Recently we engaged in an inspiring dialogue with 6 Technology leaders who shared their stories and learned from each other’s experiences relating to building business agility. Technology leaders from retail, broad casting, financial services and logistics talked about their ambitions, the biggest transformation challenges and lessons learned. This evening gave us great energy and we would like to share the four main insights from the evening with you!
FOOD FOR TALK
When listening to the main challenges that CIO’s experience in building business agility there are three common themes. (1) getting co-ownership and buy in on board level, (2) transforming from ‘doing to being’ agile which implies really changing mindset and behaviour and (3) measuring and showing impact of the agile transformation. A selection of the ideas and best practices to address these challenges are described below.
1. GIVE AS MUCH ATTENTION TO PEOPLE AS TO TECHNOLOGY
When conversating about the struggles Technology leaders encounter, the main challenge is to go from doing to being agile and transform the behaviour and mindset of people. We thoroughly discussed this topic with our guests and came to the conclusion that organizations that transformed effectively were able to make technology change and cultural change equally important in the transformation approach..
How did they do this? They understood that the change in technology and how technology adds business value simultaneously requires change in mindset and behaviour. Specific best practices where shared regarding a compelling change story that translated business vision to concrete team goals. Setting up a strong team that consists of formal leaders and high potentials to drive the transformation and making the behaviour shifts very explicit.
2. GET THE BOARD ON BOARD
One of the main challenges among participants is the involvement of the board. An uninterested executive board is perhaps less of a bottleneck in the first phase, but after you scale it starts to create impediments, e.g. unaligned goals and difficulty implementing portfolio management..
A well-known challenge is a knowledge gap within the board that impacts the adoption of the change. An unique approach to create a great atmosphere was shared and entailed a CEO explaining the architecture vision to the board. As a result, this positively influenced the behaviour and attitude towards technology/IT within the whole organization.
We closed this part of with a shared challenge on implementing portfolio management and steering on impact instead of progress of activities. The solution? Experiment and share learnings, also outside the organization. Start small, break the mammoth into pieces, learn and improve.
3. CONSCIOUSLY CREATE YOUR OWN AGILE WAY OF WORKING
When going agile it seems that a full change approach is the only approach. But it is not. Approaches and opinions were shared with a common conclusion: It only fits when it fits your organization. Thus it is important to have a thorough understanding of your own organization and decide on where to work agile and where this does not work. In this, arguments are as important as the decision, so make deliberate choices and make those choices known. A conscious approach will help you to explain choices better and determine the impact of the change.
4. TRANSFORM WITH CHANGE MINDED PEOPLE
As CIO, the people you bring to the change team will deter- mine the success of the change. Many organizations install a transformation team or leadership team that has to drive the change. Mostly this teams consist of only people having a leading position within the organization. One of our guests did this differently. He deviated from the common approach and decided to put together people with a ‘spark’, and the energy to change, learn and improve. A new leadership team was created with people from different levels, various ages and diverse backgrounds. This team now inspires each other with different perspectives, are energized to change and feel en- abled to drive the change in the entire organization.
The intimate setting made the CIO dinner an inclusive talk for everyone to openly discuss real challenges, successes and lessons learned. We thank everyone attending this evening for inspiring others and taking the time to connect with each other. We are already planning the next one, discussing the question: What is, besides agile and DevOps, the next big thing helping us in the way towards business agility? Will you be joining next time to talk about this with us?