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Bimodal IT:
Shortcut To Innovation Or Path To Dysfunction?
© DTO Solutions, Inc.
Damon Edwards
Managing Partner
DTO Soluti...
@damonedwards
Damon Edwards
DevOps Consulting
Operational Improvement
Tools
“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent
modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the othe...
“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent
modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the othe...
Google provided definition
Bimodal is NOT just “two speeds”
“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent
modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the othe...
“Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent
modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the othe...
http://www.slideshare.net/AmazonWebServices/ent312-should-you-build-or-buy-cloud-infrastructure-and-platforms-aws-reinvent...
“Is Bimodal IT going to help us or hurt us?”
“How would you evaluate Bimodal IT?”
Keep in mind what are we trying to accomplish…
• Manage all of the parts and activities necessary to
deliver and run the h...
The Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship
between quality and speed
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor
quality) because you are out...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor
quality) because you are out...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor
quality) because you are out...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor
quality) because you are out...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor
quality) because you are out...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• Lean, Agile, and now DevOps have all been proving that
speed and quality are not mut...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• Decades of command and control waterfall methodologies
hasn't gotten us to the high-...
1. Built on a major logical fallacy
• Appears to be built on fundamental misconception that we
are working in a simple, ra...
The Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship
between quality and speed
2. Inst...
2. Institutionalizes dysfunction
• One set of people should be thinking that traditional and
sequential
• Implies some for...
2. Institutionalizes dysfunction
• By definition you are creating a rift in the culture and
beliefs of the human beings in ...
2. Institutionalizes dysfunction
Gartner automation example:
“Mode 2 organizations should seek to implement automation
to ...
2. Institutionalizes dysfunction
• Reality is that automation rarely lives in isolation
• Different teams all need to use s...
2. Institutionalizes dysfunction
• Really there are all sorts of shared infrastructure and teams
• Operations, Data Center...
2. Institutionalizes dysfunction
• There are all sorts of shared infrastructure and teams
• Operations, Data Centers, Netw...
The Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship
between quality and speed
2. Inst...
3. Leads to Haves and Have Not
• Empowers one part of the organization to go and innovate,
do the new things, get the new ...
The Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship
between quality and speed
2. Inst...
4. Creates an artificial divide
• A fundamental conceit of Bimodal IT is the notion that you
can carve your world into thes...
Corporate Plan
Budget
Requirements /
User Journeys
The Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship
between quality and speed
2. Inst...
Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
“Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
• We already discussed that Bimodal IT view of world isn’t
based on ...
Bimodal IT describes the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION
Let me repeat that:
Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
2. “It’s a transition ...
“It’s a transition strategy”
• Revisionist? Nowhere in the definition does it describe it as
a transition tactic (“practice...
Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
2. “It’s a transition ...
“These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the
concept”
• Blaming the user is never a path to success
• Why put p...
Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
2. “It’s a transition ...
“So and so is getting better because of this”
• Please produce the evidence of companies reaching relative
high-performanc...
Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
2. “It’s a transition ...
“People need to do something, do you have a better
idea?
• Plenty of examples out there, from classic Lean transformations...
Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT…
1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
2. “It’s a transition ...
Summary
1. “Its being pragmatic about how
the world works today”
2. “It’s a transition strategy”
3. “These problems are th...
Let’s talk…
@damonedwards
Damon Edwards
damon@dtosolutions.com
Bimodal IT: Shortcut to Innovation or Path to Dysfunction?
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Bimodal IT: Shortcut to Innovation or Path to Dysfunction?

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Damon Edwards (DTO Solutions) presentation at Pink16 in Las Vegas on February 16, 2016.

Key takeaway: "Bimodal IT describes the problem, not the solution"

Published in: Technology
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Bimodal IT: Shortcut to Innovation or Path to Dysfunction?

  1. 1. Bimodal IT: Shortcut To Innovation Or Path To Dysfunction? © DTO Solutions, Inc. Damon Edwards Managing Partner DTO Solutions, Inc.
  2. 2. @damonedwards Damon Edwards
  3. 3. DevOps Consulting Operational Improvement Tools
  4. 4. “Bimodal IT is 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.”
  5. 5. “Bimodal IT is 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.”
  6. 6. Google provided definition Bimodal is NOT just “two speeds”
  7. 7. “Bimodal IT is 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.”
  8. 8. “Bimodal IT is 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.”
  9. 9. http://www.slideshare.net/AmazonWebServices/ent312-should-you-build-or-buy-cloud-infrastructure-and-platforms-aws-reinvent-2014
  10. 10. “Is Bimodal IT going to help us or hurt us?” “How would you evaluate Bimodal IT?”
  11. 11. Keep in mind what are we trying to accomplish… • Manage all of the parts and activities necessary to deliver and run the high-quality systems • Give the business… • what they want • when they want it • at the lowest cost possible
  12. 12. The Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship between quality and speed
  13. 13. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor quality) because you are out of control
  14. 14. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor quality) because you are out of control: TRUE
  15. 15. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor quality) because you are out of control: TRUE • So therefore… the slower you go, the better your quality will be because you'll be in better control
  16. 16. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor quality) because you are out of control: TRUE • So therefore… the slower you go, the better your quality will be because you'll be in better control: FALSE
  17. 17. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • If you go too fast, bad things will happen (namely poor quality) because you are out of control: TRUE • So therefore… the slower you go, the better your quality will be because you'll be in better control: FALSE • 30 years of proof in other domains and now 10-15 years of proof in our domain that this just isn't true.
  18. 18. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • Lean, Agile, and now DevOps have all been proving that speed and quality are not mutually exclusive • In fact, a focus on reducing lead times (i.e. going faster), being more nimble, and decentralizing both planning and controls brings ✓ Higher quality ✓ Lower costs
  19. 19. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • Decades of command and control waterfall methodologies hasn't gotten us to the high-performance desired by the business wants 
 
 (or the business wouldn't be asking now)
  20. 20. 1. Built on a major logical fallacy • Appears to be built on fundamental misconception that we are working in a simple, rather than complex, system Complex System Complex System interacting with a
  21. 21. The Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship between quality and speed 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction with different groups working under different beliefs by design
  22. 22. 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction • One set of people should be thinking that traditional and sequential • Implies some form of the way we’ve always done it with waterfalls and release trains • Prime directive: safety, accuracy, and cost containment • Other set of people should be thinking exploratory and nonlinear • Implies Agile and DevOps • Prime directive: agility and speed
  23. 23. 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction • By definition you are creating a rift in the culture and beliefs of the human beings in your organization • Thought Exercise: Think about these two different orgs… • One is fully traditional waterfall with processes and structure defined using a strict ITIL interpretation • One is full Agile and DevOps from how they plan to how they run operations • Difference isn’t just process or tools… they fundamentally see the world differently and work differently
  24. 24. 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction Gartner automation example: “Mode 2 organizations should seek to implement automation to enhance speed, while Mode 1 organizations should leverage automation to improve consistency and reduce cost.” • Mode 1 history shows automation design tending towards monolithic and rigid with an inward view of cost savings • Mode 2 recent history shows automation design tending toward decentralized and more of a horizontal SDLC oriented approach • How people interact with these types of automation is really different
  25. 25. 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction • Reality is that automation rarely lives in isolation • Different teams all need to use same automation • For deployment, could be different app ops and ops teams • For test automation, could be centralized QA teams or maybe other teams reusing the automation • People need to collaborate across teams, re-orgs happen.
  26. 26. 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction • Really there are all sorts of shared infrastructure and teams • Operations, Data Centers, Networks, Security, Compliance, Finance. • Are you asking for those shared groups to think and act differently based on who they are talking to at that moment? • At the technical level, are you asking for those shared groups to think and act differently based where an artifact or system came from? • No wonder people call it "Bipolar IT”
  27. 27. 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction • There are all sorts of shared infrastructure and teams • Operations, Data Centers, Networks, Security, Compliance, Finance. • Are asking for those shared groups to think and act differently based on who they are talking to at that moment? • At the technical level, are asking for those shared groups to think and act differently based where an artifact or system came from? • No wonder people call it "Bipolar IT”
  28. 28. The Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship between quality and speed 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction with different groups working under different beliefs by design 3. Cultural divides that lead to “haves” and “have nots”
  29. 29. 3. Leads to Haves and Have Not • Empowers one part of the organization to go and innovate, do the new things, get the new tools, learn the new skills, spend the money • Tells the other part of the organization to stay working the same way they always worked, keep the lights on, and save the money. • How does that not lead to a cultural rift ? • How are the people left behind in Mode 1 going to feel about their worth, their career prospects?
  30. 30. The Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship between quality and speed 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction with different groups working under different beliefs by design 3. Cultural divides that lead to “haves” and “have nots” 4. Creates an artificial divide where none actually exists and it is not realistic to do so
  31. 31. 4. Creates an artificial divide • A fundamental conceit of Bimodal IT is the notion that you can carve your world into these two distinct parts • Reality is that nothing lives in isolation • Your systems of engagement are useless without your systems of record. And vice versa. • From the only perspective that matters, that of the customer and therefore the business, it is all one system! • Divide a single system of people and technology into two parts that think about and execute their work in opposite ways?
  32. 32. Corporate Plan Budget Requirements / User Journeys
  33. 33. The Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship between quality and speed 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction with different groups working under different beliefs by design 3. Cultural divides that lead to “haves” and “have nots” 4. Creates an artificial divide where none actually exists and it is not realistic to do so
  34. 34. Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today”
  35. 35. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” • We already discussed that Bimodal IT view of world isn’t based on reality • But this rebuttal does bring up a good point… we do live in a multi-speed reality.  • All of the parts can and should move at different speeds • The problem is when all of these parts are working differently with different beliefs • Multiple MODES (not speeds) is the true problem • Bimodal IT describes the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION
  36. 36. Bimodal IT describes the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION Let me repeat that:
  37. 37. Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” 2. “It’s a transition strategy”
  38. 38. “It’s a transition strategy” • Revisionist? Nowhere in the definition does it describe it as a transition tactic (“practice of managing two separate, coherent modes if IT delivery”) • How is this is supposed to work as a transition strategy? • Brownfield / Greenfield? Mode 1 is the classic brownfield. Mode 2 is this new shiny greenfield • Natural tendency is for green to trend brown, not the other way around • Add in extra difficulty of sanctioning that these two orgs to have different ways of working, aims, and beliefs • Huge forces working against “brown” turning “green”
  39. 39. Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” 2. “It’s a transition strategy” 3. “These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the concept”
  40. 40. “These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the concept” • Blaming the user is never a path to success • Why put people in a system where it is difficult to succeed? • Why not pick an approach where it makes management simpler and not more complex/difficult?
  41. 41. Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” 2. “It’s a transition strategy” 3. “These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the concept” 4. “So and so is getting better because of this”
  42. 42. “So and so is getting better because of this” • Please produce the evidence of companies reaching relative high-performance this way • Please show how they are actually adopting the official Bimodal IT advice (not their own or a hybrid) • Initial improvement can come from just by putting attention on something. Still needs to prove it is sustainable • Doing something is usually better than nothing • Understand observer effect / attribution bias / causation • Please prove me wrong!
  43. 43. Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” 2. “It’s a transition strategy” 3. “These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the concept” 4. “So and so is getting better because of this” 5. “People need to do something, do you have a better idea?
  44. 44. “People need to do something, do you have a better idea? • Plenty of examples out there, from classic Lean transformations in other fields to reports from recent DevOps Enterprise Conferences • Hard work the industry needs to hear about, not the “easy button” they want to hear about • And since you asked (out of scope for this talk): 1.Work to define and unify beliefs across the org (and accept that each team might work at it’s own pace with own process and tooling variations) 2.Apply visual management techniques to see reality, identify horizontal value streams, and align people’s work 3.Empower teams to find and fix what is getting in the way 4.PDSA (continuous improvement loops) and go back to #1
  45. 45. Rebuttals to the Criticisms of Bimodal IT… 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” 2. “It’s a transition strategy” 3. “These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the concept” 4. “So and so is getting better because of this” 5. “People need to do something, do you have a better idea?
  46. 46. Summary 1. “Its being pragmatic about how the world works today” 2. “It’s a transition strategy” 3. “These problems are the fault of weak managers, not the concept” 4. “So and so is getting better because of this” 5. “People need to do something, do you have a better idea? 1. Built on a major logical fallacy about the relationship between quality and speed 2. Institutionalizes dysfunction with different groups working under different beliefs by design 3. Cultural divides that lead to “haves” and “have nots” 4. Creates an artificial divide where none actually exists and it is not realistic to do so Bimodal IT describes the PROBLEM, not the SOLUTION Criticisms Rebuttals
  47. 47. Let’s talk… @damonedwards Damon Edwards damon@dtosolutions.com

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