On agile silos: design thinking, customer development, agile, lean, and more.

Took the following sections from Eric Ries when he spoke at the Lean Startup Meets Design Thinking. These are transcripts and some of the words may have been adapted or shorted as he was speaking incredibly fast.

“It’s easy for us, to kinda of get lost and forget what the purpose of our work everyday is. I think a lot of the waste in the modern work environment has to do with people that become disconnected from what is that purpose, what is the greater meaning of the work that we do.”
Eric Ries @ 10m35s
Lean Startup Meets Design Thinking

He goes on — the following is a draft transcription of what Eric says about the traditional companies, and the silos-oriented approach. Eric depicts how large companies are operating and the lack of a central theme that perhaps shows a current gap in many companies.

There is a lot of approaches that comes out of different functional elements of a modern corporation.
That have a lot of similarities, because we have been all struggling with a lot of the same problems.
If you pick a random, well run company, today;
And you imagine, zoom way out — you have God’s eye view.
And imagine each functional silos as if they were big physical grain silos
And you take one of the silos, the engineering, silo ,what you see? You will see a high iterative, engineering and agile development and extreme programming style iterative approach.
Grab the design silo, and they have read Tim’s book, and if they understand what a modern approach design looks like, you will see kind of design thinking that he mentioned.
Grab marketing, you will see customer development. If you grab operations, you will see some dev ops..
You might find an organization where at every silo, things are very iterative, customer centric, and where people are really focused on learning.
But then, zoom out and you will say “wow, this must be a really adaptable, learning oriented company, this is fantastic.” But actually, what you will see in a lot of companies, is, although there all this iteration learning happening at each individual silo, the actual work product that company produces, is passed binder to binder from each silo to the next, in a totally linear and old school waterfall style approach.
If you were the CEO of such a company, not a day goes by or somebody who works in one of those silos, does not come into your office and say “you know what would make the company a lot better? you should make my function in charge of all the other functions — and if we get all the other functions to do design thinking, or customer development, or agile, or pick your choice; that would make life easier”
Of course, everybody in all the silos are saying that, and, for modern managers that can be really challenging. So, for me, my aspiration for Lean Startup is not to have people adopt it as yet another silo approach, but rather to take these common elements, that are common to design thinking, and to agile, and to lean, and certain apply them at a system-wide, at the company level, so that we have a common framework for understanding what are the problems, a common approach for the process that we are going to use to solve those problems, and most importantly, we can speak the language of business to say “he are the concrete financial and business outcomes that we can achieve if we work in this way”. And that, really, I think, has been very effective in seeing companies getting transformed from the older style of working into a more modern way — that’s really what I am trying to accomplish.
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