The Start of the Journey
1. Grassroots Communities
At the beginning, we started with a few internal people and created a small set of grassroots groups to show
success. These groups were driven by a belief that there was a better way to deliver value to Target.
These groups helped promote their new mindsets within the organization, became a part of our external
local community, attended meet-ups, hosted internal conferences and talks, and attended external conferences.
In addition, we reached out to other companies to learn from their transformations.
2. Unleashed our change agents and enabled them to demonstrate success
In order to solve our silo problem, we started Flashbuilds – bringing people together with the right skill sets
from different parts of the organization around one table for a 3 to 5 days to solve the problem.
We found early success and wanted to spread the fun. The problem with the Flashbuilds was they could only
solve small problems in a couple of days and they didn't promote learning in such a short period of time, so we expanded the idea.
We stretched out the Flashbuilds into a 30-day Challenge, again pulling together people across the organization, to tackle larger issues. In the new
model, we saw even more success and enabled engineers to learn from each other while
tackling the problem. When the 30-day challenge was over, they’d go back to their old team and since their teammates did not experience the learning, the people would eventually fall back into old ways of working.
We knew we needed a bigger change to make the success in order to fuel learning and adoption.
From the 30-day Challenge, we took one more iteration to invent what we call today the Dojo Challenge. In
order to change the company, we needed the change to be more sticky than it was for the Flashbuilds and 30-day
challenges. Therefore, rather than bringing in individuals from different teams, whole teams were brought into
the Dojo. This allowed for greater stickiness of the mindsets and allowed for a greater change to the culture.
And so, the Dojo, and immersive learning experience for teams was born.
3. Tops Down Support
In 2015, our new CIO came in with a directive in a language that we can all relate to: advance adoption of
Product, Lean, Agile, and DevOps mindsets, continue modernization of tools & methodologies, increase
speed & agility, and pay down tech debt. The organization was transformed into a product based
organization with dedicated and durable teams. The culture started to change with a focus on engineering, value delivery, and
This tops down support accelerated the rate at which the grassroots and change agents were able to push the
company forward, as well as allowed leaders to accomplish their goals faster than expected.
4. Scaling to the organization
After getting support from leadership, the question at hand was how do these grassroots groups now support
an entire organization? How do you scale transforming an engineering culture while promoting principles and
mindsets including Product, Lean, Agile, and DevOps? There wasn't just one way, but multiple different venues
that were used. A few of the most popular ones are highlighted below.