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How do you grow production capability without a scaling framework?

Path to High-Quality Products

Have you ever wondered what we are referring to when we talk about ‘production capability’?

This question is tricky. When an organisation is confronted with the question, ‘How do you grow production capability without a scaling framework, are we talking about building more stuff?

Do we mean simply producing more?

Well, if that were the case, we could do what traditional organisations have done in the past, which is lower the quality, ignore the repercussions, and ship subpar products.

But, let’s assume for a moment that you’re interested in the opposite—how to release highly valuable, high-quality products to customers with greater frequency sans the traditional scaling frameworks. 💡

Now, this is a question worth delving into.

Streamlining Organisational Structure

You can look at your product and organisation and structure it so that there are minimal interactions between the moving parts—it is doable but challenging.

It can be structured in such a way that there are minimal interactions between the moving parts.  It is tough, no doubt about it.  It will likely “require a wholesale reorganisation to achieve it, and that may not be on the menu.”

If you’re looking for inspiration, Spotify has done an impressive job with their concept of ‘limited blast radius,’ which means that if one team makes a mistake, it doesn’t impact the whole product, just a few surrounding teams. 🧩

This approach is a stellar example of how you can streamline and compartmentalise in a way that safeguards the integrity of your product. 🏗️

Nonlinear Correlation between People and Productivity

We often believe there’s a linear correlation between adding more people and getting more done, but that’s not the case.

But let’s be real here and bust the myth that more people equals more productivity.

It’s just not true, folks.

Research into human interactions and communication reveals a different story that tells us that with around six people, we start to pay for the cost of communication, and at around ten to twelve people, the newcomers add little to no value—they end up detracting from others’ work. 🚀

The Power of Small Teams 🎯

So, what’s the solution here?

Given all of the above, we know that we need to work with small teams and find the best ways for them to do their jobs.

Ironically, the secret here is trust. Yes, you read that right.

Hire the best people you can find and trust they are good at their jobs.🙌

Key Areas to Boost Productivity without Scaling

To increase your ability to deliver without scaling or adding additional teams (and thus inheriting the problems of scaling), we need to focus on these six areas:

1. Trust Your Team: Trusting them is the only way to improve. Empower them to improve independently, as they can be hugely more effective when given the trust and freedom to work. 💼

2. Promote Autonomy: If you’re in a leadership position, consider how to support your team in their journey. Give them the autonomy to discover and determine the best way for them to work faster and more efficiently. 🚀

3. Allow Room for Failure: It’s essential that your team feels safe to make mistakes. They will explore and try things that might not work, but every failure is a step toward learning and improvement. 💣

4. Support Hypotheses and Experiments: Encourage your team to form hypotheses, conduct experiments, and learn from them. Whether their hypothesis stands or fails, there is value in the process. 📚

5. Foster a Learning Environment: Your role as a leader is to provide a nurturing environment for a learning organisation. This way, your team can openly experiment with ideas and get things wrong occasionally but significantly increase their ability to deliver in the long run. 🚀

6.  Trust is Key: Trust your team.  If you can’t, you have bigger issues than increasing productivity.  They need to grow in capability and competence, and they need to flourish.  Your role is to create an environment where they can do just that. 🔑

Leading the Way Forward

As a leader, your role is not to decide whether to trust them—you need to trust them.

Your interest lies in enabling them to grow competence and flourish in their environment. You need to create an environment where they can do just that. Your role is to create an environment where they can do that.

If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to delve deeper into Agile and Scrum methodologies, I encourage you to explore my Agile and Scrum courses.

Courses are designed to equip you with a practical understanding that you can apply in the real world.

author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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