Agilitrix: How to align the culture of company to succeed

As a business owner or manager, you ask yourself, how we do things around here to succeed? It is a question of corporate culture, how we work together to achieve our goal.

Agilitrix model (based on The Reengineering Alternative book by Willian Schenider tries to answer that by looking at type of the products and services you are trying to build, and type of company being created based on that.

The model, as shown below, considers 4 types of answers to the above question:

  • We succeed by getting and keeping control
  • We succeed by working together
  • We succeed by being the best
  • We succeed by growing people who fulfill our vision

 

You can guess a few of examples for each of the above four types. For instance, most likely when you are in security business, having control over what needs to be done, having processes, predictability and standards are carrying a heavy weight (therefore it forms culture of the company around having control). It is vs. a usecase which teamwork, relying on trust and affiliation plays a more important role (A good example is a design company). Collaboration plays a central work in the later usecase.

As model shows, the above four questions leads to four types of culture:

  • Control
  • Collaboration
  • Competence
  • Cultivation

The two axis of an organization being People- Oriented toward Company-Oriented, and the y axis of being Reality-Oriented toward Possibility Oriented, can help to see where your company, or a team inside the company fits.

The important item is that no company or team purely falls under one of those tiles. For instance, if you are running a R&D team which assigned a task of coming up with a breakthrough innovation solution, you culture probably falls in the Collaboration and Cultivation tiles. You need to encourage team work and let your team evolve in the process to fulfill your vision. At the same time, you need some sorts of efficiency and predictability (no one can afford to continue a research project for ever and something must be achieved at the end. The point is how a cloud visualizing weight of those parameters in the model will be formed. The below chart shows it for a R&D team:

Gather your team in the room, give them post-its, and ask each one to name top 3 items they think is important for their project to succeed, and place them on the model. You will see how your team thinks about the suitable culture to be successful and how the cloud will be formed!

Cloud Platforms: Innovation Enablers

Background:

  1. Innovation is not only about new ideas, but to validate them, find which one works and which one doesn’t, as fast as possible
  2. When it comes to innovation, mortality rate is high. Taking start ups experience, in average 9 in every 10 new start up fail.  The question of what  is the best idea is an important one to answer.
  3. Therefore, faster a business can try and validate the new ideas, it becomes better at innovation. Take apps as an example: If a business can try 2 new app ideas every month,  in a year, it can try 24 ideas, and stick to 1 or 2 that proved useful. Comparing to building one app every 3 or 6 months. It is called Sustainable Business Innovation

When it comes to try new ideas faster, the first word comes to mind is agility. Nowadays, necessity of being lean, adopting agile methodology and having short iterations are common knowledge, however businesses need the necessary tools to implement it, and it is beyond replacing traditional project management tools with the new generation of team collaboration tools.

One of the areas that is crucial to release the new software, is the infrastructure to support it. Traditionally, IT department has been responsible to create and maintain the servers to run the business applications, from hardware to supporting applications, OS, data services, etc.

In recent years, a series of SaaS services (software-as-a-Service), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and  and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) has been introduced to the market by the big players: The famous examples are salesforce.com (SaaS, PaaS), Microsoft Azure (PaaS),  Google (SaaS, PaaS, IaaS), Amazon Web Services (IaaS), and also with some other smaller companies such as RighScale (IaaS),ProofPoint (SaaS, IaaS).

The good news is that, a new generation of services are being introduced that by combining development work and operation (DevOps) on top of existing cloud platforms, they make it even easier to adopt cloud services. The two examples are Pivotal CloudFoundry and AppDirect.  CloudFoundry allows to set provision the infrastructure and necessary applications and data services in hours instead of months, and let the teams to deploy and release new versions of their software almost instantly, move from dev or test environment quickly, scale automatically, etc. therefore empowers the agile approach. AppDirect is doing it differently, by automating the process of server provisioning, making some necessary items such as identity management and integration with third party service, etc. as a  turn-key solution, therefore allow businesses to offer their new services and ideas to their target market very quickly and validate them.

The above services, allow the teams to dramatically fast track process of creating, deploying and maintaining new software and extend agility beyond development teams.

Understanding the power of cloud and services on top of that, and how adopt them in the process, is not only a task for CTOs anymore, it is a must for any business owner or executive who needs to innovate, introduce new products and services.