Devising pragmatic and effective ways of working is a top priority for IT

Innovation, Operations

3gamma is working closely with several clients to define and develop the required capabilities to support the increasing need for innovation. More than often, this is about setting the necessary conditions to support two-paced operations and creating a separate innovation organisation that is free from the chains of operational excellence.

“The organisational structure we use today is over 100 years old. It was not built to be fast and agile” (John P. Kotter)

For more on this, we recommend reading XLR8 by John P. Kotter.

We see an increasing need to find common ground across different methodologies. During 2013, we investigated this in-depth in our white paper The state of service management in agile organisations.

Key findings from this study are that IT organisations need to:

  • Shift focus from internal processes to outside events
  • Increase communication efforts – both in frequency and in width
  • Shift focus from big bangs to continuous improvements
  • Focus on removing obstacles to flexibility and agility

An interesting read in this field is The other side of innovation – solving the execution challenge by Govindarajan and Trimble, which discusses tools that can be deployed to succeed with innovation initiatives within the boundaries of “legacy operations”. It provides guidance on how to organise and execute innovation initiatives.

IT’s strict focus on operational excellence has created a counter reaction: the agile movement. Much effort is now going into creating the next-generation frameworks for IT—essentially by keeping the good parts in existing frameworks, while adding the strengths of agile. For more information, see for example Axelos’ view on how to maximise the synergies between ITIL and DevOps.

Set in the context of our own findings, it is clear that a key obstacle to flexibility and agility is often the organisational structure of the IT organisation:

  • High performance cannot be created just by way of a certain methodology. Rather, it results from the general alignment of people, processes and underpinning technology.
  • Standardisation, as an overarching goal is likely to create a disconnect with the business in an ever-changing environment.
  • Innovation often requires a separate and dedicated organisation that includes competence and resources from both inside and outside organisational boundaries.

3gamma is often tasked with defining standardised processes across IT to support a cost-effective and robust service delivery. A key challenge is to create the necessary understanding that the goal should not be to sub-optimise within IT but to maximise IT’s contribution to the overall value chain.

Additionally, for organisations striving to deliver innovative solutions, the way of working shifts during the innovation’s lifecycle. In the HBR-article Choose the right innovation method at the right time the authors outline a method for innovation that uses different ways of working during different stages. This follows our own findings that the capability to deliver an innovation from concept to enterprise class solution is a key characteristic of a competitive IT organisation.

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