The Internet is flooded with articles proclaiming the success of the new revolution within the IT world — we are improving the “cadence of delivery”, creating a “bimodal delivery organisations”, not only Agile but Scaled Agile!
We are improving the “cadence of delivery”, creating a “bimodal delivery organisations”…
New Ways of Working has become a standard phrase every IT Executive is expected to know and more than that, we pretend that we have figured out how to close the expectation gap that has existed for so long between Business & IT. It is an exciting time to be part of the IT industry, things are changing faster than ever.
Being stuck in the past is an accusation we often throw at our more experienced colleagues, they are resisting change we say. But why do we have so many experienced and respected IT professionals, that have delivered massive system transformation programmes, sceptical about these new approaches?
I have taken the time to listen to some of their objections and it is interesting to explore them once one gets passed the defensive negativity. The IT industry has some similarities with the manufacturing industry — started off with generalist skills and assembly processes which was then transformed through specialisation, systems management thinking and process re-engineering. The one big difference though is that the manufacturing industry went through a step change when they embarked on specialisation, whilst IT delivery slowed down markedly when we introduced architecture, design processes and testing (or that’s the perception). What is the big difference? Why did it work for the manufacturing industry and not for the IT industry?
The IT industry has not had the discipline nor investment in the basic pre-conditions for specialisation to be successful.
These questions have been analysed by lots of academics and IT professionals over the years and you can spend many a night going through all the research. Building IT systems are very different to manufacturing discreet objects and this may be one of the biggest contributors to the challenges we’ve experienced but another obvious difference that do not get enough attention is the fact that the IT industry has not had the discipline nor investment in the basic pre-conditions for specialisation to be successful. Requirement definition still remains a black art to this day, automation of build processes is sorely lacking and testing is still often an after thought and not embedded throughout the processes.