transformational team

Transformational teams: the link in your digital transformation chain

Here I outline the four main elements in the “transformational team” equation: agility, innovation, curiosity, and pleasure. This is a new way of working, with a team often comprised of original and iconoclastic IT profiles. In this article, I offer a few examples of the profile types which could be used to build a new transformational team.

The team is the foundation of any digital transformation project and we are now seeing the emergence of a new type; the transformational team. This is a group assembled ad hoc prior to and expressly for the transformation strategy.

At each stage of the digital transformation project and during the implementation of iterative or agile cycles – whether specialists, IT, or infrastructure – this temporary and specifically-assembled team will be responsible for bringing in new working methods for the digital transformation project.

Pushing the boundaries

Putting together a temporary team will allow employees to put themselves forward. The objective? To make them realise that these new practices which have been so greatly publicised can, in fact, be easily and efficiently applied to their context. This will push their boundaries and bring them together into a cohesive unit. A new specific framework can then be drawn up, which is the result of combining the transformational team’s vision and the company’s initial project.

Innovation, learning, team work and performance are, in my opinion, the basic ingredients for choosing the members of your team well.

On the job, different skill-sets can be found through management and expertise, such as the ability to manage uncertainty and to work in short cycles, as well as strong management skills using mentoring and emotion. It also includes defining an adapted approach, or in a more technical way, opening the IT system up to new platforms, for example.

By adapting to each context, the transformational team won’t just apply any old standards that don’t suit the company’s culture. It will evolve in harmony with the project, particularly by anticipating its evolution and reallocating resources depending on priorities. The team will also be proactive so as to offer adapted solutions.

Prioritise agile and innovative teams

Autonomous, responsible, and reasonably-sized, these teams will innovate and experiment. They will work with agility and proactivity, customising solutions in short cycles. Today, I’m sure, we have reached the stage where we can undertake large-scale transformations with agility, and with a higher chance of success than with a traditional V-model. Without a doubt, we owe this success to the transformational team. Here, I will categorise the different profile types that could be integrated into the team model:

Pilot fish: they shake things up and move away from the established order of things. They bring a fresh perspective to enable new methods, to construct unexpected or re-structured teams, and add a dash of agility.

Makers: these develop digital solutions which are easy to adopt, and design modern architectures to develop intuitive, mobile applications.

Thinkers: they adapt in the same ways as chameleons, and move forward with agility, making the traditional user experience an innovative and powerful one.

Changers: they observe current digital practices, assist novices and reassure the most reluctant of employees, so that digitalisation can become its own culture within business. But companies will review their operational strategy by accelerating their own digital transformation, all with a degree of flexibility and in collaboration with the different employees involved.

Geeks: these open the gateways for classic IT systems to move into digital transformation, whilst ensuring that logins remain secure.

Data stewards 3.0: these manage digital roll-out solutions, and the teams’ use of new technology to make sure that the new infrastructure will function in agile mode.

Interfacers: these enable the interaction between new technology and existing users in order to generate flexible and optimised solutions.

This brief pallet of innovative profiles is actually infinite, as it really depends on the digital projects within each organisation.  In spite of the large range of different profile, there is one condition which applies to all of them: we must all encourage curious team members and those already on board with digital transformation to interact with one another.

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Olivier Gervaise

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