I inherited the Library at the end of July 2020. This web application and team had been around for a bit over 2 years and I was the third lead for the team and product, and as a program of work it was at risk. There was no clear purpose, no agreement on what problems it was solving, and the lead architect had quit due to the stress of uncertainty and constantly changing direction and priorities. The business felt that the Library had value, but it wasn’t clear what its future should be or whether it should be canceled and its content absorbed into the documentation.
I conducted a bunch of stakeholder and customer interviews, and got the CEO to share his vision with me for what he thought this thing should do. What we had, though, was a solution in search of a problem.
Following some paternity leave at the end of 2020, I applied a systems thinking approach in January 2021 and dove deep into the complexity of the landscape. I needed to see not just this product, but everything and everyone it interacted with and could interact with. I needed to think about the service and the problems, and then narrow down scope to where we could have the most impact with our current staff.
I identified a gap in our services, and using Wardley Mapping I identified both where we could provide great value and also how the vast majority of our current effort was being squandered on tasks that didn’t provide much value to our customers. I used these conclusions to develop a new mission and strategy for the product.
With this in hand, I presented my findings and conclusions to the various stakeholders and received very positive responses. For the first time in 3 years, people felt like this program had a purpose and a strategy that was rational.
As a result we received more investment and support from the business at large, other divisions were wanting to contribute and participate, and the development team was excited and energized for the first time in years.
While the strategy development concluded in May 2021, I continued leading the Library team until I left Adaptavist in March 2022.