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Build a Culture of Collaborative Delivery With BizDevOps
Product delivery teams keep the business running. They build, deliver, and support the tools and technologies the lines-of-business (LOBs) need to deliver value to their customers and stakeholders. Having, motivating, empowering, and maintaining high-performing and effective product delivery teams are imperative to maintain efficient business value delivery. BizDevOps can help build the necessary environment and employ the tactics to support the seamless integration between business and IT. However, without formal and facilitated collaboration, organizations will not see the full benefits that a BizDevOps culture has to offer.
What is the collaboration challenge?
Collaboration is a fundamental piece in today’s development environment, especially in the transition to methods such as Agile, Lean development, DevOps, and BizDevOps. It should be encouraged throughout the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) and ingrained within the organization’s culture. Unfortunately, many collaboration challenges seen in the industry go beyond what these methods were designed to address, such as:
- Siloed operating model such as plan-build-run
- Lack of trust between business and IT and between different groups in IT
- Distributed and dispersed teams
- Lack of sufficient tools and technology
- Lack of discipline to maintain continuous collaboration
- Inadequate facilitation within and across teams
Building an effective collaborative organization requires implementing and maintaining a team-first mindset using the appropriate methods and practices.
What is collaborative delivery?
The Agile Manifesto is a call to action to shift toward collaborative, adaptive methods for delivering value. But the Agile Manifesto is not a methodology. Early adopters were left to figure out how to deliver collaboratively and develop early collaborative methods such as Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. The complication is that there is little guidance on selecting the right method for a team’s circumstances, such as:
- The social, political, and environmental dynamics of teams and their relationships with other teams and LOBs
- The team’s internal motivation to adopt organizational and operational changes
- The various complexities surrounding the delivery, support, and adoption of software products
What method is right for you?
Many organizations default to Scrum because of its popularity in the industry. Teams value this method because it clearly lays out prescriptive techniques and processes that they can use to learn how to do Agile while on the road to being Agile. Scrum requires:
- New development with a stable scope and consistent priorities within the sprint
- Time-boxed, iterative delivery
- Committed business product owner
Scrum does not offer the flexibility required to make changes on a production product in operations. Kanban, a Lean development method, addresses operational delivery more effectively. Kanban supports:
- A highly variable mix of new development and operational maintenance
- Priority-driven delivery over time-boxed delivery
- The continuous accommodation of changes at any point in time
Many organizations struggle with collaborative development because their product delivery environment does not fit readily with out-of-the-box Scrum or Kanban. A hybrid process, often called Scrumban, brings the best of both methods. The challenge is figuring out which practices to take and which rules to enforce.
So, what is BizDevOps then?
Blueprint, the maker of Storyteller, was an early proponent of BizDevOps. Blueprint explains, “BizDevOps integrates business alignment and market responsiveness directly into the development process to accelerate product success and reduce scope failure.” Cutting away the marketing buzzwords, Info-Tech sees BizDevOps as a mindset where business, development, and operations are committed to work together collaboratively to deliver technology using the appropriate methods and tools.
Take stock of what makes collaboration effective
Whatever method you need to facilitate cross-functional collaboration, business, delivery, and operations must be prepared for a cultural shift. It must encompass the following elements to ensure everyone participates and sees the benefits of collaboration:
- Show Up – Business, delivery, and operations must commit people to every aspect of the selected collaborative method (Scrum, Kanban, Scrumban).
- Trust the Method – Everyone who participates believes they will benefit from participating in the team and that the method will build a trusting relationship across IT and business.
- Orchestrate Activities – Effective collaboration requires careful facilitation of activities, such as preparation, demonstrations, standups, and retrospectives, to bring people together, to work, to identify and manage dependencies, and to address delivery impediments.
- Communication – You need to use the most effective methods, tactics, and channels (e.g. face-to-face, videoconferencing, task boards) to exchange information and facilitate communications between participants and stakeholders.
- Knowledge sharing – Team members and stakeholders appreciate each other’s skills and knowledge and are driven to learn how to put them into practice themselves.
Organizations should tailor whatever collaborative method they started with so that collaboration is continuously improved. Unfortunately, the lack of guidance regarding what needs to change and how the organization should go about it often results in doing BizDevOps instead of being BizDevOps.
Product delivery is a team sport. Info-Tech recommends you build and foster a positive culture around collaboration and collective ownership of delivery. This requires everyone have an equal voice in building consensus and making decisions. A playbook that sets the principles, methods, and expectations of the team has been collaboratively developed by stakeholders and team members to guide effective collaboration. This is the foundation to support the transition from doing BizDevOps to being BizDevOps.
Want to Know More?
If you need to build a BizDevOps playbook, see Info-Tech’s blueprints for guidance:
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