Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Scaling by the Bubble

At work, there are many change programs ongoing, to an extent that it makes me feel overwhelmed. 

We have a change program I walked away from that tries to change half the organization by injecting a process with Jira. I walked away as I just felt so disconnected with the goals and decided that sleeping better and being true to my values would always win over trying to fix things in some kind of scale. Me walking away gives those who continue a better chance of completing and we can come back to reflect the impacts on some appropriate scale.

We have a change program I just volunteered with seeking benefits of platforms and product lines, and I still believe it could be a nice forum of likeminded people to figure out alignment. 

And we have a change program where we audit and assess teams for their implementations of whatever the process is, giving me a chance to also consider relationship of process and results. I volunteer with that one too.

But in general, I have come to understand that I make major changes in organizations from a very different style than what we usually see. And as I just listened to Woody Zuill mention the same style giving it a name 'the Bubble', I felt like I need to write about scaling by the Bubble.

The basic idea as I see it with 'the Bubble' instead of starting where it is hard - in scale - we start where it is possible. Injecting someone like me into a team that needs to change towards continuous delivery, modern agile and impact/value oriented way of working with streams of value that can be reused over products is an intervention introducing a start of the Bubble. 

My bubble may start with "system testing", but it soon grows to "releases", "customer experience", "requirements", "conversations" and through "technical excellence" to "developer productivity". Instead of planning the structure we seek, we discover the structure by making small shaping changes continuously. We protect the change by 'the Bubble', creating interfaces that simplify and focus things in the bubble. And we grow the bubble by sharing results that are real, recent and local to the organization. 

Having been around in organizations, I see too much top-down improvements (failing) and not enough bubble-based improvements. 

My bubble now is trying to change, over the next two years, culture and expectations in scale. Every day, every small improvement, makes tomorrow a little better than today. Continuous streams make up great changes.