According To The Communication Process Model Communication Flows Between Changes in IT Delivery to Achieve Better Results

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Changes in IT Delivery to Achieve Better Results

Coping with and embracing change has been one of the toughest challenges faced by the IT department over the past year. Changing the way of working meant transforming the common practice of the past two decades into an unfamiliar model that was not easily accepted and digested by many. The main challenge and resistance to change was the fear of change and how it would affect individuals.

Mankind’s oldest and strongest emotion is fear, and the oldest and strongest form of fear is fear of the unknown. – HP Lovecraft

Many people in the IT department wanted a change at work, and yet were upset and worried when it happened. But a change in the IT department was inevitable and necessary for the department to thrive and move to the next level of effective information technology delivery.

To successfully implement organizational transformations or other enterprise-wide strategic initiatives, companies must align five process capabilities, referred to as the 5-M: Meaning, Mindset, Dynamics, Measurement, and Mechanisms for Renewal.

Ten steps to an enterprise-wide change initiative: 1. Communicate immediately; 2. Explain the change process; 3. Act quickly and decisively; 4. Focus Energy; 5. Commit Resources; 6. Develop capacity; 7. Repeat the solution; 8. Reward new behaviors; 9. Share success widely; 10. Embed Transformation. [Source: Douglas A. Ready -Leading Enterprise-Wide Change Initiatives]

In this article I will highlight some of the changes that took place in 2015 to achieve better results in IT delivery.

Separation of Operations from Development:

Bimodal IT (also known as “two-speed IT”) describes an approach that addresses an enterprise’s needs for both static and agile IT systems. The term was coined by IT consultancy Gartner Inc, which defines the two levels as follows: “Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing security and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.”

The role of the CIO is changing and being influenced by the need for two-speed IT. The IT department recognizes that using IT to compete in the digital domain may require a different type of expertise; A “Digital CIO”, from the person who runs day-to-day IT operations. Indeed, enterprises are rapidly moving to a bimodal version of the top IT job. According to Gartner’s 2015 CIO Survey of nearly 2,800 IT leaders, 47% said they report to a deputy CIO.

Separating operations from project activities was perhaps the most difficult change to adopt this year. Two aspects of work existed within the IT department, namely ongoing operations and projects (including development activities). The philosophy behind separating operations from development suggests that agile, innovative IT initiatives should be allowed to move quickly without disrupting the checks and balances needed to maintain business-critical IT operations. All work and/or effort within a department is represented as either operations or projects, and all costs within a department must be distributed among operations or projects.

Although CIOs cannot transform their existing IT department into a digital startup, they can transform it into a bi-model IT organization. “Forty-five percent of CIOs say they currently have an agile workflow,” Sondergaard said, “and we estimate that 75 percent of IT organizations will be bi-modal in some way by 2017.”[Source: Peter Sondergaard, senior vice president at Gartner and global head of research]

This change has succeeded in empowering both sectors to effectively focus on the issues required to maintain high levels of operations and to allow project and development initiatives to deliver high quality deliverables. The maturity level of this change is still in its early stages but is in the process of evolving.

Meeting Business Unit Expectations:

To meet the expectations of the business unit, the IT department must set limits and avoid making promises that cannot be delivered. Formalize the delivery model of IT initiatives by introducing quarterly work plans approved and prioritized by business unit representatives (called internal steering committees) based on their needs and the capabilities of the IT department. The required output was successful because it delivered the client’s expectations and wants. This model worked more effectively than the previous process in previous years where the flow of requests from business units exceeded the IT department’s ability to deliver output.

The latest IT department report shows that 90% of successful deliveries took place in the last quarter of 2015 with high levels of customer satisfaction.

Matrix Management Model:

The department has historically operated in a highly hierarchical, “silo” based structure that has led to a lack of information flow between groups or parts of the department and limited interaction between members of different branches of the department, thereby reducing productivity.

The IT department introduced a matrix management model to provide a flexible management structure that allows the department to better adapt to change and uncertainty. Encouraging innovation and quick action by making information faster to employees who need the information and know how to use it. Furthermore, matrix management allowed the IT department to leverage greater resources while remaining task/delivery oriented. The department assigned responsibility at the top management level to work horizontally to ensure effective IT operations; IT projects/development; IT Architecture; IT Service Management; and IT contract management. In addition quality assurance and budgeting and planning were included horizontally in the responsibility of the IT department to maximize zero defect delivery through independent QA and report budgeting and planning through a horizontal non-silo based vertical model.

The matrix structure breaks down the “silo” effect and creates a higher sense of personal empowerment. Managers of project groups and managers of functional groups have approximately equal authority within a department. Team leaders are now likely to be involved in solving complex problems, meeting ambitious goals and making important decisions.

Continuous Communication:

In times of change, communication, communication, and interaction were key to alleviating the fear of change, to avoid a lack of information due to rumours. The department management holds bi-weekly meetings with all team leaders, employees and non-employees at regular frequency to promote a continuous flow of two-way communication. Anxiety can be alleviated and calmed through greater communication if employees are effectively communicating their fears to colleagues and leaders in the department.

On a final note, the above was a small subset of the changes that took place in 2015, and there is much more work to be done in the near future. The change and progress introduced to date has been welcomed by many in the organization and will show more measurable results in the near future.

[References: http://www.cio.com/article/2947863/leadership-management/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-bi-modal-it.html http://www.cio.com/article/2875803/cio-role/what-gartner-s-bimodal-it-model-means-to-enterprise-cios.html ]

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