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The Sociotechnical Organisation Design Playbook

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There are a plethora of agile organisation design patterns, but nobody knows about them. It's time to fix that.

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The Sociotechnical Organisation Design Playbook

  2. 2. ntcoding WE LOVE MODULARITY
  3. 3. ntcoding Modularity provides isolation
  4. 4. ntcoding Modularity enables comprehension
  5. 5. ntcoding MILLER’S LAW The number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Magical_Number_Seven,_Plus_or_Minus_Two
  6. 6. ntcoding Modularity enables teams to be autonomous
  7. 7. ntcoding Website Website Website Digital Enterprise IT Business APIs Data APIs DATA Back Office Apps
  8. 8. ntcoding “Our programmers are too slow. We have purchased a generic rules engine and BPM system [that don’t need programmers]. — Head of IT
  9. 9. ntcoding Website Website Website Digital Enterprise IT Business APIs Data APIs DATA Rules, BPM, ESB Back Office Apps
  10. 10. “ ntcoding Working here is so painful. I wish management would do their job and fix it. — Angry Ex-colleague
  11. 11. ntcoding Our goal is to evolve the software architecture to meet market demand faster than our competitors.
  12. 12. ntcoding TEAMS & SW ARCH. MUST COEVOLVE Teams Software Architecture Customers Build and evolve Provides value to Indicate raised expectations to The System of Work The System of Software The Market
  13. 13. ntcoding Software Architecture Sociotechnical Architecture
  14. 14. BIO Visit www.ntcoding.co.uk for blog, talks, workshops & consulting services
  16. 16. ntcoding Sociotechnical architects always consider technical, economical and political factors.
  17. 17. ntcoding
  18. 18. ntcoding
  20. 20. ntcoding PARTNER-ALIGNED ARCHITECTURE Ad Campaign Builder Twitter Ads Facebook Ads LinkedIn Ads Ad Campaign Analytics
  21. 21. ntcoding CAPABILITY-ALIGNED ARCHITECTURE Campaign Management Ad Creatives Campaign Analytics Campaign Optimisation
  22. 22. ntcoding CHOOSE ONE
  23. 23. ntcoding We need to add Snapchat to close a huge deal!
  24. 24. ntcoding Snapchat? Facebook ads are 95% of our revenue.
  25. 25. ntcoding We have bought a generic rules engine!!!
  27. 27. ntcoding Analysing patterns teaches us to consider economical, political, and technical factors in any scenario.
  28. 28. ntcoding STRUCTURAL PATTERNS / STYLES • Activity-oriented architecture • Partner-aligned architecture • Capability-aligned architecture
  29. 29. ntcoding DOG FOOD CONTEXT!
  30. 30. ntcoding DOG FOOD CONTEXT GOAL We don’t want to optimise our flow, we want to have the same experience as customers in order to grow our strategic capabilities.
  31. 31. ntcoding DOG FOOD CONTEXT Music Streaming Platform External white label Internal team
  32. 32. ntcoding DOG FOOD ECONOMICS • ROI is not the goal - making a loss may be acceptable • Feedback to improve core products is the goal • Dog food context can grow into a product
  33. 33. ntcoding DOG FOOD POLITICS • Every team wants to build the star product not a loss leader 
 (But it can evolve into a bona-fide product) • Managers may use deceptive motivational techniques
  34. 34. ntcoding DOG FOOD TECHNOLOGY • Freedom to use any technology 
 (to simulate the customer experience) • Try out new tech in production
  35. 35. ntcoding OCTOPUS CONTEXT
  36. 36. ntcoding OCTOPUS CONTEXT GDPR
  37. 37. ntcoding OCTOPUS ECONOMICS • High levels of coordination can impact flow in many teams • For compliance scenarios, it is about protecting rather than generating revenue
  38. 38. ntcoding OCTOPUS POLITICS • Nobody wants to slow down feature delivery for somebody else’s roadmap • High levels of synchronous alignment
  39. 39. ntcoding OCTOPUS TECHNOLOGY • Try to centralise complexity in the Octopus • Technology standardisation can help • A bit of integration design up front can save a lot of politics in the future
  40. 40. ntcoding ENTITY LIFECYCLE PIPELINE Review Resubmit Renegotiate
  41. 41. ntcoding PROPOSAL PIPELINE Routing Fleet Crew
  44. 44. ntcoding Discovery SLICE AND SCALE Search Catalogue Search Recc. Catalogue Recc.
  45. 45. ntcoding SLICE AND SCALE • Adapt to changing consumer expectation • Team may not want to lose responsibility • A tight technical coupling may be hard to break - analyse market and anticipate evolution (see Wardley Maps)
  46. 46. ntcoding Organisation design, like software, is fractal. Cohesion applies at every level.
  47. 47. ntcoding Discovery CAPABILITY PARTNERSHIP (TRIBE) Search Catalogue Search Recc. Catalogue Recc. Discovery Partnership
  48. 48. ntcoding SLICE AND SCATTER Rules
  49. 49. ntcoding SLICE AND SCATTER • Expensive change - be sure it’s worth it • Breaking up a team is not easy • Software may be hard to decompose - a rewrite may be necessary
  50. 50. ntcoding SLICE AND MERGE CMS Mobile App CMS Mobile AppRemote Configuration
  51. 51. ntcoding SLICE AND MERGE • Ensure rate of co-change justifies change • Warning: Now there are 3 teams to coordinate • Technical separation may be painful
  53. 53. “ ntcoding …multiple teams are unavoidable and it reduces effectiveness. How can we design teams so that the most important outcomes are affected the least?
 — Sriram Narayan (@sriramnarayan)
  54. 54. ntcoding Model the domain to reveal inherent dependencies that can turn into organisational bottlenecks.
  55. 55. ntcoding PROMISE THEORY “Promised collaboration has to be constructed from the bottom-up, i.e. from the promises we know agents on the ground can keep”
  57. 57. ntcoding EVENT STORMING BENEFITS • Combine everybody’s knowledge to create big picture & shared understanding • Identify most important outcomes • Identify domain cohesion & promises • Explore sociotechnical designs
  58. 58. ntcoding AUTONOMY DESIGN PRINCIPLES • Business Value (strategic vs utility contexts) • Cohesion (data, rules, policies) • Strive for unconditional promises • Climatic patterns -> anticipate change • Power, authority, and incentives
  59. 59. ntcoding MORE MODELLING TECHNIQUES • Process Mapping (economical/technical) • Domain Storytelling (technical) • Wardley Value Chain Maps (economical) • Alignment Maps (political) • Stakeholder Maps (political)
  60. 60. ntcoding FORENSIC ANALYSIS Analyse source control history to identify dependencies in sociotechnical systems
  61. 61. ntcoding CONTINUOUS ORGANISATION DESIGN 1 2 3 4 5 Purpose Landscape Climate Doctrine Leadership Acknowledgements: Simon Wardley, Wardley Maps - Business mission - User needs - Subdomains - Business processes - User journeys - Value streams - Teams - Aligned autonomy - Optimise for learning - Product disruption - New gov. legislation - Sociotechnical architecture patterns - Transformation
  63. 63. ntcoding Modern organisations require sociotechnical design, and you already have the required skills.
  64. 64. ntcoding NEXT STEPS • Analyse systems (learn Domain-Driven Design) • Build your own playbook • Blog and talk about your playbook
  65. 65. ntcoding MORE… ntcoding.co.uk/workshops ntcoding.co.uk/blog OrgDesignPlaybook.com @ntcoding /in/ntcoding