In moments of transition often weak leaders freeze, unable to move or act until those around them move. The weak leader is unable to gather the team to move forward through the malaise and is challenged to reflect, think, and act. In contrast, the effective leader is able to use moments of transition to accomplish great things by harnessing the power of the team around them and drive enormous accomplishments. It is precisely during these moments where Change Agents are able to gather, move, and transform. The year 2022 will be a fantastic year for those that seize the opportunity to bring measurable technology change to their businesses.
Priority 1: High Focus Business Engagement
We know that every business is a tech business… but what have you done about that? How have you driven the cultural and technical transformation of your business to engage, monetize, and create offerings from your company that create real benefits for your customers? Your business delivers value through a product or service today… the question is how do I continue to advance that product or service into increased value to my customer through tech? The succeeding businesses have placed product development at the core of their mission and it must be the focus for every tech leader, whether support, building, or ideating the platforms. The best business have a disruptive business strategy and their tech leaders have a critical part in driving it.
Priority 2: Tech Horizon Plan
The model of Horizon Planning originated from McKinsey but has since evolved into an accelerated model that doesn’t have the same 5-10 year duration. If the recent years have taught us anything its that innovation comes fast and furious, often replacing an existing market or succeeding at an idea that had previous failed to gain traction (ex. Tesla where others have failed at electric cars, energy, etc.). The goal of creating a Horizon plan for each tech stack and product in your organization is to align the team toward a common destination and way of achieving it. The tech Horizon plan is usually thought about as 3, 1, 2.
- Horizon 3: What is my long term destination?
- Horizon 1: What tactical changes need to happen now?
- Horizon 2: What is the interim step to get there?
Another example of this breakdown is the following:
So, an example of a Horizon plan for Cloud, might look like this (with a separate sheet for Horizon 1 stabilize activities, such as immediate remediation):
This is backed up by a tech Horizon plan that indicates the originating technology, the Horizon 2 state, and its destination state based on the targeted architecture
Priority 3: Team Modernization
You must have a plan to modernize the team’s approach to delivering tech. As a consultant the most common thing I see is the team’s capabilities are a primary challenge to modernizing the organization’s use of tech. Every role in your organization needs a talent modernization plan with a certification track and requirements to achieve. If that plan doesn’t exist you are doing your employees and your business a disservice. In most organizations you need to both modernize the actual roles, as well as the skills attached to those roles. For instance, below is a framework of transition that many companies are navigating (the move from the legacy IT org to the modern IT org).
The biggest change above is the movement from silos to shared skills, especially where the cloud leverages a set of new skills that bring legacy tech together (such as VMs, networking, storage, backup, security, etc.). This doesn’t mean you don’t have primaries, secondary, and tertiary skills. The following is an example of a growth plan for a PM, who needs to continue to advance skills:
Priority 4: Seek out Operational Gains
The fourth priority goes along with the first. A high focus leader looks for areas of the business where the same activity is performed often. They look for operational gains amongst the chaos and repeat of the organization. They do so with transformative capabilities, such as AI, data, and machine learning. The most significant transformations of recent years, as well as the most achievable, are gains in manufacturing, supply chain, and delivery. In the image below the clear optimization opportunities abound, often from 10 – 40% efficiency gains are possible just from the supply chain alone.
Priority 5: Security through Architecture
Stop trying to solve the security problem by layering an additional tool into your already crowded ecosystem. Pull everything away and address the problem architecturally. The current approaches have left us with even more complex management headaches rather than addressable engagement approaches. The modern approach leverages modern architectural concepts to mitigate common attack vectors. The video below does a lot to engage this. We talk about Zero Trust concepts in end user computing, datacenter, and cloud below.
Notice that many of the concepts in Zero Trust also are accomplished when we think about our Horizon Plan and guide toward a future with less tech debt.
Have a great new year!