Last month I was having a conversation with the IT leadership of a large enterprise company about velocity. Specifically, I asked how long it takes IT Operations to deploy a fully configured virtual machine in their production environment. The short answer, as far as the business was concerned, was too long. Developers and non-IT users were bypassing IT and going to AWS for their server needs and thus creating the nefariously named “shadow IT”. I hear this story all the time. However, what I had never heard before is what the Director of Infrastructure said next.
He told me that his team was not to blame and it was, in his words, “the impatience of the business” that was the root of the problem. This floored me.
IT has one purpose, to serve the business. Period.In retrospect, I should not have been so surprised. This sentiment is shared by quite a few IT professionals and underscores a breakdown in culture. The key to changing this belief is to teach people in IT about the idea of Time to Value and its impact.
Simply put, Time to Value is the time it takes IT to fulfill a request from the business. As Time to Value decreases, Velocity increases. The goal of most organizations is to decrease to Time to Value to zero, or immediate value. This is the idea driving the adoption of self-service portals. In this case, the IT value is realized immediately (or close) when the catalog item is selected. Most vendors of self-service portal software have touted this as the ultimate in delivering IT services, of course, you need their product to do this…
I think we can do better. Why stop at zero?
What would happen if IT was able to deliver a negative Time to Value?
First, we have to understand what negative Time to Value means.
Essentially delivering IT services with a negative Time to Value means that they would be delivered before the business requests them. In short, being where the puck is going not where it is. There is a word for that, innovation. When IT becomes an innovator, it stops being a cost center and starts being a differentiating factor.
Increasing velocity will eventually lead to innovation, but first, the culture of an organization must support it. The first step is for IT leadership to truly partner with the business. This partnership is built upon empathy, transparency, and communication. When IT embraces service to the business and stops being adversarial truly amazing outcomes are possible.
Reposted from Byron Schaller's blog MetalWorker.io