The past year has forced many organisations to adapt their ways of working and how they approach accelerating digitalisation. However, this ever-changing environment shouldn’t stop you from pressing pause from time to time and taking a look at the ways in which you do things.
Understanding the digital maturity of your organisation is not always easy to do in the heat of the moment. At our recent event on assessing your digital maturity, 100% of people said they didn’t have a clear view of their digital maturity today or a vision and guide for the future. By backstepping back and reviewing your organisation’s delivery engine, you can identify opportunities and drive benefits, such as improved performance, more engaged and autonomous teams, better processes, and even cost savings.
How can you review your digital maturity?At AND, we have developed a number of approaches to assess the maturity of Digital Delivery teams. These include:
- Digital Health Check - a holistic analysis of the current digital landscape of an organisation focusing on five areas - people, product, delivery, technology, and data. The Health Check includes a deep dive into how you’re organised, how you do product, and the technology strategy in place - architecture, tools and processes.
- Product Team Assessment - a structured analysis of the Product teams in the context of your organisation, focusing primarily on your product operation.
- Delivery Capability Assessment - focuses on the delivery side, reviewing how you work, identifying ways of working improvements together, and strategising on how to implement those changes.
Why a check-up is always a good iIdea
By undertaking these kinds of reviews you can quickly establish the maturity of your delivery engine. The results should allow you to gauge your strengths, alongside the areas of improvements, and give you a baseline to regularly compare your progress, whether by re-running the maturity assessment or by running regular internal checkpoints.
Reviews should have clear findings but also recommended courses of actions that align with areas you view as the top priority. Recommendations can range from concrete quick wins (such as creating a welcome microsite for new joiners and creating a data handling log) to more strategic long term work (such as performing a deep dive review of your APIs, breaking up your monolith or creating a discovery culture).
When do digital maturity reviews work best?
In our experience, there are a number of specific scenarios where we’ve seen digital maturity reviews concretely help teams to improve:
- Where the leadership team has a view on potential improvements that could require investment. The maturity assessment can help to test that potential improvement, while the data uncovered during the review can be used to support business cases.
- Where the team themselves would like an external perspective on ‘what good looks like’ and want to compare that perspective to how they are currently working. The review should look across the industry to pull out best practices and work with the teams to identify the practices that best fit them. The reviewer should also work collaboratively with the team to draw up a roadmap of improvement.
How do you ensure maturity is fairly measured?
To ensure the data and information being gathered is fair, the maturity assessment should consist of a variety of methods, including deep-dive interviews, surveys, observation of teams, and sometimes the inspection of products and artefacts.
It should also be a highly collaborative process. By doing this, it creates an environment where conversations with teams and the stakeholders really dive deeply into concrete examples and situations, to see how things are done in reality rather than the theoretical processes. And more importantly, why are things done this way. A good assessment takes into account that every team has its own circumstances, that every highly mature organisation is unique and has had to iterate and adapt to get where they are, and that what works for one team may not necessarily work for all.
For instance, we often ask organisations if they use personas in their discovery process, which is quite a common approach in Agile and design development. What we’re interested in is to see how well they integrate real users’ needs into their products. It might be that they do that very well without using a persona and have found another process that works better for them. Equally, a team might have spent some time creating such personas and while those are hanging nicely on their wall, in practice they are not used as effectively as they certainly could be.
Essentially, what good looks like can mean very different things to different teams, so a fair maturity assessment needs to be tailored to focus on guiding a team to assess their maturity against their own scale.
Why a health check should be a positive experience
The primary goal of our maturity assessments is to spot the gaps and areas of improvements, but we have also seen many additional positive outcomes For instance, the reviews can highlight the areas where an organisation is particularly mature. Not only does this help to celebrate the successes in areas of high maturity and the people that make it happen, but it can also inspire other teams in the organisation to liaise and learn from these teams, in the style of a community of practice.
Additionally, the interview process should be a chance to discuss team successes, needs, and struggles. By using a conversational approach and creating a safe-forum, it allows interviewees to bounce ideas and discuss decisions with like-minded people. These reviews should not be thought of as audit results, as we believe there are no right or wrong answers, but a place to think together and explore concrete solutions for growth.
Only good things can come from creating a conversation and questioning the way we do things on a regular basis, whether it is regarding digital delivery or more broadly. Or as British Transport Police would put it so well, in times where travel was still a thing, “See it. Say it. Sorted”.
If you’re interested in learning more about our digital health checks, product team assessments, or our delivery assessment, get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org.