Everyone works a little differently. Have you ever looked at a colleague and thought, “How do they work that way? Just working through tasks at a steady pace? I need efficiency — I like to work quickly and get stuff done.” Or maybe you’re the opposite, and you thrive in work environments that use waterfall project management instead of the Kanban approach. Or, maybe you’re a hybrid, and you wish there was more of a variation of tasks that you could have everyday.
If you’ve ever wished that there was a more diverse way to approach IT, 2016 could be the year that the growing importance of technology shakes up more than just the operating system on your smartphone. As IT becomes more and more invaluable to the company, IT employees may be called upon to generate revenue and create ROI. This all points to the new bimodal way of thinking about IT. Professionals are not only expected to maintain their level of service and problem solving, but to also generate and increase revenue to help the business, which means that the type of deliverables you have are going to change.
So what do I mean when I say “bimodal”? If it sounds like you’re going to be called upon to do two jobs at once, well, it sort of is. Gartner was one of the first to tout the idea that IT is no longer just about technology, but about driving the business as a whole, describing it as “two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility.”
Think about the first mode as a marathon runner, in it for the long term and carefully working to complete a project, and the second as a sprinter who needs to deliver on tasks quickly.
In fact, some of you may already be feeling the pressure. In Computerworld’s survey, they reported that a total of 19% of surveyees confirmed this trend, saying that they were being called upon to “generate new revenue streams or increase existing ones.” The traditional task of “maintaining” service levels is still highest at 24%, but it looks like new tasks are creeping up as a close second.
But this doesn’t mean that you’ll be expected to work in two different modes at the same time. While some journalists have been touting this way of thinking as the demise of IT as we know it, I actually see it as an opportunity for growth. Because there are two branches of IT in the bimodal way of thinking, and because we here at Samanage are all about breaking things down into easy tasks and allocating work equally, it doesn’t make sense to exhaust your resources. Look at it this way: Instead of piling on a large amount of varied work on your employees, take the time to understand where your needs are. Could a new software platform help eliminate some stress or would adding an FTE to your team give everyone a breath of fresh air?
Ideally, an enterprise would be able to hire both the “marathon runner” and the “sprinter.” We’ve talked about IT budgets increasing, and that money isn’t just going to your department so things can stay the same. Determine what your team’s needs are and allocate some of that extra funding to more headcount. If your team is full of people who love the V model approach, hire a new engineer who likes to work in agile environments to be your sprinter. Or, if you’re an engineer who works better as a marathon worker, see if you can take on those tasks within your department.
This year is the year that departments will grow to fit its new role within the enterprise. Just because IT is changing its role doesn’t mean that it’s the end — it just means that you have to stretch a little to prepare for your individual race.
About Oz Merchant
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