The Problem Today
Most of the context around work that happens in IT is easily hidden today. At an implementation level, engineers are working towards code deployments, changes to server configuration, network and firewall updates--all of which are critically important to the success of an organization. Any specific implementation details are generalized through summary reporting to anyone outside the work. Even if a Director or VP were to walk to an engineer's desk and ask to see the result of a task that was just delivered, the information would rarely be meaningful to them. This gap exists across every vertical and horizontal relationship between business stakeholders, IT engineers, managers and leaders.
The goal is for everyone in an organization to be able to effectively communicate the value of their work by relating them to Bridge Outcomes.
The concepts of Lean Thinking have been changing the way that businesses think about value and about the customer. Agile and Kanban frameworks have provided teams with ways to apply Lean principles to plan and manage their work in ways that are more visible and impactful to business. Still, measuring the evolution of an organization, especially when there are many teams, remains a very difficult challenge.
This is the problem we want to help solve.
The true complexity of this problem becomes more obvious when we realize that not only do we have to master the flow of work across multiple teams, but often, we have to either aggregate or break down the work with the right context so that it makes sense to different audiences within IT--all of whom think in varying scopes of time. To talk about this, we leverage the 5 Elements model below.
The 5 Elements of IT
The 5 Elements of IT is a conceptual model that hypothesizes that any given IT organization is made up of, at a minimum, five very distinct functions. These Five Elements need to work together in balance to deliver the organization's needs. It also theorizes that many common areas of pain or dysfunction can be traced back to communication gaps or breakdowns between at least 2 of the 5 elements.
|Element||Capability||What failure looks like||For what time frame [element] has context|
|Leadership||Provides executive sponsorship||Teams are afraid to try something new||1-5 Years|
|Architecture||Makes the right thing easy||Teams are repeatedly solving the same problem||3-12 Months|
|Product Management||Creates strategic requirements||Software does not support the need||2-3 Months|
|Development||Delivers the features||Software does not meet defined need requirements||2-3 Weeks|
|Operations||Keeps the systems running||Ongoing outages and incidents||1-5 Days|
For more background about the 5 Elements of IT, we recommend reading Digital transformation, the open source way , an e-book by Red Hat.
The Pelorus philosophy proposes that a common language of measurable outcomes can be used to bridge the gaps that often arise across these 5 elements. We refer to these as Bridge Outcomes.