The individual versus the collective is one of the most significant aspects of digital transformation. It is a process that replaces the human element, gives all personnel (IT or Management) the tools to develop true collective intelligence and makes way for the new Manager 3.0 to make his or her entrance. This article offers a few key points to guide you in rethinking the role of the Manager and implementing collective intelligence.
Digital transformation does not come without transforming work codes and project management methods. In organisations that are becoming more and more client centric, where cycles are shortening and client interaction is increasing, it is wholly necessary to share information quickly whilst simultaneously ensuring its reliability. The Manager is more of a conductor and leader than controller and expert, one that liberates guides and channels his or her team members’ energies and puts the emphasis on efficient, collective intelligence.
Rethinking the role of the Manager
Agility, speed, constant adaptability, and above all, pleasure: these are really the key words to bear in mind during your digital transformation strategy. A successful digital transformation project cannot be achieved using traditional methods. Work practices and governance in this case have their own specificities, as not only will the processes and methods be agile, much like the company, but the role of the Manager has to be reconsidered.
First of all, it is vitally important that all team members understand the objective and the stakes at hand, including the significance for the company. They must have a clear vision of the structure they are assembling, and the Manager is the link in the chain that brings together all those involved. The Manager’s role, as we perceive it, is evolving and no longer based on hierarchical authority. The new Manager 3.0 should bring a clear vision and meaning of the “collective”, as well as bring together the team’s energies and inspire them, show agility, and anticipate any changes along the way. This will ensure that the teams are best prepared in case of any unforeseen events.
For quick decision-making and avoiding failures, the Manager 3.0 will have to implement a suitable organisational structure, one based on collective responsibility and multi-skilled team members. He or she should start by boosting the team’s confidence, by giving each person more autonomy in decision-making and the organisation of his or her workload. No more monitoring, no more procedures, inspections, or top-down hierarchy, but rather a culture of transparency, seniors teaching juniors, and crucially, accepting and embracing so-called failures.
Putting the emphasis on collective intelligence
Beyond increasing the teams’ independence, the Manager 3.0 should emphasise collective intelligence, which is the key driver behind digital transformation. He or she should also endeavour to implement quick and simple decision-making processes, visual management aids, collaborative work hubs, stand-up meetings, and continual improvement cycles.
- Visual management relies on indicators that are analysed daily, enabling everybody to “physically see” key information. The goal is to show the progress of actions carried out as well as the team’s priorities. This display usually covers an entire wall space and is there to facilitate decisions and identify potential impacts of any unexpected changes. Daily stand-up meetings involve short, 10-15 minute meetings each morning to start the day and are often a good opportunity to add to the visual chart and to implement the ideas. Ideally project teams should use these visuals and adapt them in their own way to make them more efficient.
- The collaborative hub consists in multiple locations across different sites, with at least one main hub where all team members can get together on a weekly basis. This takes shape via the use of collaborative digital tools that facilitate task sharing such as Asana, a project management tool enabling group project work without email. Also highly recommended is Sopra Steria’s shared agility system, a tool which makes it possible to collaborate on geographically distant projects, whether in France or the rest of the world. Agility is, and must be, applicable to all members of the project, regardless of distance.
- Collective intelligence also applies to end clients. For example, the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) method, shortens the cycle and makes it possible to mobilise users as quickly as possible by launching the project as soon as it obtains the required functions. Prioritizing the pace of the iterations is key in digital transformation and MVP allows for this. As such, “AB” tests, also known as “split testing”, allow us to compare two versions of the same object (e.g., a product, or webpage), by creating two variants and submitting them to users for review. Working closer with the “client” speeds up decision-making cycles and optimises the cost/quality/timescale ratio. Getting the teams involved directly with client satisfaction favours harmony between the product/service offer and delay, and can be a strong generator of added value for the client.
These new horizontal management methods foster group integration and bring together the different, necessary jobs, skills and resources with one shared goal in mind; client satisfaction.