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Minimum Viable Bureaucracy to Maximise the Value of Your Teams

Updated: Apr 29


A new way of working in this future normal state will need to be established to realise value and cadence of delivery. Following this framework you have your adjusted program of work and have thought about the teams of people that you will use to complete this work. We want this to be a lights, camera, action moment when we put a team together with a new idea, where everything just flows and it is like everyone is following the same script and knows exactly what to do. The dream is to iteratively move towards a conceptual design and then implementable solution. That can often seem like utopia when we are operating in a normal environment. Now we are remote, removed and in some cases reduced in number through not having access to a full complement of skills, people and ease of meeting. Welcome to the future normal. What is likely to be the new normal for a while at least.

This is not going to be a one size fits all approach and some thought and consideration will need to be given the outcomes being sought. We want the teams to be able to spend their time on conceptual design, development or deployment and implementation and we need to support this process with a minimum viable bureaucracy and the impetus to a define the rules of engagement for their team.

A new way of working needs to be established to realise value through innovation and the ability to respond to the needs of internal and external customers through:

• Collaborative work practices and iterative planning

• Principles to ensure transparency and visibility of the work to enable shared decision making

• Practices required to support minimum viable bureaucracy

• Approaches to ensure holistic, end to end thinking about the work to be delivered

The idea isn’t to dictate how you work, but rather provide guidance on the delivery practices in your new future normal environment and enable the collective wisdom to deliver actionable results. The focus is on planning for just enough so the ideas and work can be constantly re-evaluated, change direction if necessary and consistently collect data over time to make informed decisions for the next steps.

The role of guiding, supporting and coaching these teams will require the following:

Roles and responsibilities These need to be well defined to minimise gaps and overlaps, enabling team members to support each other with complementary skills.

Track work Make this visible and transparent with regular feedback loops, so you know if you are on track against your plan and when you need to change. Make it easy and simple to report to ensure you are getting timely and accurate information you can make decision on.

Dependency Management – Proactively identifying where work intersects and overlaps, and then managing this through with collaborative decision-making processes.

Proactive Risk Management – Constantly looking for risks and implementing appropriate risk mitigation strategies with a bias toward proactive management over reactive risk management.

Social contracts – Creating your own rules of engagement that suit the team and establishing agreed approaches to collaboration, managing conflict and professionalism

Regular value realisation – Frequent, small iterations of work delivering value

Feedback loops – Appropriate reporting to give visibility and enable data led decision making. Again making it really simple and easy to keep the information flowing.

Your new way of working in the future normal needs to be an intellectual and a visual process. By this I mean that many people will be used to the way things were always done and the original processes and they will need some support and guidance through this journey with proof points of the rigour being applied to the work. The visual aspect is how we can see the areas of the work to do, how we are adjusting the work to suit the needs of the team and the ability to see what has been consistently achieved over time.

In this new future normal, how are you creating the minimum viable bureaucracy for your teams to create a way of working that establishes real value?

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