Levers for change in delivery

Do you struggle to deliver on time? Do you wonder what you can do about it? Here are some thoughts, ideas and approaches that I have tried over time to great success.


  • Extend deadlines
  • Reduce Scope (Requirements to be delivered)
  • Increase team size, but only at the right time (don’t forget that when work is at it’s atomic level, adding more people does not help!)
  • Reduce acceptable quality (allow defects)

Other options to consider can be:

  • reuse existing systems – take what you already have and add to it, rather than start from scratch
  • use Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) products – don’t start from scratch, buy the solution, or part of the solution you need
  • only deliver the MVP

More adaptive approaches can be:

  • reduce scope – make the definition of done less comprehensive – this however leads to the growth of technical debt – there are always trade-off when making these choices
  • make the units of work smaller – this allows great visibility of progress, greater clarity of deliverables, less ambiguity and faster decision making
  • work iteratively for full visibility of progress and frequent delivery of value
  • ruthlessly prioritise – make sure that everyone in the team is always working on the number 1 priority, no compromises!
  • increase focus – build a smaller team with a very tight area of focus, don’t let anyone in the team be under-utilised at any stage of delivery
  • automate as you go, so your work / delivery rate increases – this may feel slow at the beginning but allows speed increases through the delivery, more than making up for a “slow” start

But then you can “go for gold!”:

  • become a learning organisation by constantly reflecting and adjusting your approach based on learnings as you go
  • actively look for and reduce “wastes” or DOWNTIME
  • upskill teams in working as a team
  • built T-Shaped or X-Shaped skills in the team
  • focus on productivity increases for the whole process or value stream, not just point optimisation

Ironically these approaches tend to move from the “quick, easy but non-persistent” fix to the “deep, robust and resilient” cultural change that will mean that in the long term all your work is easier to deliver. The challenge is the investment that you are prepared to make to change the way you work.



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