WHAT IS ENTANGLEMENT ALL ABOUT?

As a result of the currently ongoing digital transformation, our world is turning faster and faster and becoming ever more complex. We need to react both swiftly and wisely in order to keep up, which places new and challenging demands on the ways in which we decide and act within organisations.

 

The role of management will shift from a centralised decision-making body to one that sets guidelines and ensures that teams can freely work within them. In consequence, decisions will increasingly be made in a decentralised fashion, on a team level.

In order to play a role in a company's digital transformation, teams to be be able to see the whole picture. They need to anticipate the strategic, cultural, financial and technological impacts of their decisions and need to adapt them if required. This should not happen every now and then, but rather on a daily basis. Your team needs to be ready for that challenge, even when your decision.making in your organisation is still done in a hierarchical fashion.

Working both in large corporations and SMEs, I could gather several years of experience in managing the entire lifecycle of IT services, starting with their strategic orientation and architecture until their operation and, eventually, their replacement or phase-out. Through Entanglement, I want to share this experience with you and your team, so that you can drive your company's digital transformation.

Entanglement is meant to provide you with easy-access learning materials, based on which you can get - in a step-by-step fashion - an ever bigger picture of the various factors impacting the definition, design and operation of IT services. Moreover, an easy to apply framework, the Digital Services Evolutionary framework (DSef), shall help you and your team to create and evolve next-generation IT services - I call them "digital services" -  keeping the above factors in mind. Agility plays a central role in the framework, as only agile development and operation methodologies allow for digital services to be constantly evolved based on feedback.

WHAT ARE DIGITAL SERVICES?

Digital services make use of IT applications and infrastructure to deliver constant or increasing value to their stakeholders over time. In contrast to the "classical" definition of an IT service, please note the use of the words "constant or increasing" and "stakeholders". 

By regularly prioritising within a  Product Backlog for a digital service and releasing frequently to production, we ensure that value is constantly delivered and potentially even increasing over time. Who are we delivering this value to? To everyone that is a stakeholder of the service. Obviously, that may be external or internal users, but also software architects, security consultants, your helpdesk, your upper management and many more. 

DIGITAL SERVICES EVOLUTIONARY FRAMEWORK (DSef)

The Entanglement Digital Services Evolutionary framework (dsEF)  is a lightweight framework that is meant to help your team create and evolve digital services in an interdisciplinary fashion that aims to address the above impacts.

 

In a nutshell, the DSE model comprises the following:

  1. Digital Service Genera (DSg): Think of your digital services as animals in a delicate ecosystem. Ideally, you want predators to balance the population numbers of their prey and for all niches in your ecosystem to be inhabited by specialised species. Of course there should be generalists too, as they might serve the same role in different habitats. Accordingly, your teams digital services should be created and evolved keeping your own ecosystem and the underlying resources in mind.

  2. Digital Service Vision & Roadmap (DSv & DSr): Sustainability requires long-term thinking, which is why your Digital Service Genera (DSGs) should be tailiored such that they can both serve your long-term strategy and are swiftly adaptable to future trends.The goal is to design an evolutionary tree that reflects your company's overall strategy and "branches" at places were several scenarios may become true.

  3. Digital Service Evolution (DSe): In order to reach the goals defined by the vision and roadmap, digital services need to constantly evolve. Evolution is driven by a range of factors, namely strategic and procurement considerations, business needs, usability and operational requirements, cost factors, security policies and legal boundary conditions. 

What does all of this say about how to build and, later on, operate a digital service? Nothing yet, but we will see that only specific approaches can satisfy the ideas behind the framework: (Clue: Building and operating a digital service should ideally not be separable.)