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mhhf1ve
mhhf1ve
5/4/2016 2:55:09 PM
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Platinum
Gamification tools, FTW!
> "AT&T Entertainment used gamification, creating an app to teach design thinking and creating competitions between mentor-led teams.."

Interesting way to approach a culture change. Who created the app? I'm curious how this management technique might be generalized to other companies. 

I would have thought that a giant company would have tried to introduce internal competition with an outsourced bid to develop a project, but if the problem is in coming up with the projects themselves, I suppose that's a bit harder to outsource effectively?

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Roz Rose
Roz Rose
5/4/2016 4:38:06 PM
User Rank
Steel
Agree--people and process are key for transformation
@Alison Diana: This is certainly inline with what I've heard regarding what it takes to make transformation successful. It's always the people and rarely the technology. The stat thrown out at OpenStack Summit last week was 1 part tech/ 9 parts people & process.

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WestCoas24001
WestCoas24001
5/4/2016 7:49:19 PM
User Rank
Steel
Color me skeptical
Regarding this:

Perhaps nothing drove that home more than an experiment conducted at AT&T Entertainment Group, he says. During an internal "Shark Tank" type contest among IT employees, one group took a traditional approach to a big data project -- collected business requirements, and then moved into design, development and testing and then production, said Palese.

The team sought $1 million and lots of time despite managers' encouragement to use a creative, DevOps style. AT&T Entertainment's IT executives recognized they needed to do more than simply ask staff to be innovative. Employees needed training and guidance, he said. 

Instead, a group of about five people sat down with pencil and paper to hash out a way to leverage technology tools and platforms such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS), implement standard practices and processes and train the top people in a way that used design thinking -- or putting the customer in the center, DevOps and agile methods, he says.

 Putting the customer first is essential of course. But it's the business leaders, not network engineering, that's on top of customer needs. So I'm skeptical if the DevOps process sidesteps collecting customer requirements. 

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Alison Diana
Alison Diana
5/5/2016 9:31:38 AM
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Author
Re: Color me skeptical
Yes, they're collecting customer requirements, @Mitch, but unlike those hefty old ERP or CRM implementations of yesteryear -- the ones that never got completed because IT got customer input in, say, 2000 and it then took three years to design, three years to implement and a year to train, by which time the entire business had altered -- with this approach they're looking at tiny bites vs. huge dinners (for a bad analogy!). The biz unit says they need to, say, finish sales reports faster because they have to redo these redundant processes and they want to do them from their phones, not laptops. That's a smaller challenge that a DevOps approach can complete -- as long as the team works closely with those business (in this case sales) people.

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Alison Diana
Alison Diana
5/5/2016 9:33:49 AM
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Re: Agree--people and process are key for transformation
Yeah, I've heard similar statistics, @Roz. I heard another speaker recently, one who focuses on building teams, and she underscored the importance of getting buy-in from your employees otherwise any project, transformation or new approach is, basically, doomed. I'd agree, having seen that occur in one company where I worked; the boss fired the negative person and it had a remarkable effect on all of us - a positive one!

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WestCoas24001
WestCoas24001
5/5/2016 11:33:00 AM
User Rank
Steel
Re: Color me skeptical
Many small meals a day rather than a few big ones eh? Nutritionists say that's a good idea – interesting to hear it's a good idea for IT too. 

The idea of the minimum viable product is intriguing. I like it. 

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SeniorPr45871
SeniorPr45871
5/5/2016 1:35:58 PM
User Rank
Steel
New "IT" transformation
Its true that bringing the IT staff and employees on par with new technology is key for transformation.  IT departments work with a "do no harm" motto. If something has been working a certain way for years, there is no initiative or incentive to change it. Forcing a Shark Tank like approach forces them to innovate and break the inertia to change.

On a side note, it is indeed ironic that they used "paper and pencil" to decide to try new technology tools!

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dcawrey
dcawrey
5/7/2016 11:46:20 AM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Gamification tools, FTW!
Interesting to make a comparison to startup culture here. Change management among people is really the most important part of changing systems. This is why upstarts come in and disrupt incumbents – they are more than willing to be the leaders of change. Great article to prove this point out.

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kq4ym
kq4ym
5/7/2016 8:33:51 PM
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Gamification tools, FTW!
Interesting how AT&T is thinking outside the box a bit to get IT to become oriented in a non-traditional way of problem solvng that just doesn't rely on technical expertise solely to accomplish the results. The idea to"train the top people in a way that used design thinking -- or putting the customer in the center," is becoming a new way of thinking and Stanford University for one is developing a design school using these techniques, with some big funding from SAS.

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Alison Diana
Alison Diana
5/9/2016 9:21:21 AM
User Rank
Author
Re: New "IT" transformation
I'm not sure if the paper and pencil was literal or figurative, @lotusbloom, but either way I think he was saying there were no rules and it was right down to the drawing board (whether with literal pencil and paper or sketched on a tablet). I love the idea of a Shark Tank-like contest within IT; it really gives everyone the opportunity to discard the old ways and use approaches they've learned on their own or wanted to try out to solve a business challenge or come up with a new line of revenue or address an IT time-waster. By focusing on the many small problems, IT can play such a huge role in make CSPs more profitable, better customer-focused and more agile. Recognizing IT folk, regardless of role or title, is a great way to start.

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