Modes 1 and 2
It’s tricky to get IT to be resilient and nimble, rock steady and malleable, and for this reason Gartner developed the concept of bimodal IT in 2014:
the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.
The previous year, McKinsey had argued for the development of greenfield IT (effectively Mode 2):
… the creation of a new technology that lives and is independently managed outside the CIO. The reason for considering this is that so many companies are hampered by legacy technologies that they are unable to be flexible and simply cannot innovate.
Gartner claims that it’s “IT with traditional efficiency and predictability, yet with the agility and speed to use the digital core with utmost effectiveness.” We add a critical caveat – so long as the two modes (of both technology and people) get along together just fine.
Bimodal shapes up to be a realistic response to a multi-faceted challenge and has a lot going for it in our opinion, but others aspire to a more ‘perfect’ single-mode world represented by the combination of continuous delivery and lean IT …