Step one: Design effective cross-functional teams
Transformations are inherently uncertain and unpredictable endeavours that no amount of upfront planning can fully account for.
While some initial planning is always a good idea, extensive upfront planning is generally a wasteful exercise. This is because most plans cannot withstand the many unforeseen challenges and obstacles that will inevitably arise in a complex and uncertain environment. That’s why, rather than following an extensive planning process, it’s generally better to envision and articulate a desired direction and apply the principle of optionality using well-designed, cross-functional teams.
But in order to design an effective cross-functional team, you’ll need the right approach.
In the double triangle model, change expertise is paired with functional expertise to create a “team of teams” configuration that we call “coalitions”. Change expertise provides the capability to identify, explore and test new ways of working, while functional expertise provides the capability to contextualize existing functions, processes and policies, and provide guidance as to how they might be adapted to achieve the future state.
In the micro-transformation model, coalitions are partnered with a line of business to incrementally transition product and program teams known as “pods” to the transformed future state.
As shown in the figure below, coalitions support pods, which enables them to reach the future state as quickly as possible with the least amount of friction.
Figure M: Coalitions support Pods, adapted from Guo, O'Brien, Mason