An Interactive Workshop: Bridging the Gap Between Digital & Cultural Transformation

Any improvements made anywhere besides the bottleneck are an illusion. - Gene Kim, The Phoenix Project

After years of working on individual contributor development at Facebook and a decade of managing successful engineering teams at scale we’ve learned that the tools don’t matter unless you have cultural & process alignment.  Spinnaker is a leading class tool that has helped others transform their organization into world class cloud first organizations by deploying software 100x faster than a standard organization. But if you don’t have the right mindset, the right beliefs and behaviors to go along with this new technology you are setting yourself up for more frustration, not less.

Due to the proliferation of microservices, systems are increasing in their complexity and therefore are also creating more overhead. The trade-off of course is velocity but if you don’t have the right cultural values and mindsets you’ll incur all of the overhead and none of the benefit. We refer to this as a distributed monolith - where you implement the new systems and technology but your behavior and values towards the process remains the same.

Over the past decade digital and cultural transformation have been on the rise, yet for some organizations these transformations are running independent of one another. If we have learned anything, it’s that these transformations must happen at the same time for real success. The beliefs, behaviors and values must be in place before the technology. Being a high velocity organization requires people from all levels in the organizations to align around cultural values and the processes that enable them.

This workshop we’ll work as a team to identify cultural values, identify bottlenecks in current process that stop us from achieving these values and transformation.

Before we continue, it’s important to define the term culture. We define culture as the collection of: habits, norms, systems, behaviors, beliefs, and language that we collectively agree to. Culture is how we work together. It’s the canvas from which everything operates on.

About the Workshop

We will need 90 minutes but you might want to schedule 2 hours as prospects consistently want to run over due to interest in the topic.

The Exercise

The workshop is designed to drive collaboration and alignment among the participants using their own tensions, concerns and desired outcomes.  Below are some of the activities we will do as a group:

  • Identify current bottlenecks
  • Design “safe to try” experiments that help remove bottlenecks
  • Discover team structures that improve communication and productivity
  • Improve processes by identifying decisions based on old assumptions
  • Align on cultural values to drive performance and productivity

Workshop Output

A better understanding of what tensions and barriers you and your team have to adopting new technology or processes. A better understanding of the cultural changes you need to start working on in order to set your team up for success. A commitment to small moves you can start implementing the next day that will start your transformation journey.

Who should join?

While we want to limit the number of total people in the group we've found that having a diverse set of perspectives is a good way to have a conversation and gain alignment around specific problem areas for your software delivery pipeline.

Suggested Mix on Roles:

  • 1 (S)VP
  • 1 Director
  • 1-2 Manager
  • 2-3 DevOps/Ops
  • 1 Product Manager
  • 1-2 Application Developers
  • 1-2 of: QA/Security

About the Facilitators

Kate MacAleavey, Head of Culture and Leadership - is an expert in the area of  positive organizational psychology and utilizes a strengths-based model to increase job satisfaction, employee commitment, trust, engagement, and many more important psychological traits. She previously worked as a consultant in large scale culture transformation and was the head of Individual Contributer development at Facebook. Kate has an M.A. in Positive Organizational Psychology and Evaluation and an MBA, both from Claremont Graduate University.

Isaac Mosquera, CTO/Co-Founder -  has been leading an engineering and product team engaged in the Spinnaker community for three years. Prior to this, he spent 20 years architecting large-scale systems at companies such as ShareThis, Socialize and XM Satellite Radio, as well as creating high scalability/load websites for brands such as Games Radar by Future Publishing. He co-founded Armory to help enterprises innovate through happy & productive engineering teams.