18 Feb 2020

Snippets from the book (with bonus material)

In a world of rapid change, it is quite gratifying to note the continuing relevance of Agile IT Org Design published in 2015. As a buildup to its fifth anniversary in June 2020, I'll post snippets from the book once or twice a week.

Snippets so far

  1. From the Preface: Enterprise IT has mostly underperformed. It’s been a struggle to deliver IT-as-enabler, to say nothing of IT-as-differentiator. Partly as a result, it is common to hear of strained relationships between business and IT. This doesn’t augur well for digital transformation initiatives. I submit that a prime reason for the sorry state of affairs is poor organization design.
  2. From the Preface: A number of reviewers suggested (in good faith) that I use Lean instead of Agile in the title in order to improve marketability. Apparently, Lean is “in” whereas Agile is jaded. However, I chose Agile because its strong people orientation credentials are core to the solutions I offer. Bonus Why Agile over Lean
  3. Organization design is rarely thought out from a baseline of principles. The prevailing design is mostly a product of happenstance, mergers or acquisitions, people-retention compulsions, and the ideas of whoever is in charge at various levels in the organization. It resembles how software accumulates technical debt over time unless we periodically step back and reassess the design. Why have I included investors in the target readership? Problems in organization design do not show up promptly in financial statements. Yet, in the long run, they have the potential to compromise business outcomes. Since investments tend to have a longer tenure than executives do, investors in digital businesses would do well to understand this topic and hold executives accountable. Bonus Organizational Debt: An off-balance-sheet liability