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Pattern: Objective Setting

After establishing a transformation vision, the next step is to translate it into pragmatic goals and actions for moving the initiative ahead

A company is committed to adopting cloud native technology and transforming its culture to suit. The Business Case is established; the executive team is fully committed and has devised the initial Dynamic Strategy. Middle management and the rest of the company are ready to take the next steps.There is still an overall low level of cloud native knowledge on all levels of the company,and the transformation plan is still very high-level.

In This Context

There is commitment to and a vision for transformation, but concrete steps forgetting there still need to be defined.• There is little knowledge or understanding of cloud native tech and culture within the organization.
• Change creates anxiety and uncertainty.
• Change also creates opportunities: if you keep doing the same thing, what is the chance that you are going to get new results?
• When scope changes significantly, new executive commitment must be made to the altered project.

Therefore

Executives need to hand over the high-level strategy to middle managers to translate it into specific and tangible objectives for their teams. Keep redefining the strategy and the objectives based on known information, not guesswork.Objective-setting is done by mid-level managers. It is essentially the art of taking high-level vision, making it explicit and visible, and then explaining the priorities to those involved in execution so they can make better decisions on their own.
For example, a company may establish the high-level strategy of being able to run a full experimental cycle within days (define, build, deliver, and collect feedback). The specific and tangible objectives for this strategy would be: use cloud native tech (containers,microservices, dynamic scheduling, etc.) and a Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery build approach. These objectives in turn can be divided into even more specific sub-areas, with more detailed objectives created for each one.
• Keep learning about the market.
• Keep adjusting the strategy in response to new conditions in order to uncover new information.
• Make the strategy explicit and visible, and explain the priorities to all involved so they can make better decisions on their own.

Consequently

The initial strategy is continually improved, adjusted, and translated into clear and tangible objectives. The relevant teams in the company know what they need to achieve and are constantly providing new information to upper management.
+ The team is aware of the latest direction and priorities.
- There is cost to monitoring the market and current conditions; requires time and effort.
- Continuous changes in the strategy lead to confusion and possibly frustration in the teams.
- Difficult to change direction, especially once you have momentum in a certain direction.