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The missing link

The missing link between company strategy and Dev(Ops) teams. Presented at Agilia Budapest 2017.

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The missing link

  1. 1. The missing link Between company strategy and Dev(Ops) teams Bart den Haak, @bartdenhaak,
  2. 2. Independent Lean software development consultant (LSD). Past: entrepreneur, platform/software architect, developer Sports: Kite surfer, snowboarder, free athlete LeanBart, @bartdenhaak
  3. 3. Focus on the wrong things (output) PM MT CXO Self-Organized DevOps Teams
  4. 4. (Exaggerated?) example of “extant structure” — by Mark Walsh from Integration Training
  5. 5. Lack of motivation Questions you can ask teams/individuals: Why do you come to work?
  6. 6. Wrong Priorities
  7. 7. What is your company strategy? Source:
  8. 8. The missing link: Disconnected company strategy MISSION VISION STRATEGY Why does the company exist World picture of the future Broad priorities Agile / Lean Team(s) ?? ??
  9. 9. A perfect organization
  10. 10. What can we do?
  11. 11. Management by Objectives (MBO) 1954, Peter Drucker, Balanced Scorecard
  12. 12. The missing link MISSION VISION STRATEGY OBJECTIVES Why does the company exist World picture of the future Broad priorities What we will focus on in the next term Agile / Lean Team(s) ?? ??
  13. 13. OKR to the rescue Objective and key results (OKRs) is a framework of defining and tracking objectives and their outcomes.
  14. 14. OKR resurgence First developed by Andrew Grove, VP Intel, 1970s “This is why I’m so happy to see the resurgence of OKR’s. When used properly, they help to reframe this situation from output (features on roadmaps) to outcome (business results).” ~ Marty Cagan, ex Senior VP Product Design, eBay
  15. 15. The link - OKRs MISSION VISION STRATEGY OBJECTIVES KEY RESULTS Why does the company exist World picture of the future Broad priorities What we will focus on in the next term How we know we’ve achieved An objective Agile / Lean Team(s) Input for concepts Cash
  16. 16. OKR - Crash course Andy Grove, CEO Intel (1987-1998) - Objectives & Key results. Objective: An objective is a concise statement outlining a broad qualitative goal designed to propel the organization forward in a desired direction. “What do we want to do?” It needs to be aspirational Key Results: A key result is a quantitative statement that measures the achievement of a given objective. “How will we know if we’ve met our objective”. Needs to be measurable Every quarter you set and evaluate them. Max 5 Objectives and 5 Key results
  17. 17. Connecting OKRs Company OKRs Business Unit OKRs Team OKRs Individual OKRs Business Unit OKRs Team OKRs Individual OKRs
  18. 18. OKR - An example Objective: “Design a compelling website that attracts people to OKRs” Key results: ● 20 percent of visitors return to the site in one week. ● 10 percent of visitors inquire about our training and consulting services.
  19. 19. ● Communication; Easy to understand system increases buy-in and use. ● Agility; Frequent cycles foster agility and change-readiness. ● Focus; OKRs ensure everyone is clear about what matters most. ● Transparency; Making measurable goals visible promotes cross-functional alignment. ● Engagement; Most OKRs originate bottoms-up so teams and individuals own their goals. ● Visionary thinking; OKRs stretch our thinking about what’s possible. OKR benefits
  20. 20. An OKR case study
  21. 21. Hypothesis OKRs will help teams with self-organization, company alignment and focus on business value. Hype or not?
  22. 22. Method used Grounded theory: Survey’s, memo’s, interviews. Plan: ● Life before OKR a.k.a. “The benchmark” ● Life after OKR
  23. 23. Org chart C-Office Loyalty Manager eCommerce Manager DevOps Team DevOps Team DevOps Team Business Team Business Team
  24. 24. Participants Developers: 15 Product owners: 2 Product & Business managers (Digital Marketing- & Shop Managers): 3 Executives (CEO/CFO) : 2
  25. 25. What is the company strategy 2017?
  26. 26. What is the company strategy 2017 - After OKR
  27. 27. What are the objectives for Q2?
  28. 28. What are the objectives for Q3? After OKR
  29. 29. What are your team objectives for Q2? ● Improve business KPI with X%: 50% ● Improve turnover with X%: 50% When are the DevOps teams successful? ● If more than 50% of the releases contain business value. ● Delivery on time, Improved collaboration with the business teams Survey results - Business Team - Before OKRs
  30. 30. What are your team objectives for Q3? ● When conversion is increased: 70% ● When net promoter score is increased: 15% ● Projects finished: 15% When are the DevOps teams successful? ● No degradation in performance: 100% Survey results - Business Team - After OKRs
  31. 31. What are your team objectives for Q2? ● Finish project X: 82% ● Fix/Reduce Defects: 18% When is your team (devops) successful? ● When my project is finished and live: 52% ● If we have clear requirements before we start project Y: 8% ● Stable product, conversion on mobile increases: 16% ● We have created a framework to be proud at: 8% ● Don’t know: 16% Survey results - DevOps Teams - Before OKRs
  32. 32. What are your team objectives for Q2? ● Finish project X: 100%. Note: everybody seems to be aligned. When is your team (devops) successful? ● When my project is finished and live: 75% ● When we meet our objectives: 12,5% ● Lower defect rate: 12,5% Survey results - DevOps Teams - After OKRs
  33. 33. What are your personal objectives for Q2 (devops)? ● Improve Quality of code/tests: 82% ● Fix/Reduce Defects: 18% What are your personal objectives for Q2 (business)? ● Clear target definition for project: 50% ● Don’t know: 50% Survey results - Personal Objectives - Before OKRs
  34. 34. What are your personal objectives for Q2 (devops)? ● Personal growth and learning new things : 37% ● Improvement of workflow and process 13% ● Innovation of technology: 50% What are your personal objectives for Q2 (business)? ● Increase mobile conversion. 20% ● Don’t know: 80% Survey results - Personal Objectives - After OKRs
  35. 35. Observations
  36. 36. What went wrong ● No strategy ● No kick-off with C-office involvement ● Company Objectives/KR not created from the start
  37. 37. Observations after OKRs ● Focus is there! Less items on the roadmap 2018. Less Tech ● ‘Missing’ of a good annual strategy becomes visible ● Beginning to ‘understand’ difference between OKRs and KPIs ● Start of reorg to BusDevOps teams! ● Executives enthusiastic about OKRs, feeling they get more visibility
  38. 38. A word about culture Source: Dr. Ron Westrum,
  39. 39. Critics / Future work ● Longer measurement period (> 6 months), more significant? ● Are they better in self-organization? ● Can the study be used to benchmark OKRs? ● Or better...OKRs for OKR
  40. 40. Key takeaways ● The missing link between strategy and Dev(Ops) teams are the objectives and key results. ● Self-organized teams need strategy and objectives from their leaders ● Common focus immediately visible after OKR implementation ● Survey can be used as benchmark for OKRs ● OKRs do not work in all company cultures
  41. 41. Thanks! Twitter: @bartdenhaak Linkedin: bartdenhaak Email:
  42. 42. References LeanBart OKR Survey: OKRs at Google: Dan North: What are self-organising teams: Books: ● Objectives and Key results, Paul R. Niven, Ben Lamorte ● The Practice of Management, Peter F. Drucker