Book Notes: Agile IT Organization Design - Sriram Narayan

William Meller - Agile IT Organization Design - Sriram Narayan
This book shows how organizational design helps deliver organizational agility and in turn, helps IT and business Agility. 

Summary

Title: Agile IT Organization Design: For Digital Transformation and Continuous Delivery
Author: Sriram Narayan
Themes: Agile; Culture; Management; Teams; Leadership; IT
Year: 2015
Publisher: Addison-Wesley Professional
ISBN: 0133904245, 9780133904246
Pages: 304


To gain the full benefits of agility in any software organization, you need to extend the organization as a whole, not just for some development teams, in a book that states the applicability of Agile principles in designing an Agile IT organization followed by the explanation of the macro-level view of the structure of organizations. 

This book is a must-read for those who want to understand what really is Digital Transformation and Agile Transformation.

The author explains the centralized and decentralized structures with their pros and cons. He then goes on to provide thorough coverage of team design, accountability, alignment, project finance, tooling, metrics, organizational norms, communication, and culture.

Sriram's book provides a basis for reviewing and reshaping the IT organization to equip it better for the digital age, discussing how to differentiate between organizational activities and outcomes and forming teams accordingly, how to execute streams of work that cut across different product-centric teams, and the role of project and program managers in product-centric IT, learning how to eliminate the specific organizational silos that cause the most problems

Sriram demonstrates how to integrate agility with sales, marketing, product development, engineering, and operations, helping each function deliver more value individually and link it with the rest of the business as well as evaluate and improve organization designs to enhance autonomy, mastery, and purpose. 

Addressing people, process, and technology, he guides you in improving both the dynamic and static aspects of organization design, addressing team structure, accountability structures, organizational norms and culture, metrics, and more.

William Meller - Agile IT Organization Design - Sriram Narayan

Teams must have high autonomy over what they work on, not just how they implement it. But if teams are all super autonomous, they will all go off in different directions. Sriram terms this runaway autonomy, and it's a genuine concern. So is the answer more management and control?

Actually, the answer is to align teams with business outcomes. If the goal of a team is to improve a business outcome, then it will be oriented toward system-level benefits, by creating truly cross-functional teams, carefully analyzing business outcomes, and appointing outcome owners.

Sriram's book provides a basis for reviewing and reshaping the IT organization to equip it better for the digital age, discussing how to differentiate between organizational activities and outcomes and forming teams accordingly, how to execute streams of work that cut across different product-centric teams, and the role of project and program managers in product-centric IT.

Chapters of the Book:


Chapter 1 - Context: Focus; Business, IT, and Shadow IT; Business-IT Effectiveness; Digital Transformation; Bimodal IT and Dual Operating Systems; Angles of Coverage.

Chapter 2 - The Agile Credo: Understanding the Agile Manifesto; Continuous Delivery and DevOps; Agile Culture; Common Themes; Isn’t Agile Dead?

Chapter 3 - Key Themes: Software Development Reconsidered; Govern for Value over Predictability; Organize for Responsiveness over Cost-efficiency; Design for Intrinsic Motivation and Unscripted Collaboration.

Chapter 4 - Superstructure: Business Activities and Outcomes; Centralization and Decentralization; Silos.

Chapter 5 - Team Design: Framing the Problem; Activity-oriented Teams; Shared Services; Cross-functional Teams; Cross-functionality in Other Domains; Migrating to Cross-functional Teams; Communities of Practice; Maintenance Teams; Outsourcing; The Matrix: Solve It or Dissolve It.

Chapter 6 - Accountability: Power and Hierarchy; Balance Autonomy with Accountability; Assign Accountability; Minimize Power Struggles; Decide on an Outcome Owner; Migration; Decision Accountability; Planning and Execution; Org Chart Debt.

Chapter 7 - Alignment: Articulate Strategy for General Alignment; Aligning IT with Business; Structural Alignment; Making Business Play Its Part.

Chapter 8 - Projects:
What Is Wrong with Plan-driven Software Projects; Budget for Capacity, Not for Projects; Business-capability-centric IT; Project Business Cases; Value-driven Projects; Project Managers; Governance; Change Programs and Initiatives; Summary of Insights; Summary of Actions.

Chapter 9 - Finance: Relevance; Cost Center or Profit Center; Chargebacks; CapEx and OpEx; Conventional Budgeting; Agile Budgeting.

Chapter 10 - Staffing: Dealing with the Talent Crunch; Go Beyond Project Teams; Better Staffing.

Chapter 11 - Tooling: Access Control for Unscripted Collaboration; Subtle Effects of the Toolchain; Technology Isn’t Value Neutral; Tool Evaluation.

Chapter 12 - Metrics: Metrics Don’t Tell the Whole Story; Dashboards Promote Ignorance; The Problem with Targets and Incentives; Reforming the Metrics Regime; Designing Better Metrics; Objections to Metrics Reform; Migration.

Chapter 13 - Norms: What Are Norms; Reinforcing Norms; Cooperation over Competition; Living Policies; Consistency over Uniformity; Ask for Forgiveness, Not for Permission; Confidential Surveys; Balance Theory and Practice.

Chapter 14 - Communications: Intrinsic Motivation; Interpersonal Communications: Problems; Interpersonal Communications: Mitigation; Scaling Employee Engagement through Internal Communications; Deliberating in Writing; The Use and Misuse of Visual Aids; Documents, Reports, and Templates.

Chapter 15 - The Office: Open-plan Layouts; Ergonomics; Remote Working.

Chapter 16 - Wrap-up: Summary of Effects; Order of Adoption; Information Radiators; Sample Exercise; IT Services; GICs; Beyond IT.

Sriram Narayan is an independent consultant. Formerly VP, Transformation Advisory at ThoughtWorks.


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