Improving Delivery Through Empowerment: 4 Steps to Empower an Agile Team

Your company is moving to Agile from waterfall, and you want to ensure a smooth transformation that keeps projects healthy. As a scrum master working to transform a traditional waterfall SDLC process into an Agile one, I have learned a few pointers when navigating this transformation. An important concept to keep in mind during this transformation is empowerment.

One of Agile’s core tenets is the value of “individuals and interactions” over “processes and tools”. The idea is to foster a high-velocity decision making process, which hinges on open and honest communication in a co-located environment. However, implementing this change can be very difficult for team members who have previously worked on waterfall projects. You may find employees reluctant to volunteer for work, or hesitant to take on new challenges. Why is this so?

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downward spiral

When New Technology Causes Productivity to Plummet

Technology is expected to enhance productivity

Most business cases for technology investments include “productivity gains.” Even when no formal business case is created or communicated, users, managers, and executives implicitly expect that new technology will make their lives better.

However, many organizations spend money on technology as if it were a lottery ticket—hoping they will win. We could consider technology investments to be calculated risks, but, unfortunately, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Most investments in tech turn into mechanical implementation projects that result in more complaints than compliments.

The most common complaint about technology from the user community is that it kills productivity, exactly the KPI it aims to improve. There are two reasons:

  1. Underutilization
  2. Poor maintenance and support

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A Maturity Model for Vendor Relationships: You Can’t Marry All of Them

Vendor management is an internal IT function that often has room for improvement. A maturity model is a helpful tool for evaluating the state of any given vendor relationship, and determining the overall balance of your organization’s dependency on vendors.

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No More Excuses: IT Initiatives Must Deliver Measurable Business Outcomes

Delivering on scope, on time, and on budget aren’t enough. Internal customers want tangible results from IT. They want real value.

But too often, those in charge of IT programs and projects tend to shy away from taking responsibility for delivering actual business outcomes.

In this video, Mikhail debunks the 2 most common myths used as excuses by IT managers for not performing “value tests”:

Excuse #1. IT can’t directly affect business outcomes. (You can and should.)
Excuse #2. Overhead for measuring value is too expensive. (No, it doesn’t.)

Watch to learn how to overcome these lame excuses:

(Did you enjoy the video? Consider subscribing to our YouTube channel.)

TWEETTweet: No More Excuses: IT Initiatives Must Deliver Measurable
Business Outcomes #ITLeadership @MPapov https://ctt.ec/4wz8K+

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The Keys to Managing Your Outsourced IT Resources

Congratulations! You’ve decided to outsource some of your IT services, based on a sound resourcing strategy. And you’ve found a reliable outsourcing partner. Now you need to manage your outsourced IT team.

If you’ve ever managed a vendor, you may have had one of the following thoughts cross your mind:

  • “This team just doesn’t get it. I have repeatedly expressed how they can be successful here, but they keep doing the opposite!”
  • “We didn’t award them a new project they bid on, and now it seems there is a lack of interest in the entire account.”
  • “The resources assigned to this contract are incompetent, but the account exec is unwilling to switch them out.”
  • “During management updates, they only focus on the positive. They are not being transparent.”

Such warning signs usually mean a key resource management responsibility has been fumbled or forgotten.

To set yourself up for success, manage your outsourced IT resources on two dimensions: the relationship and the outcomes.

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VIDEO Fixing IT Service Customer Satisfaction - Abraic

Fixing Internal Customer Satisfaction, One Budget Line Item at a Time

For the IT organization’s internal customers, satisfaction is a reflection of the perceived value they get for the money they spend.

The most successful guiding principle for IT to increase internal customer satisfaction is: follow the money.

Watch to learn more about how we apply this idea with our customers:

(Did you enjoy the video? Please subscribe to our YouTube channel.)

tweet-graphic-transTweet: Fixing Internal #CustomerSatisfaction, One Budget
Line Item at a Time [VIDEO] https://ctt.ec/W0400+

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Podcast

PODCAST: IT Outcomes & Internal Customer Satisfaction

I was pleased to be interrogated – er, interviewed – by the talented Cassie Crossley on her new podcast, Tech Leaders Today.

Please take a listen to uncover:

  • our recruiting and staffing approach
  • IT’s biggest problem today
  • stories of how we solved 2 different clients’ problems

Excerpts from our conversation are transcribed below.

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IT Can’t Please Everyone

Sorry to break it to you this way. It’s a fact of life: IT cannot complete its work faster than the business can think of it.

The dependence on IT is growing exponentially, priorities shift constantly, and new opportunities come up daily. The gap between expectations of IT and its capacity is often widened by those executives who claim they are not technologically well-versed, yet assume IT can waive a magic wand and technology will just work.

That IT cannot please everyone is not a problem – it is a reality. Frankly, a hypothetical IT department that satisfies everybody 100% would be so expensive it would defeat the purpose. The key is finding the balance between responsible spending and internal customer satisfaction.

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QC, QA, and Cost of Quality

tweet-graphic-transTweet: QC, #QA, and Cost of Quality | #Abraic blog
@mpapov http://ctt.ec/dq0do+

Quality Is What the Customer Says It Is

All customers, regardless of industry or market, internal or external to an organization, want quality. Quality is crucial to maintaining a competitive edge. But what is quality? The best definition of quality I have seen is “fitness for purpose.” This works everywhere from a business setting to a family meal.

No matter what definition you use, the quality of a product or service is ultimately defined by the customer.

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Establishing SLAs for Internal IT Services

Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are standard for measuring performance of an outsourced service.

But what happens when an IT service is managed internally? How are expectations set? How is performance measured?

When IT services are insourced, there should still be SLAs in place in order to sustain internal customer satisfaction and alignment with business priorities.

Without SLAs, the business resorts to a subjective assessment, often concluding that IT services are overpriced, slow, or inadequate, without the information needed to evaluate the real value of the team.

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