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May 1, 2018

Organisational Impediments: How To Effectively Manage Them

This article describes the way how to effectively manage the organisational impediments in your company. Efficient changes demand effective ways to implement them. This is where Organisation Improvement Board steps in.

organisational impediments

Average thinking executives settle for less. These are the people who believe that what isn’t broken shouldn’t be fixed. However, most organisations still have lots of potential and room for growth, getting rid of the organisational impediments is one of the ways.

 

A ten-year-old company still has a lot to grow and with the right methodologies can achieve what a 20-year old company has achieved in lesser time. Executives that fail to see beyond their horizon will only pull the company down. As an executive, your ability to spot room for improvements is a must. It is also essential that you are not the only person seeing these potentials.

 

Your company should be able to grasp how these seemingly minor corrections within your company can impact how you set the standard in your industry. Moreover, when you set the bar high enough for others to reach, that only means your company is winning.  The question now is how you will implement these improvements and make your team embrace the changes. Here’s how to do it.

Meet Organisational Impediments Board

First off, you have to organise all your thoughts in a manageable manner. Efficient changes demand effective ways to implement them. This is where Organisation Improvement Board (see the picture above) steps in. This contains the Agile Improvement Backlog. It refers to improvement topics which are found to be blocking and “impeding” an organisation.

 

It also applies to those improvement ideas which are seen in helpful ways for the company to become more innovative and faster in reaching their goals. It will be the Agile Managers who are tasked with the handling and solving each of the specified improvements. Their role is critical since the tasks will not be simple. This is because a majority of these improvements will require profound changes inside the organisation. However, this is the only way for a company to be considered as Agile.

Roles Of An Agile Manager

Agile Managers have the responsibility of getting together with other managers as well as those that make up the organisation’s Senior Management. A considerable part of an Agile Manager’s job is to remove the topics that are part of the board.

 

An Agile Manager can assume a variety of roles in an agile company. These roles have been identified as the following:

  1. Team Coach – In this role, the manager is tasked with coaching agile teams to help them achieve excellent results.
  2. Lean Action Taker – This role will require the manager to use lean thinking skills to help improve the organisational flow. As a result, teams can deliver value with no delay.
  3. Value Optimiser – As a value optimiser, an agile manager also manages the company’s project portfolio. He is deemed as a product owner although it is on a bigger scale. He continually asks himself, “What is the organisation’s top business value project?”
  4. Boundary Reinforcer – For this role, the manager must reinforce boundaries within the team as well as those boundaries between the group and organisation.
  5. Organisational Change Director – It is the role of the manager to act like one of those who guides the organisation toward Agile.
  6. Organisational Impediments Eliminator – By navigating through the organisation, the manager is tasked with removing all of the impediments which hinder the teams from delivering value to their customers.

Possible Improvements and the Hypothesis Kanban Board

There’s no doubt that organisations always have hidden improvements that if not addressed will impede their growth. However, they do not seem to have a way of bringing transparency to these improvements.

 

The Hypothesis Kanban Board is therefore created to allow an organisation’s teams and individual entities to develop possible enhancements and search for ways that can help in improving the whole organisation.

 

There are six different columns in a Hypothesis Kanban Board.

  1. Hypothesis – Under this column, the possible improvements will be expressed as a hypothesis. Whatever the team does, it will always begin with a hypothesis. They have no way of knowing if what they intend to implement will bring the desired results. Therefore, every move and decision that the team makes should be seen as a hypothesis. It follows a certain format:
  • Implementing the change through hypothesis (We hypothesise by implementing this ___)
  • Promising to find a solution to the problem (We will solve this ___)
  • Foreseeing the benefits  (Which will have these ___)
  • Identifying the measurement type (As measured by this ___)
  1. Options – There are several possible ways for each hypothesis to be implemented. Teams have the responsibility to find out which option is easy to apply and can earn a considerable investment return.
  2. Selected – This refers to the option that the team has chosen for each of the hypothesis.
  3. Ongoing – This refers to the option that is being implemented currently by the team.
  4. Review – Every option requires a review which includes assessing whether the improvement was implemented successfully and the said improvement brought the desired result.
  5. Done – This column will indicate whether there was a success in implementing the improvement.

Board Visibility and Accessibility

It is essential that the board be made public.  This will allow everyone within the organisation to access the board and see the ongoing improvements and initiatives. It will also allow them to see which items were solved as well those which are coming in the future.

 

The board’s visibility and accessibility can bring a huge impact in an organisation. Some of its amazing results include: creating transparency; enabling continuous improvement; allowing managers to finally execute tasks within the organisation’s system; and paving the way for the creation of a learning organisation.

Implementation Process

organisational impediments

 

Everything should be implemented in a manner that is deemed as Agile. This can be done by organising a team get-together every second week. In this gathering, the team reviews what has been achieved and plans what should be tackled in the coming weeks.

 

There is also a monthly get-together wherein the team would run an Agile Retrospective to analyse the various ways that they can improve. An Agile Retrospective refers to a meeting that is usually held at the end of each iteration found in Agile Development.

 

It is the type of meeting where the team assumes full ownership of the agenda as well as the outcome. It is a perfect opportunity for the team to pause for a moment and reflect upon the manner of their work.

Who Are the Team Members

The owners of the board will be predominantly the Agile Managers. They will be joined in the team by Senior Managers. An example of a senior manager is the Scrum Master which can be considered as the team’s COO.

 

The Executive Management is also a part of the process. This will allow empowerment in the organisation which can bring improvements. Lastly, the person who speaks up about the issue must be considered as an integral part of the discussion.

 

This is because the person knows and understands all of the details that explain how the problem affects him as well as his team. Most often, this person is deemed as the Scrum Master.

Filling the Board With Topics

Treat the board as an average product backlog. Most standard Agile teams would consider talking with a product manager and using the same approach.

Find out the best person who can help in writing the hypothesis. Add this to the backlog. Always ensure that the process has a certain level of transparency that will allow you to gather feedback on your current hypothesis.

How Learnings Should Be Treated

There should be a place where you can store the results that you have gathered from the experiments. Remember that these results are highly essential for making future decisions in the organisation. In other words, always treat these learnings with huge importance.

Communications Strategy

It’s also vital that everyone in the organisation is kept informed or updated. One of the best ways to do this is by sending a monthly email. This email should have the following contents: achievements (improvements that were implemented), metrics, and results (what the team learned with the improvements)

 

If you’re an executive, who aims to set the bar high in your industry, feel free to reach out to see how we can activate your organisation’s highest potential.

Working with evolution4all

At evolution4all we have developed the 9-month “Organisational Mastery” product. This is suitable for companies that require alignment between executive leadership and delivery teams. The aim is to create a coalition that drives change and internal innovation alongside shared knowledge throughout the organisation.

You can read more about Organisational Mastery here.

 

Ready for an initial assessment?

We have developed a free assessment in the form of a Scorecard to help you establish which areas of business you need to focus on to achieve your particular Organisational Mastery. Click here for an initial analysis of 5 key areas of your organisation.

 

Luis Gonçalves

About Luis Gonçalves

Luis Gonçalves is an Entrepreneur, Author, International Keynote Speaker, Blogger and Management Consultant. I spent most of my career helping organisations become more Agile with different roles in different organisations. Nowadays I work with Executive Leaders by improving their organisations leading them to become effective, efficient and highly rewarded leaders.

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