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Leadership and culture

Establishing the right leadership and culture within the organisation is critical to getting successful digital transformation going. Trusted, agile, self-motivated teams need to be created to solve the business problems identified in the prioritisation stage.

The reason many digital projects fail is because too many decision makers are involved.  The outcomes increase due to the extent of the involvement and the business tries to perfect everything all at once. This can lead to perfection paralysis.

Trusted

Trusted individuals and teams are vital to the effective delivery of digital transformation. The freedom to work with autonomy releases both creativity and momentum. 

This culture can be difficult to adopt because:

  • those involved in sign-off feel a lack of control
  • those involved in sign-off feel threatened
  • team members don’t feel they are trusted and lack the confidence to move forwards 

Agile

Using an agile framework can help the development process gather pace.  This doesn’t mean getting everything built all at the same time. It’s about getting the important things delivered quickly, and then improving on that initial product.

An agile approach can be a challenge for many medium term programme boards, who are used to specifying the perfect product at the outset and then planning to achieve this over 1-2 years. The trouble is that in that time,  it’s easy for the original needs to have changed and what gets delivered is not what is needed at the end of the project.

Creating an initial product and improving it in weekly or fortnightly sprints means there is less risk when the product or spec needs to change. This is because you have the flexibility to adapt and re-prioritise, including your revised needs in the next iteration.  Also,  if needs change to such an extent that the product is no longer needed, less money has been spent.  Agile teams can fail, but they fail fast, learn quickly and reduce the risk exposure to the organisation.

Agile isn’t just a project management framework, it’s a mindset about:

  • respect
  • collaboration
  • improvement and learning cycles
  • pride in ownership
  • delivering value
  • the ability to adapt to change.

Self-motivated

A team of enthusiastic people, committed to the end goal of realising customer value, will go a long way towards creating innovative solutions.  They’ll need support from their leadership to start over, challenge the status quo and be protected from those still invested in the status quo that might want to bring them down.