Delivery Operating Models

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Delivery Operating Models

Why do operating models need attention?

Methods don’t provide operating models. They tend to address relatively narrow aspects of the work. Some frameworks do better, addressing broader concerns but they are not comprehensive and usually don’t map onto the way a particular organisation operates. An organisation needs to develop a tailored operating model that integrates how it is structured, what it wants to do and how it wants to do it. In comparison with other industries the need for a systematic model is less well recognised and the results of the sector do not justify this position.

Tailored solution

Text books methods don’t deal with the complexity of the real-world. Organisational complexity, competing changes, awkward arrangements with third parties, scale, infrastructure projects, shared systems, no text book, no training course, no off the shelf solution can account address this. Organisations need operating models that support what they need to do in their environment. Many take a casual approach to this. Streams, teams, programmes and projects make up their own rules. There is no consistency, how well things are done depends very much on individuals who take charge. Some disciplines dominate, sustainability is a secondary concern, measurement a third rate citizen.

What is In a Model

The operating model defines the constraints within which work is done. Within these constraints teams have autonomy. An operating model needs to define, in no particular order, elements like:

  • Artefacts, what purposes they must support and constraints on the form they can take.
  • Activities, what activities do and what the impact should be on artefacts.
  • Done or gating criteria, a cross checks that things are being done appropriately.
  • Organisational design
  • Review and approval matrices
  • Work authorisation practices.
  • Practices for prioritising work
  • Release methods
  • Processes for handling code
  • Processes for handling change
  • Processes for handling defects
  • Status tracking practices
  • Performance measurement approaches