Some individual and team productivity practices also translate to the organizational level
- Increasing focus;
- Frequent customer feedback;
- Reducing friction;
- Watching the work product, not the workers;
- Frequent integration
However, organisational productivity goes beyond just a translation of individual and team productivity practices:
- Reducing relearning;
- Improving effort allocation;
- Taking parallel bets
Learning is good; relearning is waste
Relearning refers to reinventing lessons whether about product, ways of working, or technology.
Addressing relearning is about knowledge management and platformisation.
Throughput doesn’t matter if it’s mostly on low-value things
Product capabilities exist within a life cycle.
Let’s imagine two different organisations: A and B. A completes tasks more efficiently than B, but A’s efforts are mostly on commodity capabilities, while B’s efforts are mostly on differentiating capabilities.
A is more “productive” than B but most of their capacity is allocated to low-value capabilities… which means B might actually be more productive from an organisational perspective (value out divided by effort in).
Or course, ideally, we’d want an organisation C that is both higher throughput and better at allocating efforts to higher value activities, but the point is that improving effort allocation also effectively improves overall organisational productivity.
A potential advantage of larger organizations is the ability to take parallel bets
Let’s imagine we have a number of ideas to explore and only some of them will end up being valuable. We take a bet on the most promising one and proceed in an iterative, incremental fashion. Unfortunately, we bet wrong, and we have to abandon the idea and choose the next most promising one.
Now let’s imagine that instead of taking each bet one after another, we take multiple, parallel bets. We’ve almost guaranteed that some of the bets we’ve taken will fail BUT the winning bets will succeed much faster than the previous serial approach.
This parallel bet approach is the advantage a larger organization with a lot of resources has over a smaller one IF the larger organization is smart enough to exploit it.
See also set-based concurrent engineering.