Managing Change for Technology Teams

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Managing Change for Technology Teams HOW CAN YOU BEST LEVERAGE YOUR STRENGTHS? ARE YOU LEAN AND AGILE OR STRONG IN NUMBERS? “THE X-WING FIGHTER VS. USS ENTERPRISE” Change in business drives innovation and growth. For technology team members, change inspires professional development. Whether you are a leader or an individual contributor, knowing how to effectively plan for and adapt with change based on the needs of your team or organization can make your work more effective, successful, and rewarding. How can you best leverage your strengths? Are you lean and agile or strong in numbers? Are you an X-Wing fighter or the USS Enterprise? This guide explores actions available to all members of a technology team working to successfully navigate change. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 02

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THIS GUIDE EXPLORES HOW TECHNOLOGY TEAMS CAN SUCCESSFULLY NAVIGATE CHANGE. CONTENTS 01 Getting Focused 02 Size Determines Strategy 03 The Small Business 04 The Medium-Size Business 05 The Enterprise 06 Conclusion p.04 p.05 p.06 p.09 p .1 2 p .1 5

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01 Getting Focused 4 KEY CONSIDERATIONS Change is demanding. When managing change for a technology team, it’s important to know where to focus. Decision-Making Change requires a decision to act. Often, conversations take place but there is a reluctance to commit to the work discussed. Perceived risk or lack of consensus may contribute to inaction. Ultimately, a decision needs to be made. O1 : GETTING FOCUSED Planning Support Trust Change requires planning. Adjusting roles or switching directions without a plan breeds chaos. A plan won’t outline everything. It’s not the law. It’s a guide. As it unfolds, unknowns come into play. Have a plan, but don’t be chained to it. Change is difficult when employees affected aren’t aware it’s coming. Their value to an organization becomes less clear. For managers, supporting a team is a key responsibilty. They also should support stakeholders, other managers, and clients. Change puts trust to the test. For managers, rely on the strengths of your team, stakeholders, and other managers to ease the pressure. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 04

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02 Size Determines Strategy “THE X-WING FIGHTER VS. USS ENTERPRISE” How change is best handled depends on an organization’s size. Startups and small businesses, medium-size companies, and large enterprises all function differently. Startups and small businesses are affected by the same dynamics that characterize X-Wing fighters in Star Wars. At the other end of the spectrum, large organizations embody characteristics of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek. In Star Wars, small and incredibly fast X-Wing fighters hold a single pilot. They can quickly maneuver in new directions to complete their missions. But they aren’t very powerful. And due to their size, they are vulnerable. In Star Trek, the USS Enterprise is large and typically slow but powerful. When its hundreds of crewmembers work well together, the ship can travel at amazing speeds. It becomes a formidable opponent with equally powerful offensive and defensive capabilities. O2 : SIZE DETERMINES STRATEGY LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 05

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03 The Small Business GETTING ESTABLISHED Let’s look at a hypothetical startup or small business building a mobile application for an emerging industry. The industry shifts and the solution needs adjusting, so the company pursues “establishment change” to adjust its initial work and gain a market foothold. The change here is localized among a handful of employees who can individually or through lightweight collaboration react, plan, and execute. O3 : THE SMALL BUSINESS LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 06

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The Small Business ceo vp product develpment office manager vp marketing developer quality engineer The CEO works directly with two vice presidents to communicate and accomplish change. O3 : THE SMALL BUSINESS The vice president of product development functions as product manager, architect, and development manager, and can realign the solution from all three of those perspectives —explaining the new strategy to the developer and quality engineer. For the developer, the directive originates from a single person and is one level removed from the source of the change, the CEO. In all likelihood, the message is clear and actionable. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 07

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The Small Business Decision-Making Planning ✓ Use small size to an advan-  ✓ Use defined goals to build ✓ Identify key factors affecting  ✓ Build a technical roadmap tage. Communicate and collaborate to understand the decision-making process. a decision. (Decisions are usually made by the CEO in an organization this size.) ✓ Clearly define goals. O3 : THE SMALL BUSINESS your planning process. Post the goals on a wall, and refer to them often. with clear milestones. Check each one to ensure it aligns with goals. ✓ Build the need to correct course into your plan. Your team is small, so you can navigate unknowns well, but only if you aren’t overwhelmed. Support  ✓ Support your colleagues universally. Change at an organization this size is a big risk, and you need to help everyone.  ✓ Consider how you can embody change. Is there something outward-facing you can adjust? Take advantage of this time to do that, and share it with your team. Make a culture of change something that is embraced. Trust  ✓ Trust your colleagues to use their expertise and amplify their commitment. Remember, trust got you this far.  ✓ Trust the work that goes into making the change. Since the organization is small, you are able to contribute greatly to the decision-making process. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 08

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04 The Medium-Size Business EVOLVING FOR NEW GROWTH Let’s look at a hypothetical medium-size business of about 500 employees building a single successful product for an existing user base. O4 : THE MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESS LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 09

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The Medium-Size Business ceo cto cmo vp product management vp engineering developer lead quality lead developers architect coo vp product marketing user experience designers product marketing manager campaign manager quality engineers A product manager who works indirectly with a team to develop a product often identifies opportunity. The initial idea is communicated along a short chain across sections of the product development group as needed. If it is a larger project, multiple product managers work on components of the product and coordinate with multiple engineering teams. O4 : THE MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESS product managers vp user experience cfo The architect, developer leads, and quality leads must determine how the change will impact all aspects of the work ahead and plan for adjustments in development methodology and architecture. User experience designers may be required to implement the change. Developers, quality engineers, and architects are all dependent on the product manager and the developer lead, who define and prioritize the scope of work and feature roadmap. Employee roles are specialized and not “doubled up” for any one person. An individual developer focused on one feature or component of the whole product communicates and collaborates with fellow developers as needed. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 10

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The Medium-Size Business Decision-Making ✓ Voice risks, and be open to multiple options. You aren’t at a small company anymore. Agreement might not come by consensus. Planning   ✓ Accommodate multiple teams ✓ Rely on your team, and lead to build your plan. Your plan isn’t limited to your immediate team. Stakeholders will play a key role.  ✓ Build a case and communicate ✓ Tap your infrastructure for it effectively to the technology team, customer, and overall business. If a technology issue drives the change, you may own the decision. Support help mapping out steps. You’ve already got a team, so use it.  ✓ Develop an end-to-end by example to help support team members.  ✓ Support managers as well. Understand their anxiety. Answer their questions.  ✓ Create a safe place where concerns are heard and addressed. Trust ✓ Tap the unique skills of employees in specialized roles, and encourage them to work together. ✓ Connect employees from disparate disciplines to encourage unique solutions. Invite varying points of view. ✓ Trust your stakeholders. Give them the autonomy to do their jobs clearly and with ownership. plan, but take each step one at a time. O4 : THE MEDIUM-SIZE BUSINESS LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 11

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05 The Enterprise SUSTAINING SUCCESS Let’s look at a hypothetical large enterprise with employees in the thousands, or even tens of thousands. The company built a successful product and expanded its portfolio to three business units of products, services, and technologies. One product line nears the end of its life. The company needs to expand into a new area. O5 : THE ENTERPRISE LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 12

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The Enterprise ceo svp product design evp business unit vp product design cto svp division director product design evp business unit evp business unit vp product group vp engineering group product designer product management director engineering senior product manager engineering manager cio coo coo general counsel cro cmo product marketing manager user experience designer cfo campaign manager product managers developer lead developers qa lead Impacts of change ripple widely. It’s a challenge to shift the focus of highly skilled professionals to something new. They have deep institutional knowledge O5 : THE ENTERPRISE architect quality engineers Business opportunity research, analysis, product design, marketing, and other functions are highly specialized. Product managers typically focus on components. They collaborate to coordinate feature roadmaps and prioritize across multiple sets of needs. vp marketing acquisitions marketing manager media marketing of an existing product built on years of architecture and technical debt. Should the company transform the skills of its existing team, layoff staff and hire a new team, or pursue both strategies? Urgency, and the importance of the single revenue source, can impact this decision. If a company has multiple lines of equally successful products, the process can be evolutionary. If not, revolutionary change may be needed. The scope of communication required is huge. Individual technology professionals must embrace an entirely new ecosystem of software development, customer needs, and feature sets. The change affects one business unit, but the interdependencies of technology and infrastructure mandate an epic plan that analyzes and accommodates impacts and communicates them to all stakeholders. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 13

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The Enterprise Decision-Making Planning  ✓ Accept that decision-making is ✓ Ask questions. Which usually opaque, and move on. For managers, questioning the process takes time away from being a leader for your team. components of current products do others rely on? What dependencies will affect the roadmaps of other teams?  ✓ Ensure you are not adding risk by reducing the maintenance of an existing product. O5 : THE ENTERPRISE Support Trust   ✓ Consider all available options. ✓ Trust that your organization’s established lines of business will help provide revenue.  ✓ Accommodate training. It is part of the work.  ✓ For managers, rely on Human Resources when transitioning employees out of the organization. For those leaving, write recommendations and provide references. Be there for them, wherever they go. LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 14

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06 Conclusion Change is fundamental in business. You, your technology team, and your entire organization can be prepared. At a startup or small business, quickly and adeptly address a market with scalable and adaptive technologies and platforms. At a medium-size business, understand how to evolve through observation, data science, or analysis. At the enterprise, encourage a culture of change and actively communicate across business units. Whether your business is an X-Wing fighter or the USS Enterprise, your mission will be a success. O6 : CONCLUSION LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | PAGE 15

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About the Author Doug Winnie is director of content for the lynda.com Technology library at LinkedIn, and has worked in the software industry in multiple roles for more than 15 years. Through his work with companies like Lexus, Safeway, Hewlett-Packard, and Industrial Light & Magic, he has been recognized multiple times for industry awards, including two Webby Award nominations. Prior to LinkedIn and lynda.com, Doug worked for many years at Adobe as a principal product manager bridging the gap between the needs and requirements of designers and developers, which resulted in many projects and applications. Currently, Doug lives in San Francisco. He is @sfdesigner on Twitter. ABOUT THE AUTHOR LYNDA.COM | MANAGING CHANGE FOR TECHNOLOGY TEAMS | 16

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About lynda.com A leader in online learning, lynda.com helps anyone in any organization learn software, creative, and business skills to achieve personal, academic, or professional goals. With a lynda.com subscription, users get unlimited access to a vast online library of high-quality, current, and engaging video tutorials. Users of any skill level have the ability to watch bite-size segments for immediate problem solving or take comprehensive courses from start to finish—at work, school, home, or on the go. New courses and topics are added every week at no extra cost. We carefully select the world’s top subject-matter experts. They are passionate, and they know how to teach. WEBSITE: www.lynda.com/enterprise EMAIL: enterprisesolutions@lynda.com REQUEST A DEMO: www.lynda.com/request-demo ABOUT LYNDA.COM © 2015 lynda.com. All rights reserved. The lynda.com logo is a registered trademark of lynda.com. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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