Fusion Teams, a new development model

According to Gartner, “at least 84% of companies and 59% of government entities have set up “fusion teams” — multidisciplinary teams that blend technology and other types of domain expertise and are often designed to deliver products rather than projects.”

With the rise of digital business teams in recent years, the lines between IT teams and the rest of the business are blurring at an accelerating rate. And as a result, companies are rethinking the way they organize and work.

The traditional organization, focused on roles and responsibilities, is giving way to multidisciplinary teams that have a wide range of capabilities and are focused on results.

This new distributed approach relies on teams that work autonomously, but is generating other types of problems that governance alone cannot solve.

ADVANTAGES OF WORKING WITH MULTIDISCIPLINARY TEAMS

Multidisciplinary or Fusion Teams go hand in hand with the Agile culture.

In a traditional organization, companies are organized by areas of knowledge such as human resources, sales, communication, etc. However, with Fusion Teams the trend is broken as teams are much more focused on product development.

With Fusion Teams, teams are made up of people with knowledge of various areas of the company, who have the necessary skills to identify customer needs and create a product that satisfies those needs.

The main advantages of these teams are:

  • The company knowledge is distributed and it is no longer necessary to frequently ask other departments for information.
  • There is no longer a guilty department as all team members are responsible for delivery.
  • The team has all the required information and is capable of making more informed and intelligent decisions independently.
  • Greater autonomy generates greater responsibility and commitment in the team.
  • Multidisciplinary teams favor learning.

FUSION TEAMS: DISTRIBUTED DIGITAL DELIVERY

With software democratization, the IT team no longer has exclusivity over the creation of applications, and the delivery model has shifted towards strategies based on Fusion Teams made up of professionals from different areas of knowledge in the company.

Instead of organizing work by functions or responsibilities, these teams are organized across departments. To do this, they pool digital talent from different business areas, share business objectives, and identify primarily with their team instead of the functional area that matches their experience.

The Agile approach, typical of digital native companies, is creeping into all organizations and terms like “agile teams”, “agile enterprise” and “digital product teams” are becoming commonplace.

The leaders of these teams go beyond the usual responsibilities of agile product owners; They lead the strategy, roadmap, and resourcing for the team, and tend to have end-to-end accountability for results.

FUSION TEAMS VS. GOVERNANCE

Fusion teams need autonomy to create and launch digital solutions, but many CIOS are concerned that this increases the risks associated with decentralized and Shadow IT.

Furthermore, in a distributed delivery context, team leaders may lack the broader view necessary to prioritize business results over departmental goals.

Digital business requires discovery that often goes beyond the scope of existing governance and controls.

To help their companies gain greater value from the distributed delivery model, CIOs should:

  • Encourage Fusion Team leaders to build and launch digital solutions without undue risk.
  • Focus on modernizing the company’s governance and digital foundations.
  • Avoid the creation of new talent silos by promoting the centralization of areas of digital expertise and the transfer of digital skills.
  • Use communities of practice to capture talent and scale good practices to accelerate business learning.

FROM EVANGELIST CIO TO ORCHESTRATOR CIO

The CIO played an evangelist role in the first moments of digital transformation, promoting their vision for digital business.

However, with distributed delivery models, fusion teams are the primary way to structure digital business. As a consequence, there are more digital leaders and the role of the CIO must shift from evangelist to orchestrator to coordinate the teams.

Digital leaders with technological resources to make their visions a reality

Accompanying this change to the CIO’s role are the new digital foundations that include development environments, agile tools, API repositories, and modernized and shared infrastructures.

As team leaders develop greater digital skills and capacities to handle technological responsibilities, CIOs will relinquish their competencies in many of the activities and take on others more related to building digital foundations.

These digital bases have a high human component since they go beyond the need to provide transversal tools, development platforms and integration and data capabilities. And they aim at preparing teams to apply digital criteria, and make the best decisions for creating and launching digital solutions on their own.

The role of the CIO orchestrator should focus on technology management and the human component of teams.

Tomás Martí
tomas.marti@auraportal.com