Pattern: No Regret Moves

Small, quick actions that require little investment of time and money but increase knowledge,reduce risk, and benefit the entire organization—inside or outside of a transformation scenario

A company is in the beginning of a cloud native transformation initiative or facing any other difficult technical or organizational question with no obvious or readily available answer.

In This Context

Lacking adequate information, the team has no practical way to make an educated decision—and essentially will have to gamble on a semi-random solution and hope for the best.Unfortunately for traditional Waterfall organizations, managers are measured based on their success in leading large initiatives. Thus, many ignore initial small exploratory steps in favor of jumping into a game-changing project that will earn them a fatbonus and a nice promotion. In Waterfall organizations, which typically operate withknown technologies in reasonably stable markets, that strategy often works. But in a highly volatile cloud native environment, it can easily lead to disaster or, worse, wasted years without either clear success or failure.
• Change creates anxiety, so people tend to avoid it.
• In the early stages of a cloud native transformation there is little knowledge or experience within the organization around cloud native architecture/tech/culture.
• The situation is highly uncertain, and making big commitments early carries a lot of risk.


Take first-stage risk-reduction actions that are quick, low-cost, and benefit the company no matter what.Some improvements to operational effectiveness—including training and coaching,and, in a project context, running small experiments and technical exercises—would benefit any business in just about any circumstance. These small but beneficial and practically no-risk moves are especially valuable during the first, highly uncertain days of a cloud migration and form the first of the three stages of graduated transformation risk-management strategy.
• An in-depth quality assessment like the cloud native Maturity Matrix creates situational awareness that is universally valuable to the organization now, but also serves as a gap analysis for future moves.
• Trainings and educational offerings keep employees engaged and constantly refresh their knowledge.
• Hackathons and small experiments uncover technical answers via hands-on actions.


The organization has gained self-awareness and knowledge without investing huge amounts of time or money. Risk has been incrementally lowered, and the company’s leaders are ready to take the next step in setting the transformation path.
+ When people know more, they feel more confident, which increases their ability to meet challenges creatively and proactively.
- Since No Risk Moves are so affordable and beneficial, the company could staystuck in this stage for too long and delay getting the transformation underway.