Perhaps the most difficult hurdle in adopting Intelligent Swarming is changing the culture of the organization to a truly collaborative, knowledge-sharing environment. Changing culture, behaviors, and thinking about how to engage customers, work, and peers requires a long term sustained focus by all parties involved.
The first step is to identify and confirm an Executive Sponsor. The Executive Sponsor must have influence on those who will be impacted by the organizational change. It is typically a person holding a Senior VP or VP title: an executive whose organization includes the knowledge workers. The Executive Sponsor acts as the Intelligent Swarming advocate with policy and process owners across the business including: Legal, Finance, HR, IT, and Product Development. While the Executive Sponsor is not a regular participant on the Intelligent Swarming Council, they should receive periodic briefings on the Council’s progress and they must support the effort by allocating resources and budget for the program.
The Intelligent Swarming Council
A program team is critical to reach milestones leading to an implementation and sustained health. Identifying key roles and building an Intelligent Swarming council will help maintain a focus on implementation, scaling, and continuous improvement.
The critical roles are:
- Program Manager - Responsible for coordinating the adoption plan and the project plan, this person ideally holds an Intelligent Swarming Fundamentals certification from the Consortium for Service Innovation.
- Leaders / Managers - Managers must become leaders. They must define the vision of what success looks like at their level of the organization and then support the knowledge workers in deciding how the work should be done.
- Knowledge Workers - Anyone responding to an interaction with work or people are knowledge workers.
- Coaches - Change agents and practitioners who support the development of the Intelligent Swarming processes and have a good understanding of the Intelligent Swarming best practices.
- IT / Systems Liaison - Responsible for driving the tool functionality, reporting, performance, and integration required to support Intelligent Swarming.
Evolution of the Council
Over time, adoption activities change and the Intelligent Swarming Council shifts its focus to continuous improvement through sustaining and improvement activities. It is helpful to think about two main phases to the role played by the IS council.
Intelligent Swarming Council Phase 1: Intelligent Swarming happens in waves starting with a Pilot team and expanding. How many waves or how a wave is defined depends on the size and organizational structure of an individual company. At the beginning of the Intelligent Swarming journey, the council is made up of the people that will participate in the training and design sessions. For our purposes, we consider Phase 1 of the council to cover:
- Intelligent Swarming Training
- Intelligent Swarming Design
- Wave 1 or the Pilot Team executing
During this stage of the council, there is a heavier focus on program management and adoption activities. The communication plan created during the design sessions is the collateral the council will leverage for:
- Communicating the intent, purpose, and mission of Intelligent Swarming at all levels in the organization
- Training the knowledge workers that will be in the pilot team
- Updating tools for 'good enough to get started'
As the pilot kicks off, the council will be the team responsible for capturing learnings to improve processes, working methods, and dependencies to support the practices of Connect, Collaborate, and Recognize. This helps improve before expanding to more waves of knowledge workers.
Intelligent Swarming Council Phase 2: As the organization gains experience, there will be a need to tune the processes, measures, reputation models, and classification of work based on experience. This review and enhancement works best through a Council that meets on a bi-weekly basis to discuss issues and improvements. The Council is a cross functional group with global representation, which continues to include the Coaches, Knowledge Workers, and Leaders. If the organization also has a KCS Council, cross representation will be helpful. The Council provides the forum for continuous improvement to all aspect of the Intelligent Swarming implementation including matching work to people, people to people, and the reputation/recognition framework. This continuous improvement sustains and optimizes Intelligent Swarming benefits over time.