How do we start?

Updated: Apr 26

When I think about where we were before the COVID-19 crisis, I did not think that we in IT were doing a great job. Many research reports were all indicating a remarkably similar pattern, IT generally thought it was doing a good job, maybe even a great job, but the business was saying something vastly different. So why the disconnect between IT and the broader business. I think it possibly simple to unpack this and say that IT generally still only asks for feedback that is largely related to the support services it provides the business, and generally, the feedback is that they are doing ok when people have an issue to resolve that issue.

When the broader question is asked of the business how IT is doing the feedback is not so impressive as we know IT has struggled to keep pace with the ever-changing demands and velocity of business needs. We can add to this the changing expectations of the employees, who experience rich and frictionless experiences in their personal technology eco-systems and then come into the work environment to be far more constrained and experience a far more fragmented set of experiences.

When we now add what has happened with COVID-19 we have seen a significant uptake of certain technologies to enable remote working. As previously stated in one of my other posts and my podcast series, some organisations were better prepared than others based on their maturity to move quicker than others with their response. In saying that what really has changed in the way people are working? You used to sit in back to back meetings and now you are online in back to back virtual meetings? When did work become work and why can’t we seem to break out of this cycle? When most of us want greater agility and flexibility from the technologies that we use or have a choice to access?

I like the quote “why did God create the world in seven days because he had no legacy”. So, to take stock there was already a lot of frustration and disengagement in the workplace, so how we seize the opportunity that we have in front of us and change the outcomes.

“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” - Albert Einstein

So, we need to start, so the question is where and how - we need an agile mindset, not an agile toolset. So here is your new plan:

1. Start gaining quick insights into the tensions that exist across the various groups in your organisation, nothing is too big or too small, just collect as much input as you can. There are many ways to do this but int the current environment use some form of a pulse-like survey to gain insights. Start by asking open-ended about how people are feeling and what is stopping them from doing their work or being productive. Do not take too long by trying to design the best set of questions. The key is gaining insights, not winning a prize for the perfect question.

2. Group / categorise and organise into a canvas like format to be able to share and work with.

3. Approach key leaders to gain support to invite a group of cross-disciplined people to some online workshops. You want to start developing a view of small working teams.

4. Run a series of small focused workshops that share the tensions that you have gained insights into, and then within these workshops explore possibilities to provide solutions to these tensions.

5. Run a series of workshops as you should have a good sample of possible ways to improve the services people are consuming. Create a simple assessment of the possibilities adding some dimensions on practicality, investment, time, and resource to implement. Now rate the top three in various categories so you can replay back to the small teams.

6. Now start building experiments to implement deciding on the size and duration of each experiment.

The above starts to build a “loop” approach and the goal is to have many of these different loops running across your organisation. We need to move away from the legacy thinking that we need a one size fit all approach and we need to design from the “outside-in not the inside out”. We also must acknowledge that not everyone will be ready to try and adopt new ways of doing things so do not push it, go where people are able and willing to be involved and engage.

“it’s not where we start that is important its where we finish”

So, what is the key to starting? That you start as it’s not where we start that is important its where we finish and for us (IT) we need to bridge the gap that has been built up for a long time between what we already provide and what our business needs. Technology is an enabler that connects everyone, and we need to empower everyone to be their best selves and do their best work. I am sure that once we start experimenting, we will be amazed by the innovation and adoption of new ways of working lead through this co-creation process.

If you need assistance to start then please come and visit me at and start a conversion to see how I can assist.

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