and how to address them:

We are creatures of habit and as a result often find ourselves stuck in our ways. This leads to a lack of willingness to change or adopt new processes. Adoption is the key to success in any process change. For the best chance of success, the adoption and demonstration of new ways of working need to be driven from the top down, across the entire organisation. The key being the demonstration by the leadership team. “Do as I do” is a much more effective way to drive change than “do as I say”.

Multiple internal review and sign off processes negatively impact not only delivery timelines but also affect the team’s ownership of delivery and morale. Define clear standards and agree criteria for review and decision-making processes. Decentralise decision making and place accountability on suitably skilled people to reinforce the defined standards and criteria.  Implement a process to review and refine the decision-making criteria and standards on a regular basis, this feedback and response loop will ensure constant refinement and optimisation of these processes.

Multiple teams consistently contesting for deployment slots is a sign that your release management processes are not optimal. As pressure increases on delivery teams to move to more agile ways of working, the release management processes must be re-evaluated and optimised to allow for multiple and rapid deployments to production environments. Bring the development, release management and operations teams together to agree process optimisation. This is the beginning of implementing a DevOps culture, which will ultimately pave the way for seamless and continuous deployments.

Common symptoms to look out for in the technology space, and how to address them:

You struggle to get agreement to implement changes and technology limitations restrict your ability to deploy changes seamlessly and independently. Tightly coupled and integrated systems make it very difficult to deploy changes without impacting a wide range of stakeholders. A technology strategy and roadmap needs to be developed, that will lead the move away from traditional monolithic architectures to microservices-based architectures. This enables services to be developed, tested, deployed and scaled independently of each other.

Your organisation is managing multiple digital applications and websites. This leads to inconsistent customer experiences across the various digital touchpoints your brand offers, and creates massive maintenance, deployment and support overheads for internal teams. Expand your technology strategy and roadmap to include moving towards a centralised digital management & optimisation hub, while converging and consolidating your digital footprint.

The only constant is change and with that comes a variety of challenges. Don’t get caught up in the challenge itself, delve into the root causes. Once you understand these, focus your energy and attention on the opportunities and possibilities that exist to solve the issues. Involve your colleagues in these discussions. In doing this you will become a positive agent of change and always keep moving things forward in a collaborative and successful manner.

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