Learning and improving iteratively
Two of the four described differences between version one and two of the participatory budgeting event were organisational in nature:
The information meeting was used to understand the epic context in detail. The extended timeline eased the pressure and facilitated creative collaboration. In addition, the participatory budgeting phase was extended to four weeks. Although this is twice as long, the mutually invested time (meetings, budgeting) was roughly the same.
The attention received from the management gave more weight to the chosen method and thereby helped to increase acceptance of it within the organisation. This stronger support made it easier to initiate discussions about the epics, generate wider interest and get the backing of Zühlke colleagues who were not involved.
The other two changes were process-related and had a significant impact on the course of the event:
The general Zühlke strategy, targets and OKRs are no longer the only decisive factors for the epics, as the epic’s business hypothesis is now additionally subject to guidelines. A threshold or significance value was introduced for this purpose in the second round of the event; an epic was only to be discussed in this event if it fulfilled one of three values:
- Three or more value streams were affected, or
- It concerned a potential ‘new fruit’, or
- The MVP investment exceeded a predetermined amount
This ensured that only significant epic pitches were discussed. Other ideas and suggestions could be put forward in the individual tasks for the value streams.
That is why the second change to the process and workflow was necessary; determining the RTB share of the budget was no longer part of the budgeting event itself but, instead, was calculated in advance by the Fruitmix committee using a transparent but confidential formula developed internally by Zühlke. This gave the individual value streams more autonomy to manage their smaller projects and issues. At the same time, the main/big epics (GTB) attracted more attention by having a budgeting event dedicated exclusively to them. The total budget for the event was reduced in proportion to the pre-allocated RTB share.