Conversation and feedback loops are important

In another Denkplan © blog on the values and principles behind Denkplan I listed conversation, feedback culture, cadence and synchronization as important principles behind. Talking about instruments and methods we often forget how important conversation is. To establish good conversations we have to identify, organize and align appropriate events where valuable conversation takes place. Synchronizing these events ensure the feedback flow through the organization. All in all it helps to understand what type of feedback is of value and how to organize the feedback flow depending on the organization. Important influence have the size of the organization, the complexity of the business model and – not surprising – cultural aspects like the leadership model.

If you look at the Denkplan instruments, the portfolio roadmap is a key element. The portfolio roadmap represents the most abstract planning level just below strategy in the organization. Feedback from – and to – all parts of the organization is required to develop the portfolio aligned to the strategy. So it is of value to care for appropriate ceremonies around the portfolio roadmap. These ceremonies with its events and conversations establish the feedback loops from all involved parts of the organization. This is the way to create the transparency required to act aligned and focused. We identified important feedback information as following:

  • visualize the evolution of themes and its initiatives.
  • develop a clear and agreed impression about the power, competence and speed of the teams turning the roadmap into value.
  • challenge if the generated value realizes the expected value in the evolution of themes
  • challenge if the evolution is aligned with the strategy
  • adapt either the portfolio roadmap or the strategy in case we identify changes or gaps
  • communicate the evolution of the roadmap into the organization to align and focus all involved parts of the organization
  • raise conflicts and exceptions and decide how to address these conflicts and exceptions.
  • tdiscover focus movement over time from one theme to another with impact on teams because of required shifts in competence, knowhow or capacity.

These are core feedback elements of a good conversation in front of the physical portfolio roadmap wall.

Goals of the conversation in front of the physical portfolio roadmap wall

I listed important feedback elements of the conversation in the section above. But – what is the overall goal of the conversation in front of the physical portfolio wall?

Remind yourself: On that wall all type of change with strategic importance is visualized and transparent. These can be sensational customer oriented innovations and digital services, expensive and hated life cycle activities to survive (probably the SAP Hana update 😉), organizational changes like M&A, building a new distribution center, you name it.

The overall goal of the conversation in front of the wall is establishing a common and mutual confirmed agreement that we do our best to realize what the wall represents until we meet again in front of the wall, incorporate changes and agree again. Next question: Who is the “we” in “…that WE do our best”.

WE – that is, well I call it the portfolio gremium. Now it is getting interesting: who is elected into the portfolio gremium? Classical organizations first idea is: the executive team. This is the first an most serious fault.

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