Unfocused large-scale transformation is bad strategy.

Jason Yip
May 28, 2023

--

I’ve previously said that I prefer simultaneous coordinated and opportunistic change strategies.

The opportunistic change strategy was about enabling mass power; the coordinated change strategy was about focusing and directing power.

Coordinated strategy: highly coordinated, targeting high leverage initiatives, focus and direct power; Opportunistic strategy: de-centralsed, grassroots, opportunistic, enable mass power
Coordinated AND opportunistic change strategies

I also said that if I couldn’t do both, I would choose the coordinated, focused strategy.

Let’s expand on why.

For any large-scale organisation, there are a lot of problems that might be addressed.

3 people looking at a row of problems with a question mark
Large organisation, lots of problems

A response could be to allocate equal efforts to all the problems. After all, this is fairer…

Row of problems, 1 person allocated to each one.
Allocate equal efforts to all the problems.

…and it’s also ineffective.

A pattern common to all effective strategies is concentrating efforts to key points of leverage. Not every problem has the same value nor has the same cost to address. Insightful, effective large-scale change strategy identifies the highest impact, addressable problem(s) (aka the “crux”) and concentrates efforts there.

Focus efforts on key points of leverage

--

--

Jason Yip

Senior Manager Product Engineering at Grainger. Extreme Programming, Agile, Lean guy. Ex-Spotify, ex-ThoughtWorks, ex-CruiseControl