Continuous Deployment – But what does it really mean?

So here we are, over 2 years since Ericsson started its transformation to a Agile/Lean company and we will now start deploying to a customer in the U.S. every 3 weeks.

“HOOO HAAAW” As AlPacino would say! This is really exciting, why? Because now instead of talking the talk we now have to walk the walk.

In the two years since we started out on this journey, we have achieved an awful lot but we were starting to hit the glass ceiling of old style Program/Project Management Thinking and it started to become a little demotivating and frustrating ( for both the teams and lower level management).

But now there is an opportunity. We have to start deploying every 3 weeks and in order to do this we MUST change how we plan and develop our features and manage our product,… there is no hiding – we are very exposed. So what does this mean for a line manager of Cross Functional Teams.
Heres where we “earn our crust”.

You see, the teams have absorbed the most change, have “tried” the most, have been affected the most and have grown the most …. and now we turn it up a notch.Although its easy for me as a line manager to say – “well this is whats its about” … we need to show whats its about.

Heres how we are trying to do it in Ericsson:

Our new WCDMA organisation is split in to Programs instead of Departments and these programs are now the new silos.

  • Our Cross Functional ( Feature development) Teams are housed in the Product Developement program  (PD)
  • Our Real Network Environment Test Expertise and Continuous Integration development is housed in Continuous Integration Program (CI)
  • and our Product Maintenance has its own program (PLM)

We have more programs but these are the main ones to illustrate the point.

Now bring FLOW discussions in to this program set up and what do you get? …. everyone looking at their own program and finding ways to be better. This is NOT flow this is sub-optimisation.

We (PD Line Managers) started out having numerous whiteboard sessions to help people discuss the issue of flow

OneProductView

We have since polished it and it now looks like this.

OneProductView(SMA) This is what we line managers use in most of our meetings to help us make the right decisions, help people see what we are trying to achieve – the result being we really try to focus on the system and not just “Our” teams.

Exciting Times!