IT Clock Speed

Increasing IT Clock Speed: Common Pitfalls to Avoid

Avoid the following pitfalls while working to improve IT Clock Speed:

1. Focusing exclusively on faster delivery methodologies

Given that 85% of the activities with the biggest impact on IT delivery speed occur before solution development begins, IT must look beyond methodology in order to increase speed.

Leading CIOs take a holistic view of IT’s value delivery chain to identify opportunities to streamline interactions, processes, and decisions to increase IT's responsiveness to changes in business demand.

2. Focusing on Technology, Not Service

Although business partners expect IT to be faster in responding to business demand, IT still needs to continue providing the same reliable core services. This tension has led many CIOs towards org structure changes such as bimodal IT or establishing dedicated innovation teams. However, splitting the IT function into "fast" and "slow" sections does not achieve the desired impact on speed as "fast" teams are still reliant on "slow" ones for assistance in areas such as architecture, integration, and operations, and many organizations have seen employee morale in "slow" areas fall dramatically.

The most progressive IT organizations eschew structural solutions, recognizing that committing to a specific end state can prevent IT from adapting to any of the alternative future states and to the different routes for reaching them.

3. Hiring more staff or bringing in contractors

As IT project queues become longer and business partner expectations for speed increase, it can be tempting for IT to address the problem by adding more staff or bringing in short-term contractors. While this can accelerate delivery in the short-term, it is an expensive solution to the problem of IT's clock speed, and can create additional complexity and coordination costs in the long-term.

Progressive CIOs take a long-term approach to increasing IT clock speed by changing the climate of their IT functions to embrace speed and accept risks where appropriate. They retool incentives and focus performance metrics on areas that promote judgment, collaboration, and experimentation, fostering an environment where IT employees feel encouraged to innovate and work faster.