Pattern: Manage for Proficiency

Teams delivering stable and highly repetitive or algorithmic work should be managed for high quality and optimal efficiency

Manage for Proficiency

A transformation is underway. Some teams are working creatively to build the new system while other teams remain focused on keeping the existing system delivering the company’s core products/services. Alternatively, a cloud native transformation is at its end, and all the teams onboarded to the platform know very well what they are doing. They are ready to deliver excellent products to customers as fast as needed.

In This Context

When the teams responsible for delivering stable and scalable products are given too much freedom to innovate and explore, they introduce new risks that harm product quality and increase the cost of development. In many cases the new cloud native platform is not yet ready or stable enough to accommodate all the new teams, while most of the teams have to maintain old systems and release new incremental updates. Allowing those teams to start innovating too early may come at a significant cost to productivity and product quality.


Run the execution teams the way they have always been run. Focus on repeatability and optimize on quality and speed of delivery. As an organization transforms itself into a cloud native entity, most teams will eventually need to evolve to cloud native’s more flexible, intuitive, and problem-solving way of working. During the transition, however, there will be teams still tasked with delivery of the core business on the existing system while the new platform is built. It’s important to keep the proficient teams proficient and run them as they have always been run, not changing to cloud native techniques yet. Once a system (or new product) has left the innovation phase and is in steady production, most resources can typically be moved away from research and experimentation, and back to a mostly proficient approach.


Teams in charge of delivering the company’s profit-generating products/services in a proficient way are being managed to optimize this. Proficient and creative teams are loved and appreciated equally.