Friday, August 07, 2009

Development Process First - Organization Second

Is your development process supporting the needs of the business or the needs of the organization? If there are many success stories, celebrations and goal achievements in organizational silos while the product misses on revenue objectives, the development process is supporting the organizational needs, not the business. Ouch!

An ideal development process is one that is derived to fully serve the needs of the business model as the primary objective. Accomplishing this can only be achieved by minimizing the organizational silo influence through a hierarchical top down approach, yielding a top-level process that is independent of any organizational structure influence. Please read on to learn about an approach that will enable a development process that focuses solely on supporting the business strategy.

Start off by identifying a core team that can fully represent all disciplines within the organization. Next I would suggest a establishing a dedicated room with large sheets of paper on one wall and an ample supply of blank sticky notes that will be used to represent the process steps. At the far left is a new opportunity and at the far right is volume production.

Now with the full core team, fill in the steps between opportunity and production using a sticky note for each, leaving any consideration of organization out of the diagram. Place the sticky notes in order from a flow standpoint and once agreement is reached, fill in the flow with lines and arrows.

This activity may span a several week period through multiple sessions. I would suggest others outside the core team to have "read" access to the room. However, any changes proposed from outside the core team must be handled through a core team member during a regular session.

Once this activity is completed and consensus is reached the final top level process can be captured and farmed out into the individual organizational entities for detailed process development, again using the same approach. The next level of the process must fully support the top-level process within each of the silos, paying particular attention to areas where cross-organizational flow is required.

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