Most senior leaders out there only want the best for (and from) their technology teams. And there’s good reason; you would be hard pressed to find any product, in any market today, that doesn’t in some way rely on technology.
Our technology teams have become the linchpin to nearly everything we do as a business. The performance and effectiveness of those teams has become directly tied to the performance of our products and services. It is little wonder then that a recent survey, found improving the productivity of tech teams was a core priority among senior leaders.
But it’s not all about productivity. The whole point of technology in business is to enable value. As a business, we generally want our tech teams to deliver maximum business value. Delivering the best business outcome, in the shortest possible time, and with the least amount of risk.
So, what is it we need to do to set our technology teams up for success? How can we supercharge them, so they can be all that they can be? Well It all starts with you, their leader…
Have the confidence in your team:
Fortunately, most senior leaders are confident in their teams skills and abilities. But not all do and having the long-term confidence in their ability doesn’t necessarily mean having the immediate trust to deliver.
Fundamentally, if you don’t believe in your team, then your team won’t either. If this is you, then something needs to change or you’re not going to get very far. That might mean just getting to know your team better, bringing in the right skills and support, or some other broader change to either the team or yourself.
Identify and align your true business value:
Do you know the true value of your business to your customers and partners? What about to your employees?
Chances are the value you bring as a business to the people around you is more than financial. Understanding what that value is, both internally and externally, will help you to align your priorities.
If everyone is beating to the same drum, your delivery teams are bound to be more effective.
Create a decision and information focused organisation:
It turns out, the speed at which an organisation can move is essentially limited by its ability to make decisions. Behind every one of those decisions is the information, data, and knowledge needed to support them.
Organisations, their cultures, and processes, need to be structured to allow for quick and effective decisions at every level. To allow this, supporting information and knowledge should be easy to find, access, and consume. Teams should be empowered to make the right decisions at their level, with a supportive culture when things go wrong.
Cut communication and collaboration waste:
Upwards of 50% or more of your team’s productivity can be lost through poor communication and collaboration. When you consider the opportunity cost this represents, then the impacts to your business can be many times this number.
There are plenty of collaboration and knowledge management tools out there aimed at cutting your communication waste. As with anything though, it’s not the tools you use but how you use them that makes a difference.
Tools aside, getting people out of their inbox and creating value is likely to require a change in culture, processes, and work practices.
Manage risk effectively:
The under or over management of risk in business can be a significant source of waste and frustration. If there is going to be a source of contention inside a technology team, it’s likely to be based on how risk is understood and managed.
There is no one size fits all approach to managing risk. Each organisation and activity within that organisation will have different needs. Choosing an approach that suits not only your organisation, but the different levels of risk within it, will ensure your risks are managed and communicated much more effectively
Tailor your systems and processes, but not too much:
Most off the shelf products, systems, and processes are built and engineered to suit the majority of cases. The general case may suit your teams from the outset, or it may not. Your choice here is then to either adapt your team or adapt the systems and process to better suit.
It may take you a little time and experimentation to figure out which choice will achieve the best outcome. If you set out with a customisation program from the get go however, you may never really understand the consequences of your actions.
Like most things, a little balance here is key, but both options should be expected. Just don’t mistake a heavy handed customisation program for continuous improvement. Know the difference.
Time to take action!
If you’ve been under pressure or experienced frustration due to your technology systems, teams, and processes, then there is plenty of things you can do to change that. Or perhaps you’ve been happy with their performance but would just like to see them be all they can be.
The great thing is you don’t have to do this all on your own. There are plenty of resources available to help you. Internally to your organisation, there will surely be an abundance of ideas as well.
As their leader, there is no doubting however where the broader initiative must begin…