Applying The Team Of Teams Operating Model To Accelerate Digital Transformation

Cloud Computing4 minutes readJun 5th, 2020

I believe the modern-day digital disruptor has a specific vision and mission:

  • Vision: Significantly advance their organization's data and digital capabilities to drive firm growth, client loyalty and operating leverage.
  • Mission: Champion digital disruption on behalf of customers by creating enterprise-as-a-service (ENaaS) offerings, increasing speed to market by cutting down on setup costs.

Everyone is very familiar with how emerging technology is going to create opportunities for the business and value for the customer. For example, cloud spend is expected to grow to $500 billion by 2023 (up from $229 billion in 2019). Meanwhile, the rapid application development market size is predicted to grow to over $46 billion by 2023 (up from $7.8 billion in 2018).

To champion emerging technologies such as these amid a business transformation, what is the one revitalizing change in the role of chief experience officers? All of us notice the following typical status quo C-level initiatives again and again without a clear scalable workforce operating model to serve as a foundation:

  • Providing enough clarity of purpose
  • A willingness to fail
  • A proactive approach to change
  • Empowerment
  • Igniting healthy conflict
  • Making timely decisions

Most have heard managers tout these points and then proceed to justify themselves based on their experience. But when was the last time you or your manager spent time chatting about qualitative/quantitative leadership frameworks to accelerate the modernization of your legacy systems and create a solid operating model?

The following is the blueprint I use to coach my teams. It isn't just it one idea, but rather a mix of proven frameworks:

  • Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal
  • The Oz Principle by Partners in Leadership
  • Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  • Fierce Conversations by Susan Scott

At the tip of this spear is the team of teams operating model: This helps create agility with the quantitative capacity model in order to provide the flexibility to adapt to business priorities very quickly with decentralized autonomy, meritocracy and a sense of partnership. Here are several steps to get started,

Step 1: Similar to how McChrystal "created a new structure that allowed for dynamism and flexibility within the overall organizational structure," part of your digital transformation mission should be focused on teams replacing siloed business functions, led by leaders in a specific domain (not professional people managers). For example, bring together app architects, delivery experts and testing SMEs, enabling people to move from team to team as needed.

Step 2: Using the Partners in Leadership accountability model, move senior leaders into roles focused on the vision and mission of your digital transformation. This should also include strategy planning and cross-team communication.

Step 3: With the Radical Candor and Fierce Conversations frameworks, promote an environment for leaders to "care personally and challenge directly." For example, are you challenging your team directly to upskill the workforce with cloud-native certifications for application modernization? The key here is a balance between being too aggressive and overly empathetic.

Step 4: Creating an operating model by using these frameworks is easier said than done. The most common challenge in creating the framework is coming up with a quantitative capacity model on top of all the legacy portfolio and planning tools. Suggest adopting platforms (e.g., Microsoft Azure Boards) with granular demand\forecast and availability planning to provide Team of Teams quantitative agility to address business priorities quantitatively. For example, this will enable business owners with faster decision-making, empowering people to move from team to team as needed, clearly articulating the quantitative impact on the overall portfolio release schedule.

Ever wonder how managers survive for long without coaching their workforces? I don't think they get a chance in companies where quantitative data is used and where employees get a chance to rate their managers frequently (not once in a year). This is an opportunity for you to set an example for converting coward managers into courageous leaders.

The next big disruption is not technology — it is courageous leaders relying on the Team of Teams operating model. Implementing emerging technology is relatively easy with a solid workforce operating model.

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Tags-   Applications Digital Transformation