Oct 02, 2020
I’ve talked before about some of the work I do with Enabling Teams (Finance, Commercial, Estates etc.)
One thing I often find is that the outcomes set for these teams don’t line up with the outcomes for the delivery teams they serve. Enabling teams are often measured on whether a delivery team has complied with a process rather than on whether the delivery team got what they needed through following that process. When things aren’t aligned like this it tends to lead to friction and dissatisfaction on both sides and in the worst case delivery is blocked or significantly slowed.
To reduce friction and build alignment I’ve come up with 4 metrics that Enabling Teams can adopt and track to measure the quality of service they are providing to their users (the delivery teams):
- Cycle time — e.g. the time between a request for a new procurement through to the people (or thing) arriving in the delivery team.
- User satisfaction — How satisfied the delivery team is with the service offered by the Enabling Team.
- Effort — the amount of effort incurred by the user of the Enabling Team service.
- Quality — the quality of the people (or thing) that the process has produced e.g. the quality of a supplier that has been procured or the quality of the space provided by an Estates team as measured by the delivery team (the user).
By tracking these metrics it should be clearer to Enabling Teams where to invest time improving their processes.
If you are in or working regularly with Enabling Teams you might also be interested in an earlier post I wrote about how Enabling Teams can provide a better service.
Please let me know if you try out any of these metrics or tips from that other post.
Update 6th October 2020
I was asked on Slack how we might encourage Enabling Teams to adopt these metrics. I’ve seen a few things help.
- Getting senior sponsorship — I’ve been variously supported by the CTO and CDO in different organisations. They can exercise more authority over enabling teams.
- Bringing a small enabling team under control of the person responsible for delivery. They can act as a bridge (adapter) to central enabling team leadership and mitigate the worst of the problem. This looks ‘inefficient’ to central enabling leadership so may be shut down at some stage.
- Co-design better solutions with enabling teams. Do user research with both enabling and delivery teams to find out what’s working well, what isn’t and redesign processes to make them better. Works well in conjunction with 1.
- Gather data on the impact of mismatched processes. What were you prevented from doing, how much were you slowed, what was the impact… Can help get buy-in for 1.
I have a lot of empathy for enabling teams and I remember a quote from some user research I was involved in a a while back: “We used to have time to improve our processes but our teams have been cut so far back that now we can barely operate those processes”.