11 'Collaboration Principles' for success when entering digital transformation

Published on Monday, October 12th 2020


Agile primarily is an intangible phenomenon. The most powerful impulse the agile manifesto gave us, is the power to imagine that we can be agile by responding swiftly and adequately to the ever-appearing change. When you start to cycle, you’ll feel this need to be agile more keenly than ever. When we enter a digital transformation, we need this agile behaviour. We cannot do without. Our network, our board, our IT governance, our team and therefore our enterprise will probably not survive without this behaviour.

At the same time, if we want to become a high performers, knowledge and the way we organise our IT production activities and overcome constraints are even of greater importance. Agile behaviour within an organisation is therefore also needed to attend to production activities in different roles at different moments in time.

Download our whitepaper about how to optimise your organisation's agile behaviour when entering your digital transformation.

11 collaboration principles for greater success

A digital transformation is a complex matter. It means working together on a common cause that is very complex for most people. To raise the odds of actually achieving this cause, ‘Cycle to Accelerate’ constituted eleven collaboration principles. When we uphold these principles when working on the transformation, we might actually reach our destination –cycling of course -- without nosediving into a canyon.

In order to become a high performer in conducting a digital transformation you should start investing in social innovation. This means working based on collaboration principles to evolutionary implement agile behaviour throughout the whole organisation.

According to Cycle to Accelerate a “Collaboration Principle Statement” should consist of the following rules:

One: Make sure we all have the same goal in mind

Within a network, within an enterprise and within a team, a task is never a task in itself. There’s always a wider context in which the person works. This is why we all need to be clear on the outcome.

Two: make sure we all know and understand the context

Every person in the network needs to know the context; the network should not have any structural holes. Vital relationships should be created for people who need to be attuned to each other.

Three: make sure that everyone knows how we work together

Our modus operandi should be known to everyone involved. It should be practised, and everyone should understand it completely, so that we can make the necessary connections, or even a few unnecessary ones, with each other.

Four: make sure everyone is kept informed of changes in the project

It’s of crucial importance that everyone on the team knows the status of the project. If you’re working on a rush job while someone else in the chain is faced with a delay, it would be convenient for you to know this. You can adapt your work accordingly.

Five: make sure there is sufficient polarity going on

As I said, executing a (digital) transformation is a complex matter. It takes experience and intelligence to deal with this complexity, but more than that: it takes a diversity of backgrounds and personalities. Diversity is one of the main tools to create the desired polarity.

Six: make sure everyone is open to change

We should be open-minded enough to spot changes and respond to them. When you have a job to do within a cooperative network, you can’t close all your doors and windows and put all contact with the outside world on hold.

Seven: make sure we are in touch with the outside world

No matter how terrific a job we are doing, if the product does not meet the changing demands of the market, we’ll have a useless product on our hands.

Eight: make sure we know our stakeholders

It’s important to know who our co-workers, bosses, clients, competitors and other interested parties are. Different people need different approaches if you want to get the desired effect.

Nine: make sure what to do when the going gets tough

Where do you turn if you can’t figure it out anymore? How do you get back on track fast, get back up to date? We should know where to turn for help, and we need to know there’s no shame in that.

Ten: make sure all the people that work together also trust each other

There must be faith, and preferably complete faith. Communication falters when we don’t trust each other anymore. A team that operates well has a lot of faith, a lot of commitment, and a lot of adaptivity and flexibility. That’s how you create anti-fragility and agility.

Eleven: make sure everyone is sufficiently tolerant about small mistakes

If mistakes are unforgivable, people will be glued to their chairs and nothing is ever going to happen. We need to practise, gain experience, and refine our skills as we go along.

And to make sure everyone knows about these principles it might be wise to sign a “Collaboration Principle Statement” with everyone involved within your enterprise and kick-off social innovation as an evolutionary process.

Download our whitepaper about how to optimise your organisation's agile behaviour when entering your digital transformation.