Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Liz McMillan, Ed Witkovic, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Stackify Blog

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo, @DevOpsSummit

FinTech Journal: Article

Alignment vs Autonomy | @DevOpsSummit #Agile #Scrum #DevOps #Monitoring

You cannot have autonomous self-directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go

Alignment vs Autonomy and The Purpose Alignment Model
By Chris Lukassen

When scaling agile / Scrum, we invariable run into the alignment vs autonomy problem. In short: you cannot have autonomous self directing teams if they have no clue in what direction they should go, or even shorter: Alignment breeds autonomy.

But how do we create alignment? and what tools can we use to quickly evaluate if what we want to do is part of the mission or better left out? Niel Nickolaisen created the Purpose Alignment model and I use it with innovation labs in large enterprises to decide what should be part of our innovation and what should be left to others.

Why
So if you struggle with aligning your development approaches with the market strategy on how their product is going to be successful in the marketplace, grab a whiteboard. To be successful, a product must do solves a particular set of problems that customers are willing to pay for. At the same time it needs to solve other basic problems no worse than the current solution. Product teams need to know where they are aiming to be "differentiating" and where they are aiming to be "good enough."

As Gartner as taught us: all comprehensible things fit a 2 by 2 diagram. In reality the world is more complex but if we can frame our problem in two dimensions at least the major decisions become obvious.

What

The Purpose Alignment Model

The Purpose Alignment Model
The Y -axis is indicating where you product should have true market differentiation (high) or where differentiation is either not possible or simply not a focus of the organization (low). The X-axis asks what the impact or mission criticality is.

It's easy to see that your product is differentiating not only in functionality but also in importance to the end user. If it is not that important, or mission critical as Niels calls it, we just need to be on parity with solution we are substituting. Remember the first iPhone? it was not attacking Nokia on call quality, durability or battery life, but was good enough.

Some aspects may not be in your reach, but are mission critical to the customer. For those items we can look to partner with someone to create an overall differentiated offering. E.g. we created several Value Added Reseller networks for our products. This allows for local, native presence for support, training and maintenance, while the product company focusses their energy on increasing the differentiation.

Then there is the who cares segment. Really, the customer doesn't care and we won't sell anything more if we build something there. (2 x 2 quadrants always have such a segment. It helps the Product Manager to say NO)

How
To align the individual Product Owners/Managers of the self directing team, we need to get them together and decide on what the model looks like. You probably won't get this right the first time, but that is okay. Build in feedback loops to test your assumptions, if you think a feature is mission critical, gather evidence.

Follow these steps to engage in purpose alignment:

  1. Present and explain the model.
  2. Identify the key problem for your customer that you solve better than anyone else.
  3. Write a simple filtering statement or question that you can use to quickly evaluate future decisions and designs. Verification: check if any of the differentiating activities can best be delivered via a partnership, if so they are not a partner, but a competitor.
  4. Now check if the remains features are mission critical or differentiating and assign them to the appropriate boxes.

You can use the Purpose Alignment Model for roadmap planning, by performing a gap analysis on the differentiating, parity, and partnering activities. Your roadmap should explain how to fill the gaps.

The second great use of the Purpose Alignment Model is to design projects, features, and functionality around purpose. Design differentiating features, and functionality to win the market. Design parity features to be good enough. Parity features are still mission critical so don't do them poorly, but simplify and standardise.

Caveat: Culture
If you have an engaged team they will want to solve all of the problems for your customer. We want to be the best in what we do, so leaving something to partners or not doing it all doesn't feel right. After all, everything we do is important right? so it must be upper right corner stuff!

People have a natural tendency to make their work "differentiating" and if you don't emphasize and communicate the mission-critical nature of the parity activities, people will resist the use of the model and its associated decision filters. Or worse, they will attempt to put everything in the differentiating category.

So if your workshop ends up with all stickies in the upper right corner, your did not moderate it well.

Caveat: Change
What I like about the Purpose Alignment Model is that it can be done with Post-IT's which makes it easy to update. Have regular meetings, in cadence with with your release scheme to make sure you are not chasing the past. Also, partner opportunities come and go, sometimes you need to adapt your strategy. The Kano model learns us that what once was a differentiating feature will become a parity feature over time.

Caveat: Purpose Is not Priority
Purpose identifies the design goals of a process, business rule, function, or feature. It does not define the sequence in which the work on that process, rule, function, or feature must occur. That being said, purpose can provide a framework for strategic and tactical planning.

Now, go look at your product backlog and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your product differentiated in the market?
  • Are you treating some features as though they are differentiated but just need to be at parity?
  • Are you working on features that are really neither differentiated nor mission critical?

This blog is part of the Xebia Product Samurai series. Sign up here to stay informed of the upcoming book: The Product Manager's Guide to Continuous Innovation.

The post Alignment vs Autonomy & The Purpose Alignment Model appeared first on XebiaLabs.

Related posts:

7 Agile Practices You Can Apply In A Controlled Environment
The DevOps Leadership Summit Wrap Up

Data Driven Continuous Delivery with XL Release's Export Hooks

More Stories By XebiaLabs Blog

XebiaLabs is the technology leader for automation software for DevOps and Continuous Delivery. It focuses on helping companies accelerate the delivery of new software in the most efficient manner. Its products are simple to use, quick to implement, and provide robust enterprise technology.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The purpose of this article is draw attention to key SaaS services that are commonly overlooked during contact signing that are essential to ensuring they meet the expectations and requirements of the organization and provide guidance and recommendations for process and controls necessary for achieving quality SaaS contractual agreements.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
The past few years have brought a sea change in the way applications are architected, developed, and consumed—increasing both the complexity of testing and the business impact of software failures. How can software testing professionals keep pace with modern application delivery, given the trends that impact both architectures (cloud, microservices, and APIs) and processes (DevOps, agile, and continuous delivery)? This is where continuous testing comes in. D
JetBlue Airways uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-time monitoring of mobile applications. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer performance engineering case study discussion examines how JetBlue Airways in New York uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-tim...
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...