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Evolving your Company using a Systems Thinking

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Evolving your Company using a Systems Thinking

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Companies and their environments are complex adaptive systems. Evolving a company e.g towards Agile therefore is a complex endeavor. It is not possible to have a fixed change plan and then just execute it. Instead, you need to iteratively make change experiments to the company/organization and observe the emerging outcomes.

In this workshop we will look at how to practically master this challenge. A tool that helps identifying/defining change experiments will be introduced and tried in practice.

After the workshop attendees will know how the tool helps to take better decisions as they consider all aspects of the “company as a system”, i.e. including culture, behavior, processes and structures.

Companies and their environments are complex adaptive systems. Evolving a company e.g towards Agile therefore is a complex endeavor. It is not possible to have a fixed change plan and then just execute it. Instead, you need to iteratively make change experiments to the company/organization and observe the emerging outcomes.

In this workshop we will look at how to practically master this challenge. A tool that helps identifying/defining change experiments will be introduced and tried in practice.

After the workshop attendees will know how the tool helps to take better decisions as they consider all aspects of the “company as a system”, i.e. including culture, behavior, processes and structures.

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Evolving your Company using a Systems Thinking

  1. 1. Hendrik Esser Director, Portfolio & Technology Management @HendrikEsser Supporting Agile Adoption
  2. 2. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 2
  3. 3. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 4 Why did our agile transition succeed?
  4. 4. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 5 Our transition People Practices Processes Structures 1 2 3 “Our process is not good enough” “No Silos + Our structures need to support the way we work” “Oops! Almost forgot something!”
  5. 5. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 6 Our transition: changes People Practices Processes Structures 1 2 3 Scrum Kanban Uncertainty Management New Organization New roles New Governance Wanted culture Leadership mindset Recruitment of leaders
  6. 6. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 7 Insight: We have addressed the (whole?) “System”
  7. 7. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 8 Manage / Lead The company as a System?
  8. 8. From Systems Thinking to Complex Adaptive Systems
  9. 9. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 10 The Learning Organization Peter Senge, The fifth discipline Systems Thinking Team Learning Shared Vision Mental Models Personal Mastery Real World Decision Results Decision Rules Mental Model
  10. 10. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 11 Cynefin Dave Snowden, HBR Article, Nov 2007 SIMPLE COMPLICATED COMPLEX CHAOTIC sense-categorize-respond sense-analyze-respond probe-sense-respond act-sense-respond DISORDER best practice good practice emergent practice novel practice
  11. 11. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 12 How could we (Leaders) make use of this, practically
  12. 12. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 13 How could we identify our next experiment? respond
  13. 13. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 14 Understand the organization as a complex adaptive system Lead by vision + setting/managing constraints (continuously) Need to (continuously) align mental models to achieve a shared vision Evolving an organization
  14. 14. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 16 Constraints People Practices Processes Structures 1 2 3
  15. 15. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 17 Constraints People Processes Structures Behavior Capabilities Interdependencies
  16. 16. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 18 Basic procedure Develop a hypothesis on how the System works, explaining the observed phenomena (Discussion  mental model alignment) Decide what changes you want to trigger towards constraints (next experiment) (Discussion  shared vision) Observe the emerging system outcomes/response. (narratives, observations, …)
  17. 17. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 19 The tool Processes Structures Behavior Capabilities Vision/ desired state
  18. 18. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 20 The tool Processes Structures Behavior Capabilities Vision/ desired state Behavior Mindset/attitude Values Competence Skills # people Hidden talent Processes Practices Tools Habits Organization Governance Remuneration Roles (Informal) networks
  19. 19. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 22 Development Project MS Observation: Classic Projects Product Management MS MS MS Test Study Implement Study Implement Study Implement Study Implement Study Implement Study Implement
  20. 20. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 23 Things, that are impossible: Key Insight The Problem of Planning and Committing Correctly predict what the customers need Correctly predict how long it will take to develop it
  21. 21. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 24 (Many clever people)
  22. 22. Mindset shift To Accept uncertainty Embrace Change
  23. 23. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 26 Processes Structures Behavior Capabilities Deal with uncertainty Behavior Mindset/attitude Values Competence Skills # people Hidden talent Processes Practices Tools Habits Organization Governance Remuneration Roles (Informal) networks
  24. 24. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 27 To embrace change and deal with uncertainty: › What desired behaviors do people in your organization need to show? › What are undesired behaviors? 15 Minutes in teams of 5-7 people Workshop 1: Behavior and attitude
  25. 25. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 29 Workshop 2: Capabilities, Processes, Structures To embrace change and deal with uncertainty: Which processes/practices support the desired behaviors? Which structures support the desired behaviors and processes? What capabilities need to be developed? 20 Minutes in teams
  26. 26. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 32 Processes Structures Behavior Capabilities Manage Uncertainty Communicate Make uncertainty visible Accept, that uncertainty is always there Share views and insights Speak up when you see something unexpected React constructively on surprises Show and discuss uncertainty in governance meetings Frequent meetings to digest updates/new insights Distributed planning on different levels Iterative development  feedback loop Communication structure Manage expectations  anticipate expectations and address them Translate uncertainty into realistic expectations (customers, internal stakeholders)
  27. 27. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 33 › Analyze/understand issues/problems/impediments › Propose system solutions to issues/problems/impediments › Propose system changes to achieve a goal/target/vision › Follow-up on made implemented system changes › Adapt to a changed goal/target/vision › … use cases
  28. 28. Hendrik Esser | © Ericsson AB 2014 | 2014-10-22 | Page 34

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