Listen to the sounds your company makes

As you wander through cubicle land or navigate the landmines of an open office, you may hear soda cans opening and furious typing, quiet clicking and the occasional sigh, or perhaps even a head hitting the keyboard. These are not the sounds we are talking about!

We’re talking about the sounds of your experienced employees trying and wanting to have their voices heard.

Picture a third-shift factory machine operator who’s been looking after the same 10 machines for 12 years. One night they hear an abnormal noise coming from a machine and alert the engineer in charge who is fresh out of college.

The engineer doesn’t hear anything wrong but runs the standard by the book tests, and says, “Don’t worry about it, it’s all in your head.” A likely outcome here is the machine goes BOOM, the production line stops, losses are mounting and hopefully, the new engineer learns a tough lesson.

That lesson is your skilled employees, no matter what their station, have accrued more knowledge and insight over time than even they realize.

Why we cannot or do not listen

There are many reasons you may not pick up on these sounds. Unconnected silos, people focused solely on their tasks at hand, and those tasks being thrown over the wall are common ones. A likely root cause of this is a lack of shared strategy, vision and vocabulary.

An almost guaranteed root cause is not having a digital strategy and lifecycle in place to facilitate communication and collaboration throughout the life of a digital product.

How to use lifecycle to empower people on all sides and create opportunities for innovation

To revisit the machinery analogy, picture an assembly line made up of many machines. Even if these machines are working individually in perfect order, the overall output of the line depends on the connections and process flows between them.

Companies are generally doing a good – or at least better – job today on the technical side utilizing DevOps lifecycles, which is important, but not enough. Similar processes can also be applied to your business and product groups, creating a pipeline of pipelines, which when combined will give you an end-to-end digital lifecycle.

With this lifecycle and careful consideration of the boundary checkpoints and people involved, you can ensure that the right people are involved at the correct time and are in a position to listen and respond to the “business sounds” being made.

How does this apply to your company?

We spent 2019 doing Accelerate Strategy/Lifecycle workshops with large companies around the world.

No matter the business domain, what we saw over and over is that technical people have latent product ideas, and product people have latent technical ideas. The key here is bridging the silos and opening up opportunities for listening and acting upon this knowledge.

The end goal is to have the people closest to the “problem” – and therefore likely the most knowledge – involved together at the right touchpoints during the digital lifecycle. This will almost always involve several different teams and likely ones that don’t communicate very well.

When teams are aligned around a common strategy and have a lightweight but powerful lifecycle as guard rails, the speed of execution, the collaboration between business units, and job satisfaction can all be positively impacted. And this leads to an increase in the quality and quantity of digital output.

The Catalysts @ Axway can help with Accelerate strategy

Something we have seen great success with is assisting companies to take a step back and look at the big picture of the overall strategy, ecosystems, API products and lifecycles.

We do this by getting key people from across multiple departments into a room, sparking conversations that likely have never been had, and helping you come together and execute as an organization around an overall digital and API strategy.

Explore our Accelerate strategy offerings covering this topic and many more.

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