NOTE: currently, this strategy is just a very brief, MVPish sketch. Before I start fleshing it out, I want to get more feedback on the principles, since they’ll have a big impact on the framework. I also want to spend some time to see if I can reorganize the strategy so it uses the ecosystem metaphor.

Implementing Data Chefs Inside Your Organization

1) Quick and Dirty Assessment

It would be easy to spend a long time assessing your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, etc. Don’t do that. The only way to figure out what will work and what won’t is to start experimenting. So do a quick and dirty analysis that will get you the minimum information you need to set up pilot projects. Some of the issues your assessment should (briefly) cover are:

  • What are the immediate and longer-term problems you are trying to solve, and how will they help your organization meet its goals?
  • Very roughly, what are your organization’s current capacities?
  • Were there any previous initiatives to develop power users, and if so what lessons can you learn from their successes and failures?
  • What expectations do stakeholders have about the project, and how will you need to manage these expectations in how you manage and communicate about your initial pilot projects?

2) Get Your Feet Wet

  • Pick one or two small, timeboxed pilot projects that will give you a chance to:
    • Win a small but strategic victory
    • Test out your assumptions
  • Based on the organization’s culture, pick an Agile methodology or methodologies to run the pilot(s)
  • During the pilot(s), focus on producing useful MVPs and on continuous improvement
  • At the end of the pilots, do a short assessment of what you’ve learned

3) Swim Out to Slightly Deeper Waters

  • Pick 2-3 small, timeboxed pilot projects that will give you a chance to:
    • Win a small but strategic victory
    • Try out your current approach with:
      • At least one team that’s likely to have a clear-cut win
      • One team that has more complex needs, to start pressure testing your assumptions and approach
  • During the pilot(s), focus on producing useful MVPs and on continuous improvement
  • At the end of the pilots, do a short assessment of what you’ve learned
  • Either during or after the pilots, start building stronger senior management support

4) Take a Deeper Dive

  • Step back and ask:
    • Do we have a sense of what development practices and infrastructure we’re going to need?
    • Are we ready to start building a community inside the organization? And if other organizations we know have implemented Data Chefs, as we build our community do we want to connect it to the wider Data Chefs community?
    • Do we think we’ve got a good beginning handle on the risks we need to manage?
    • Do we think we’ve learned enough to develop a simple roadmap and start building the internal coalition we need to thrive?
  • If you’re ready to develop a short, simple roadmap, go for it! If not, do another round of #3
  • If you’re ready to kick into high gear, take a moment to briefly think through some of the HR implications of where you’re headed. For example, are you going to have to change some job descriptions, and if so what if any impact will that have on budgets? If HR issues look like they are going to create major obstacles, then modify your roadmap so you can keep making progress while you work through these issues.


Coming soon: steps for building an ecosystem across ecosystems and for connecting this ecosystem with the community.