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12 bad habits that slow IT to a crawl

Bob Lewis | Sept. 11, 2015
Bottlenecks always seem born of the best intentions, but they must be rooted out -- and broken.

Besides, if everyone’s focus is on cutting costs, nobody is focused on speeding things up. If speed isn’t a priority -- let alone the priority, as it should be -- speed won’t happen.

Bottleneck No. 10: Forcing innovators into the “high fidelity” IT architecture

Businesses used to insist on being the same tomorrow as they were yesterday. They demanded bulletproof, “high fidelity” systems that never lost data and always delivered the right answer.

Now, innovation matters as much as bulletproofing. It’s the future; it’s where competitive advantage happens.

Don’t force innovators -- for example, shadow IT -- into the “high fidelity” IT architecture. Give innovators a walled-off space they can call their own while they figure things out and make the future happen. There will be plenty of time to make their innovations hi-fi if and when they succeed.

Bottleneck No. 11: Allowing a culture of complacency

Even well-run IT shops can get stale, especially in companies that “hold people accountable” when someone tries something innovative and it doesn’t pan out, instead of congratulating them for taking the risk.

A culture of complacency slows down operations because nobody sees any need to speed it up. After all, that’s how we’ve always done things around here.

If that’s the culture you have, go out of your way to shake things up. The alternative is death by boredom.

Bottleneck No. 12: Establishing an arm’s-length business/IT relationship

Which do you think will deliver results faster: Arm’s-length formality, where IT “negotiates” service-level agreements while requiring its business “customers” to “sign off on requirements and specifications,” or informal conversations that start, “What are you trying to accomplish and how can we help?”

Many pundits call the formal approach “best practice.” Ignore them. Adopt better-than-best practice. Foster strong informal relationships, and never negotiate.

Why? Because negotiation is for people sitting on opposite sides of the table.

In theory, IT and the rest of the business are on the same side -- aren’t they?


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