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Business Transformation

Is culture holding back your innovation process?

Friday, March 8, 2019

Don’t forget to drive the culture shift necessary to support lean, agile practices and breakthrough customer solutions.

Many of today’s leading international companies develop their own applications. According to a 2017 Gartner CIO survey, the top performing organizations, on average, expected to develop 40% of their new critical solutions in-house.

But the speed of change and innovation is stretching the capacity of these companies. Cloud, mobile, big data and social technologies are making a huge impact on application development, and new digital disruptions are forcing change even faster.

How can companies prepare for faster-paced development?

Going from a traditional company to a company with in-house application development is not as straightforward as it may seem. Usually, lots of silos need to be broken down and often an entire reorganization is necessary to make room for agile development teams. As with any large-scale corporate change, what often is forgotten during this transformation is the cultural component.

Corporate leaders responsible for digital business development strategies need to build a culture of innovation into their development teams that simplifies and accelerates development processes – Gartner calls this digital DNA. Digital DNA is about aligning across culture, process and technologies to drive digital innovation. The goal is to spread it throughout the organization until it becomes the life of the corporate culture.

Adopt product thinking

Moving to “product thinking” is a major part of this cultural shift. Product thinking introduces digital DNA into development processes to support product managers and product owners, supporting continuous improvement of the product. Product management plays a crucial role here – it orchestrates all relevant stakeholders to manage a continuously evolving digital strategy. The product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product by ensuring that the product backlog is aligned with the needs, desires and required functionality of the customer and/or end user.

For your in-house development team to succeed, you need to align your process, culture and style with the lean and agile delivery practices that help product teams thrive. This means you must work closely with cross-functional teams – instead of in parallel. Luckily, lean and agile delivery defines product roles and deliverables (such as product owner and product backlog), so this is a natural melding of cultures.

Tips for shifting your organization to product thinking

  • Use the concept of “product” to focus the organization on delivering a competitive set of business capabilities to a defined customer base or market segment over a projected period.

  • Implement product management as part of an agile transformation that features lean delivery, with the ultimate goal of making the customer happy.

  • Apply lean practices to product management to maximize its relevance in the digital era.

  • Product management should be an integrated part of the lean, cross-functional teams that deliver products.

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