Are you thinking about adopting the bimodal approach to your IT service desk? You’re not alone. While Gartner has pioneered the term, the concept has been growing for a while. Despite its recent popularity, however, Gartner says that only half of the teams that attempted to go bimodal were able to do so successfully.
This is going to sound harsh, but what you will need is a cultural change as a whole. Rather than expecting the implementation of a bimodal system to do it for you, you will need to be proactive. Gartner reports that out of all the challenges that employees perceived about adopting a new process, the idea that their work culture wasn’t ready topped the list, proving that bimodal’s scope is bigger than just the IT department.
So, how do you jump in? What are the possible pain points you may encounter? Having an agile method in place certainly helps, but there are other unexpected considerations.
Can’t We All Just Get Along?
More agility in the enterprise means that there’s also a greater velocity to changes that come about in your app or service offering. According to Gartner, this can lead to a communication and information gap, including such details as:
- Support documentation
- Information about release timing
- Any processes or policies that may have changed in relation to new releases
- New roles, skills, or capabilities that may be needed
In order to effectively deliver support for the software that’s released in an agile workflow, you’re going to have to get along with your developers. Yep, that’s right: You’re going to have to take on bimodal IT as a team.
The good news is that if your engineering team is already working in an agile environment, chances are the rest of your business is to some extent, as well. The major thing to keep in mind here is communication in order to make sure that when you know something, the other agile teams know it as well, and vice versa.
Another aspect that you might not have thought of is how changes within your company’s processes will also affect your external service providers. You’ll not only have different ways to engage with them, but also opportunities for them to offer other services to you.
We’re not pointing any fingers here, but sometimes, when people are working and meeting their deadlines and checking tasks off their list, they might forget to, well, share that information. That means that you may be left in the dark about updates or other changes that are going on within your service offering. How do you prevent getting left behind? Be proactive.
Instead of waiting for engineers to come up to you and tell you about the things they’re working on in detail, or having to wade through a chain of emails, approach them yourself.
- Include yourself in agile standup meetings
- Product backlogs
- User stories
- What tasks are included in the current sprint or upcoming release
Part of being a bigger part of your organization means taking a on bigger roles. You’ll have to play both the service desk and act as a conduit between teams. Ideally, with bimodal IT you’ll be able to designate a team member to work with the other teams in the office and seek out information.
Above All, Start Slow — But Don’t Be Afraid to Jump In
You have to take steps before you can run. In their research paper “How to Achieve Enterprise Agility With a Bimodal Capability,” Gartner describes the process as a “deep cultural change,” and therefore, you need to start slowly. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t jump in.
“The deep cultural change that underpins the methods and processes means that shifting to a bimodal approach is akin to learning to swim — you have to start small, and you learn by doing it, not by reading about it. Progress depends heavily on a feedback loop to adjust course and ensure that lessons are learned. We recommend that you ‘swim’ as soon as possible and mitigate risk by jumping in at the shallow end, not the deep end.”
Gartner says that one of the best ways to get going is to start applying bimodal capability to a few projects here and there. You’ll then be able to apply this approach to more and more projects, and eventually, the entire organization as a whole.