The Shaping Forces of Transformation: Growing a Learning Organization (US 2021)

Existential crises that spurred a learning journey. Book Club conversations that built a community. A slew of value stream mapping exercises that cut through organizational silos, exposing inefficiencies while connecting the pockets of agile goodness. A few good people with a handful of books supported by their leaders and their desire to make a difference. We embrace change and initiate opportunity. We have a passion for growth. We believe in spirited teamwork. We have the courage to innovate. These are the values we live and breathe at our organization, and they are no different from everything that the culture of DevOps and agility are all about.

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Ganga Narayanan

Senior Strategy Manager, Telus



Hi, my name is Ganga, not Ireland today. I'm going to talk about what I have learned called the shipping process transformation. I have been on enterprise archive coat for about five years now. And if I have to use a picture to describe my work, I think it would look like it would look like this. And well, what, and especially before the final topic, my base used to look like the crisscrossing, the country, every now one time facilitating training workshops across the country to all over the country and overseas. And I was running a number of workshops and presentations training and Sean, and, um, I learned that there are Dubai, the ingredients got shape, the transformation journey into three parts, three ingredients that make up a learning organization. And here I'm drawing inspiration from my high suction behind appalling the renowned psychologist, creativity and innovation in organization, by society, all the product of shaping the social institution or the field, the domain. What does the community, which is a body of knowledge, the individuals, the individuals who bring about the change. So we have the field, what their community or the team, or the domain with this, an accumulation of knowledge, accumulation of practices and IPO, and the individual who make change in the field. And in the domain, looking at it through these three shipping process, this is what all of transformation looks like.


Some time of all. We used to call them. We used to call them the three pillars. Now I'm calling them shaping force because the forces are more dynamic. They're not static, but it's the same. So I put together these three, ask the flybys. They are constantly in motion. The individuals, the change agents, enablement champions. These are the people who make the change happen. The field, the community in the Palm of community. Uh, here, I'm going to talk about communities and book clubs, the conversation, the API dot generator to the community and the domain we have, the knowledge gets accumulated and continues to continue to build, uh, in our case, in this case, I'm going to talk about my industry networks, that I'm going to talk about how we went about what I have learned, what we have learned. So fucking enablement champion, I'm using the enablement champions in a very broad of the champions.


They could go by different job titles and roles. They could be project managers or Equifax developers and so on. So forth the job titles, maybe. But from my experience, what I found is that these are the people who, who make, who ha, who are driven to drive change. They're passionate about what they do. And, um, I love this quote by Jim Collins, where he talks about, uh, what he faced is a paradoxical combination of personal humility and professional. Well, they're humble about themselves, but they have to grit the factory. They know they have the wills, the in dominant work to, to do the right thing for the organization. They're passionate about learning. They're passionate about sharing that learning and they have to make that difference. So this enablement champions, which is the first shaping over the last few years, we have seen different ways, different approaches.


We have experimented with different ideas or conversations, trial, dog, different, um, uh, uh, a purchase, for example, up until a few years ago, we had, uh, uh, uh, an agile center of excellence. Now we have some work gravitated towards a leaner enablement, a more centralized team of champions, rather than having one full ops center of excellence. I think there's no one best answer. Maybe Elena's, uh, enabled might be what I do. Centralized approach has somewhat better grab. You have champions in every area and they come together to share their idea. So that's one approach. One thing that we have gone through training, there was a time we were running a lot of training sessions. We had something of an academy. We would have a training, but not as much as we used to before. So coaching shown for both, uh, building the community has, uh, taken proceedings over a series of trainings.


We I'm also, uh, the internal capabilities. So we are building our code among building about our guys coaching capabilities, DevOps capabilities. So I've got much more significant payoff than having to rely on external consultants all the time we have in the organization. And my observation is, yes, we need structure alignment in order to enable transformation and production and culture. I would say two sides on sometime ago, we, um, ran a poll among our on what they wanted. And, uh, this is the theme that we saw. A lot of our teams needed help with value stream mapping because of how we are positioning ourselves. Now, it seems to me that helps, but the newer ways of working, they needed help getting stopped, or in terms of agile practices, DevOps practices, they need help with alignment across all stakeholders. The things needed to know how do we structure? How do we measure, what metrics should we be? Okay.


Um, because of the journey, we, according to have a number of legacy pills, that is a cultural shift that is happening. So that's where I thought they needed some somehow. And there was a strong interest in a community of practice. So man, all these people who were hungry for more, who were, who had to make a difference, people who have not had expired with the fiscal people who went through and I've looked into crisis, what am I doing here as a project manager? What is the role of a project manager going to look like in this new book? Um, well, how can I, uh, do something? So what am I doing? I said, this my system, what can I, how can I help my pain control? And so for some, these are the people who started asking questions. So we started forming, uh, uh, loosely on the, uh, the, uh, who, uh, champion big changes in their perspective, easier. And, uh, that is working out very well. So that's something we are looking to continue to build and grow. These are the champions.


So the champions formed a sort of like an inner circle, the community, um, as a broader sense where we are looking at building, growing, learning communities. Um, yeah, I'm looking at an inspiration from Nonaka who has written about box. I'm sure as many of you are familiar with that box is that chat space or knowledge what the individuals, but it's definitely philosophy the philosophical space, but I'm cleaning space. It's a fast-paced relationship. It is man knowledge, knowledge creation happens. All it comes out of the interaction. This is my, the physical space, the actual space and the mental space all come together.


So this idea of boss is unified by the collective knowledge. It's something that we want to draw on in building our learning community learning organization. I like the, uh, model, uh, this factory model by, uh , but it talks about the evolution of knowledge. Well, knowledge in the organization transcends through socialization between people talking social isolation, externalization, where the conversation goes from the individual to the group combination spread across the broader organization and back to internalization, going from expectations to facts, knowledge about this virus, evolution of knowledge, what we want it to be in the community, in the communities that were building. So how do we make this happen for me? One of the simplest forms and the most, uh, powerful form of making this conversations happen is book club, book, club conversations are really powerful books, getting people to read and having the conversation, uh, having a thriving. Um, it's a, it's a really impactful way of making this change happen.


Um, there's just me at home. This is me at home telling my nine year old son who I'm sure is playing roadblocks room right now. I'm telling him to read. And, uh, you know, I always ask him to read on this. This was his response on the chat just a little while ago that I'm reading. Um, this is me at work, encouraging people to read. I love to get people to read. I love to recommend books. So I put up the, I should go. We started, um, when we followed up and found a group, um, project managers, project managers transitioning into the world of archive. We started with, um, a book club with coaching by Lisa Atkins. We got people talking about what it means to transition from a traditional, a traditional project role to being an agile coach or scrum master type of role. So that was a good conversation starter and it got people interested in, uh, ways of working.


What would, if you ask me, I've also seen a few other books, uh, through, um, book clubs, uh, in, in different pockets of the Phoenix project has been one of the early books from, from, from a few years ago. The mop handbook has also been, uh, read quite a bit quite extensively. And, um, this year, one of the most popular books in our book club that has generated a lot, but what project, the product transformation, customs book. So, um, back in the holidays, last Christmas, our vice president ordered a bunch of copies of this book, uh, sent it to all of us in our team. And, uh, at the beginning of this year, we started a book club with this. We had an online community that we had, uh, we had some discussions and questions and every two weeks we would meet over lean coffee chats.


This what's interesting for many of us because of the journey we were also going through as we started going from a product centric organization, but is still very much a journey towards becoming more product centric, topic, looking at questions we started to talk about, what does it mean to go from, uh, from the traditional project project management team. So project management organization to becoming most product, or why, why do we need to be willing to do that? Why is it, why is traditional project management? Why could you say that probably outdated? What needs to happen? How can the funding evolve? How could we organize ourselves? What is the product? What is the product that we're delivering? What is the product? And this was a simple, but a profound question. What is the product?


How do we organize the hotels? All of our teams are organized the way we want them to be. Ideally, do we need to revisit the structure? We need to look at the value stream of what are the value stream metrics for our team. So this question came up after we started talking and talking, this actually continue this conversation with a couple of other books, value stream mapping like Karen Martin, because I just started to build value. A value stream mapping became a handy reference, accelerate, uh, spoke to the Dora lots of very powerful add on because as we started mapping the flow, the accelerate offered it from what it means to be a DevOps organization. How do we benchmark, what are the best practices I have to say good practice, just because there are no best practices, but the practices or dynamic, what are the, uh, the good practice of health?


What might we improve on? So and so forth. So a bunch of books to and happy at the time of the book, picking up a few of us, um, or reading because it spoke to the fact that there is no one size fits all solution. We have beans that are following plain scrum. We have big programs, programs that are very much inducted in a scale, that guy, uh, approach, they have Kanban customized version and that's okay. Um, we don't want to impose a certain framework on any product. So breakfast, uh, journey that we have been going through as part of booklets community conversation, we would have this, uh, something like this, but an online community with, uh, in Google crunch or biweekly lean coffee chat. This was inspired by what, um, I saw the DevOps enterprise summit conference, responsible having these conversations, uh, denigrated, a lot of interests, all this, let the way to what we started building together over the last few months, um, a leadership mandate.


We have been going to, um, eliminating extra series of exercises. And what has happened is both of them have been going into value, stream mapping, activities and workshops over the last, uh, two or three months. We've been looking at development team, or they've been looking at things that are more self-contained as an agile team on their own. They have been looking at, um, bigger cross-functional team, uh, operational teams, um, and so on. So we have been looking at value streams that are more practical, more are broader in scope. Some which are more focused and the exercise has been profound for all the things that have been going through this, because it helps us stop from where, um, there's no prerequisite for doing a value stream mapping workshop. So all that we've identified, what is your value stream? We started with identifying that the team structure, uh, identifying the team. What about the binders can be organized, be accountable for that, brought them together. We went through an exercise of mapping and a simple questions. Like what is the product generator? A lot of discovery based conversation, but that's the idea begin? What is your trigger? What is happening? What is the first step? What is the last step and so on? So that opportunity to unravel, we would connect those with the DevOps tool chains, with the DevOps practices.


Um, so the book shop itself has been, uh, a very enriching experience. It's not about the tool or the private or the, or the format, but it's about the conversation. So when we had all the people involved in the conversation, it led to some interesting questions. Why, what is the leap? Why is it taking so long? Uh, why is completion backward? Uh, not high enough. So it's going to be from those conversations. So when they map all this stuff for everyone to see when all the bottlenecks became exposed, when the fall became visible, that's when opportunities started to unravel, there were questions like, can we do this for big, uh, one time in infrequent projects? Sure. Why not? What about ?


How big and how broad should we go? We had, um, a value stream mapping workshop for most traffic initiative to more tactical initiated. So a combination of value stream mapping, project to product IPS with flow metrics and all that DevOps handbook and accelerate started to come together now using DevOps. Listen, the idea from this, this has been a really valuable resource using idea from Dora is in this conversation from the accelerate books to, uh, candid approvals for a very popular topic that, uh, some improvement, the need to reduce Reba and to become more lean investing in the company, delivery, delivering technical practices, that's all been happening over the last couple of months. This is . I would say this has been more impactful than running training sessions on their home. So this time you will have a value stream workshop, help the team, see where they are, and then boom, right?


This is what we can do. These are the opportunities we can focus on. Um, and we'll go, we will go through the IPS from a DevOps practices, and that has been more impactful. So now we have been making a lot of progress. It's still, it's still early. We still have a long breakable. We have a committee, uh, doc has been helping with other value stream. Uh, we have been using Dora and the opportunities identified the opportunities. If I, them, we hold each other accountable to act on them. So the journey continues. So what happened now, looking back on this appreciating pusher, the chain champion enablement champion, we have lean, we have moved from a temper of excellence to a more decentralized model enablement. It's better than excellent. Excellent. I like this topic invest in home grown. They've been developing internal changes when it comes to community books, maca book clubs matter. Booklets can be the simplest and the most powerful force revolution. People read. People still read. People liked to have read because peer pressure is a strong factor, but one thing is don't let up because it's all voluntary. It's easy to lose track, totally to lose momentum. Don't let up. And I have learned this also holding each other accountable.


on the patient. It's the time to get that in workshop. That is what the investment. You don't have to wait for the perfect structure to get stop, um, uh, lead time and process something. Sometimes it has to pick out treatable. We are not using value streams to Jack a team's performance, looking at where they are and what we can do so that it's a goal. It's a journey. It's a journey of continuous improvement. I'd like to close off with this living other values. I talked about values, but now more importantly, I'm looking at values because any transformation enabling a confirmation cannot be successful without making the connection with the organization's values. And for me, this, these are the values that you can see on the left. These are the values each and every team member deletion. We strongly believe in this. So one of my favorite activities in workshops here, putting the values on the left and, um, the, the manifesto values and or the activities that we do when it comes to when it comes to DevOps and helping to map what they do, what the value is.


And that has been a profound exercise because these values also are not stop. They guide us in everything we do. Um, so like I was saying at the beginning, this is not completed. We are continuing this experiment. And, um, um, I hope to be able to share these findings more, more of finding the future, but all of you, and I hope more along with most people from my organization, um, with that I'd like to hear from you all, what questions do you have? What, uh, what, what resonated with you? What worked for you? We'd love to hear from, from you. Thank you.