liquid organization

Digital Transformation – Becoming a Liquid Organization

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A liquid organization is able to grow despite disruption and uncertainty.
The disruptive power of increasingly frequent changes forces organizations to alter their mindset. When it is not possible to control and predict uncertainity, because change is the habitual constant, companies must be prepared for the unpredictable, they must be transformed to be able to spread the pressures of change between the different parts of their structure, absorbing the impacts and responding in time to market needs.

Digital Transformation is the eye of the storm and organizations are learning to become liquid

To become liquid the organization has to achieve a sophisticated state of simplicity and learn how to reduce the size of what to manage to an atomic ,valuable size in order to achieve agility. They must  be prepared to address uncertainity, to be even faster than the change itself

Digital transformation involves the change of solid organizations towards a new model of liquid organization where the applications are oriented to microservices, the infrastructures to containers, development and deployment are managed automatically by means of pipelines and the talent becomes liquid

Crowdfounding of talent, agile value-oriented processes, liquid organizational structures, together with a new technology stack based on microservices, containers, IoT, Bigdata and machine learning are transforming the shape of current organizations to “be formless, shapeless, like water[1]

liquid organization

Below we will develop some examples of this amazing revolution in which all business strata are converging in parallel to the same principle of simplicity, agility and scalability:

Liquid projects

liquid organizationTraditional projects evolves to liquid projects based on Agile manifesto where applications are broken in microservices managed through a devops pipeline to ensure continuos delivery and continuous deployment aiming for rapid delivery of value to customer and change adaptability.

Liquid services

liquid organizationSLA driven services mature to Smart IT Services© where customer satisfaction is not measured based only service level agreement. Smart IT Services© are defined, designed, transitioned, operated and continuously improved focusing on maximize customer experience. Customer value flows through liquid value streams with the collaboration of customers, users, service providers and suppliers. Lean principles are in the DNA of  Smart IT Services©

Liquid Processes

liquid organizationEvery organization has one purpose. Processes are the way each organization transforms its resources into capabilities to be able to fit its purpose. Fat processes means solid organization unable to manage uncertainity and rigid structures with long time reaction and low or none adaptability to changes. A liquid organization must figure out what are its values streams, what are the veins and arteries by which the  people in your organization spend their time. Liquid processess means operational excellence based on focus, simplicity, velocity and discipline. It is simple, but not easy, put the focus of your people in time and first time quality, not in cost; simplify each value stream reducing waste (activities that consume time but does not provides value to customer), maximize flow to increase velocity reducing defects, levelling production thoughout the whole value stream and change the mindset of people to sustain liquid processess based on self-discipline

Liquid data

liquid organizationUnconeccted data unfreeze and a lake of liquid data emerge so every application could access to the entire lake of knowledge. Data from webserver logs, data bases, social media, and third-party data is ingested into the Data Lake and layers of abstraction disconnect complexity of format, source, etc… to the applications who requires the data; Liquid DaaS model enables users to self-serve their data and analytic needs. The power in the combination of liquid data, IoT capabilities and machine learning goes beyond imagination.

Liquid infrastructure

liquid organizationThe infrastructure has never been so liquid as now, docker containers, openshift, kubernetes, Ansible, AWS, openstack, … just tell me what you need and you will have it, simple, flexible, scalable and you only have to pay for what you are using. The solid infrastructures based on dedicated servers in Datacenters or even virtualized servers seems to be so far in time, but not so much.

Liquid learning

liquid organizationLearning evolves from a solid approach based on formal training to a liquid learning based on formal training complemented with peer learning (learn from your peers), community (learn from the community) and on the job training (learn though experience on real projects). Learning is an attitude, like running. A runner feels the passion of movement, the momentary ingravity of each step; running as learning is a liquid attitude, always moving.

Liquid intelligence

liquid organizationCognitive systems are transforming the idea of intelligence so computers has the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed through supervised learning, unsupervised learning or by reinforcement learning. Liquid intelligence will have huge benefits and also risks: “Everything we love about civilization is a product of intelligence, so amplifying our human intelligence with artificial intelligence has the potential of helping civilization flourish like never before – as long as we manage to keep the technology beneficial.“ Max Tegmark, President of the Future of Life Institute

Liquid leadership

liquid organizationManagers are becoming liquid  leaders who strive to grow the people of their teams and help them to achieve challenges. Self organized teams moves leaders to generate compromise and liquid structures based on visual managament, performance dialogue and agility to manage uncertainity

Liquid talent

liquid organizationIn the age of creativity and innovation, talented people can not be owned by one manager or one department but liquid and dynamic collaborations must emerge around the law of innovation and creativity so startup mindset foster the time to market and the crowdfounding of talent surpass the departamental silo visión


In the second part of this article we will walk through the “Liquid manifesto”

[1] Bruce Lee

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Guillermo Lopez

Guillermo Lopez Moratinos is a Lean & Agile Coach experienced in guiding companies in their Liquid transformation. Guillermo is a regular speaker at conferences globally and an influencing writer in ITIL, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Agile, Devops, ... Guillermo is certified in ITIL Expert, Lean IT, Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, Prince2, CobIT, ISO 20000,27001,22301 Auditor, CISA, CRISC

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