One of the biggest misconceptions of Gartner’s Bimodal IT research is that Mode 1 work continues to use waterfall project management methods and Mode 2 is agile. Mode 1 work can continue to use waterfall as the the work is more (though not completely) predictable, but Mode 2 work is exploratory – we don’t know exactly how to accomplish our goal when we start – therefore agile development methods are required. As I discussed in the last post, this brings with it a product-centric approach to application management.
But Gartner sees many organizations using the product approach with their Mode 1 work, even for packaged business applications, such as ERP. Product road maps for Mode 1 work should change less frequently than those for Mode 2, because there should be fewer surprises and fewer changes in approach due to early feedback. The big advantage of the product model is that business value is delivered with the completion of each item on the road map, instead of waiting for the end of a long project.
As always, digital business is a major driver of these changes. More traditional organizations have to adopt an agile and product approach as part of getting into digital business. My colleagues Mike Gilpin and Richard Marshall explored this process in “Reinventing How Teams Deliver Software as Products for the Digital World.” In addition to moving from projects to products and bimodal, they also recommend budgeting and governance to deal with a hybrid project/product portfolio during the transition. Budgeting and governance will be the subjects of future posts.