If you search for the definition of co-production, you find results such as "a way of working where service providers and users work together to reach a collective outcome." At Pega, this definition fits our approach. Co-production is one of our best practices and is part of our Pega Express™ delivery approach. We co-produce to enable our clients to become independent when using Pega technology, and we do it together while we build an application. The future target means that you won't need to rely on us to understand Pega Platform™ capabilities, how it can solve your problems, and how to configure your applications. You'll know how to do it!
However, does the definition of co-production tell the whole story? Do we want client team members to become Pega certified and use Pega, and then that's the end? No, not from my experience.
Let's explore what co-production means, to me, in four points, and hopefully, you agree, and it helps you understand.
Focus on the client team
When I join a project and become a co-production instructor, my most important focus is on the client team. Once the co-production team members are assigned as co-producers, the game has only just begun. Instruction isn't the only goal; we, as co-production instructors, must work with the team on real project tasks to be productive and to hit targets. We want the client team to use Pega and own their applications when the time comes. Working in the real world rather than a Hello World dimension is different. In the Hello World dimension, everybody can start to play the game, but in the real world, jumping directly into the action is something that you cannot win, especially if you don't know who your team members are; in a project, you do not play the game alone. So, to be successful in a co-production world, you first have to create a team culture.
Spend some time during the first days of co-production to truly get to know your new team members: what is their background, what do they know about this project, what do they like to do, or better, what do they want to do on this project? This scoping can help people feel part of something with a common target. Let team members know they aren't alone during co-production and that they will get the support they need to succeed.
Preparation means that you must plan training. In my experience, having a long-term plan with two or three topics ready in advance provides a predictable pace. As part of co-production, we strongly encourage team members to take the online Pega Academy missions or one of our classes. However, following the Pega Academy mission is not enough. Co-producers also have to apply what they learn in the real world. Therefore, preparing for training is crucial.
We don't have to reinvent the wheel; we already have the training structure and topics on Pega Academy, and that's a great starting point where co-producers can dive deeper into the project using that as the basis. For example, you can select user stories from the backlog and decide which tasks you can assign to the co-production team. Don't just assign the task and run away; discuss the tasks with the owner of the solution, discuss the approach and the idea, and fill in the technical knowledge gaps. This way, a co-producer can be sure they can own and complete the assignment.
A team member must understand their progress along the path of co-production. I like to start with Pega Academy quizzes to gain an objective view of the team knowledge. This feedback process is important and the knowledge dimension provides a realistic view. The completion of a project task by the team is a subjective way of proving they are progressing.
Having fun does not mean you organize an office party, (although the team should celebrate reaching co-production goals), but it does mean that working together should be something people do happily. When the team looks at co-production in this way, they appreciate that the experience is not just about working together to get some results. Working side by side with the team on real project tasks, sharing time together in training, discussing how to resolve a task, and providing feedback are things that can drive you and the team to create something much more. The outcome is not a binary math result. "Collective outcomes" or "project outcomes" are not the only results you want to achieve. At the end of your journey, the team built something together, and everyone has new skills that they can apply to future releases or Pega Platform applications. The process plants the seed of Pega's culture into the client team so that they can be independent.
That's all folks! Thanks for reading, and if you want to learn more, there is plenty more information on our Pega Express values and best practices. Find other helpful resources in the following Recommended Links section as well.
- A video introduction to Pega Express Values and best practices
- Pega Express values and best practices
- Co-production best practices