Part II: Navigating the Twilight Zone – A futuristic view into Bi-Modal IT as relevant to Higher Education

NGSIS’ project manager, Vikram Chadalawada, discusses the new Gartner project management and governance model and how it applies to the NGSIS program. Part II of the series focuses on Mi-Modal Readiness and how to affect change within your organization. (Click here for Part I)

Bi-Modal Readiness

The way organizations view change itself has drastically been changing, right since the birth of the World Wide Web, until the present day and continues to evolve into a post nexus phase.  The dialogue below from the movie Borne Ultimatum illustrates the importance of risk management within enterprises.

Pamela Landy: “The reason Bourne went to Moscow was to see the daughter of his first target.”

Table displaing Before teh Web, Before the Nexus and After the Nexus
Course: Gartner

CIA Director Ezra Kramer: “What’s your point, Pam?”

Pamela Landy: “Maybe he was retracing his steps. Just looking for something… something in his past. Maybe he hasn’t found it yet. We need to know what it is.”

CIA Director Ezra Kramer: “You’re telling me he’s not a threat to this agency?”

Pamela Landy: “I think if he wanted to hurt us he could have sent the tape to CNN.”

CIA Director Ezra Kramer: “Maybe he still will. My number one rule is hope for the best, plan for the worst. As far as I’m concerned, Bourne’s still a serious threat, until proven otherwise.”

In order for organizations to get better at planning for the worst and mitigating risks occurring in a Bi-Modal landscape, they need to recognize that business cannot be ‘as usual’. Operating in a Bi-Modal framework requires specific methodologies to be created and implemented at an organizational level. The ‘One Size Fits All’ doctrine is bound to fail when applied to Bi-Modal enterprises. Prior to the web, Project Portfolio Management (PPM) was Episodic (i.e. one and done). Prior to the Nexus of consumerization, PPM became Serial (i.e. it was a continuous development model with cumulative scope and focus on people, process and technologies). After the Nexus, PPM will be Fluidic (i.e. a streaming development model with overlapping scope and the agility to turn around mass scale, complex products while keeping the costs contained.)

Sprinter versus Runner
Source: Gartner

Gartner analysts Frances Karamouzis and Ruby Jivan predict that, by 2018, the total cost of ownership for business operations will be reduced by 30% through smart machines and industrialized services.  This means, organizations will need to separate their traditional PPM practices from a more agile PPM framework.  One can think of PPM process within Mode 1 as a Marathon Runner and PPM process within Mode 2 as a Sprinter.

Bringing it home:

Change is happening at the speed of thought and 45% of project management failures were attributed to ineffective organizational change management. Having understood that Bi-Modal IT is a current phenomenon and neccesitates fundamental changes to operational frameworks within IT organizations, three shifts need to happen in order for change to be effective in a Bi-Modal enterprise such as U of T.

Three Fundamental Shifts requiredIT Organizations will need to move away from simply satisfying defined requirements to actually driving business outcomes while generating functional and strategic value. In other words, IT Portfolios will need to be focused on advancing ecosystems (i.e. creating interactive eco-systems of assets within a given project or a solution) as opposed to only delivering solutions on time, on budget and on scope. Finally, teams (especially ones operating within Mode 2) must have instability built into design (an example of this would be the design of an F-16 fighter aircraft which is unstable by deign giving it the agility and manoeuvrability required for its function as opposed to a commercial aircraft that is built to be stable). In order for organizations to successfully navigate through this twilight zone and

Source of Change
Source: Gartner

come out as sustainable survivors, a contextual change management framework needs to be developed for IT organizations. This framework needs to first identify the magnitude of change within each mode (i.e. Mode 1 or Mode 2) and the enterprise must come up with steps (involving people, process and technology) that will need to be established to support the entire organization through this change. Details of this change implementation will need to be created, planned and socialized within all stakeholders impacted by the change and appropriate communication mechanisms will need to be established during each phase of the overall implementation. The question then becomes, ‘How ready is the organization to embark on this epic journey’? The answer to this lies in a series of honest and transparent conversations that are needed at multiple levels and across multiple stakeholder groups within organizations resulting in a strategic plan that can then drive the change vision through to completion. As Jack Welch, the former CEO of GE said, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

Source: “Effective Governance of Bimodal IT Projects Requires Adopting a More Outcome-Centered Approach” by Donna Fitzgerald | Bill Swanton for Gartner, 2015


Navigating the Twilight Zone: A futuristic view into Bi-Modal IT as relevant to Higher Education

Part I: In this two part series, NGSIS’ project manager, Vikram Chadalawada, discusses the new Gartner project management and governance model and how it applies to the NGSIS program

BiModal IT becoming reality
Source: Gartner

The big questions that always tend to linger within mature organizations are, “Now that we are here, what’s next? And how can we keep up with technology, especially its multi-faceted changing landscape?” Continuous change seems to be the adrenalin fix that IT organizations industry wide are injecting themselves with, especially in response to external peer pressure. The question is, how conscious is this injection? According to a Gartner research conducted earlier this year, within the next 5 years, all project management, portfolio management practitioners, IT governance executives and IT investment decision makers must come to terms with the impacts of trends that are reshaping IT landscapes. It is also predicted that third-era skills will drive out obsolete project management skills, standards and certifications, forcing organizations to invest in and reinvent their human capital. Given the evolution of IT and the post-mobile world, it is safe to assume that the aliens have landed. In fact, this can be called the age of digital business where any given transaction just doesn’t just involve people and businesses, it is becoming visibly inclusive of the Internet of Things (IOE).

Enter Bi-Modal IT

Evolutionary fluctuations within the IT industry as a whole has woken up organizations to the presence of Bi-Modal IT, a Phenomenon which has become a reality in most organizations especially within the higher education sectors and UofT is not a lone wolf in this space. Mature IT organizations tend to operate in the twilight zone working on one side within Mode 1 which primarily involves legacy systems where the development is sequential, often equated with stability, reliability and on the other side with Mode 2 that involves disruptive and cutting edge technologies where development efforts are typically exploratory, often equated with agility and flexibility. Given the dichotomy that resembles a parallel universe, Organizations are currently faced with the most challenging task of operating within this duality and this is only going to get increasingly complex with time. Also, research trends suggest that while 37% of enterprise spending on IT is currently funded outside of the IT budget, by 2017, this number will rise to 50%. All of this to say, IT leaders should be more concerned about being late to the party (i.e. incorporating digital business practices into their methodology) rather than worrying about wasting resources. It is predicted that by 2020, around 7.3 Billion personal devices will be floating around this planet and 30 Billion Internet Connected Things will emerge as compared to 1.6 Billion personal devices and 0.9 billion Internet Connected Things.

Lots of excitement right? Well, this is not the end of our ‘back to the future’ story. There are many other forces affecting the way organizations behave and respond to emerging trends. The Nexus of forces such as social media, mobile devices, cloud technologies and emergence of big data – all of which seem to move project management, portfolio management and IT in general, towards a new frontier that requires a lot of ‘rethinking the current state’. With the advent of all these disruptive forces within the industry as a whole, organizations are compelled to operate in both mode 1 and mode 2 making these universes co-exist with governing laws that are different for each mode.

Mode 1 versus Mode 2

Coexistence of Universes
Source: Gartner

If one were to produce a reality show on organizational operations, this show can easily be characterized into two sets of actors falling into the Mode 1 and Mode 2 groups. Just to be clear, the delineation between these two modes, is not intended to paint a good versus evil picture of organizational behaviour and process, rather, a means to help organizations identify where they can place themselves within an enterprise level stratosphere. So, using the Pre-digital and Digital evolution benchmarks to guide operating principles within each mode, one can establish that Mode 1 is typically Enterprise focused, belongs to the Analog/Pre-digital era and has traditional vendors implement solutions within this space while Mode 2 is dominated by Hyperscale focus and new vendors that lead solution implementation within this space.

Part II will focus on Mi-Modal Readiness and how to affect change within your organization. 

Source: “Effective Governance of Bimodal IT Projects Requires Adopting a More Outcome-Centered Approach” by Donna Fitzgerald | Bill Swanton for Gartner, 2015