Digital Transformation in bite-size chunks

The Terrace Initiative Pari Shetty

Digital Transformation in bite-size chunks



Digital transformation is not only about sprints, stories, daily stand-ups or bi-weekly retrospectives. It’s about people driving an impactful transformational change.

Digital disruption does not discriminate between small & large business. Instead the impacts are felt deep into the core of every business type. There are innumerable businesses out there that want to take their business to ‘the next level’ yet they (conveniently?) forget the people component of digital transformation. The challenge is that change – in the end – is all about people adopting to new ways of working. Traditional change management, in the context of digital transformation, assumes turning up on the doorstep of the client and recommend, “Lo and behold! I have built a great software and now everyone will use it”. A more sustainable approach is to use concepts of reverse engineering i.e. start with the customer and their actual needs in mind.

This shift in customer interaction begins with asking your customer what their pain points are. The magic question guiding digital transformation is “What keeps you awake at night

The problem goes deeper than the answer to the question above, though: Actual business challenges might not yet have manifested directly and visibly by the time a client seeks help with their transformation. At The Terrace Initiative we found that many clients need prompting towards a futuristic view in order to understand what the optimum outcome of their anticipated change could be, instead of trying quick fixed for immediate operational problems. To look at the current circumstance’s future potential requires that

  • the client is enabled to recognise the problems they currently have;
  • sustainable and measurable adoption strategies are identified ; and
  • people are put at the centre of working towards creating an impactful transformation.


How does one create an impactful change?

Go Lean

Let’s use the analogy of food consumption: Food can be appreciated for its taste when consumed in small portions and it ensures the well-being of the individual. Similarly, a transformational change will be impactful when the changes are done in ‘bite-size’ chunks (sprints). However big the change, make the portions consumable for the people and the organisation.

Two Magic Words: Self Organising

For this part am going to be referencing Tuckman’s group model theory. In the fast paced world of digital transformation the ideal state would be for teams to jump from Forming straight to Performing, skipping Storming and Norming altogether. Is this practically a possibility? I think it is. The key to that record long jump is the ability to be able to create a situation which acknowledges that it is OK to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is the first step towards gaining trust – the key ingredient for teams to outperform their competition.

Eat your own dog food

One of the features of being agile is to be able to release on demand and be able to Go To Market rapidly. While doing so a critical aspect of product improvement is often missed, namely getting your own people to test your product. The impact of this is quite profound. Eating your own dog food enables the organisation to obtain quicker feedback for product improvement as compared to the feedback received from the end-user and this, if quantified, is extremely cost effective, if not priceless.