October 22, 2020

A BizOps Manifesto aims to close gap between business, IT

A coalition of software industry leaders today is releasing a BizOps Manifesto, a framework that aims to finally address the need for the business and IT sides of an enterprise to work toward common outcomes that drive the bottom line.

In its announcement, the BizOps Coalition said a recent survey showed that more than three-quarters of respondents indicated that “the disconnect between IT and business units results in significant costs,” while also creating waste and stymieing innovation.

“To us, this is a progression of 20 years of transformation in the industry,” said Serge Lucio, an author of the manifesto and vice president and general manager of the Enterprise Software Division at Broadcom, which is driving a BizOps initiative. “It started about 20 years ago with the Agile Manifesto, and as we’ve seen in the last five years, a lot of standards and agile consultants have started talking about elevating agility to encompass the business level.”

According to the coalition, the BizOps Manifesto lays out a dozen guiding principles for organizations to follow to better achieve the business outcomes they desire though IT. Among those principles are:

  • Business outcomes are the primary measure of success;
  • Business leaders need to make informed technology investment decisions that drive business growth, improve customer experience and increase profitability;
  • Requirements can and should change frequently, based on changing market, customer and business requirements.
  • Changes are welcome even after software is in production; and
  • The most efficient way to build trust and confidence is through transparency, communication and shared objectives.

“I see BizOps as a fundamental competence for companies with a significant technology investment — one that will improve their business agility and enable them to fulfill their purpose and serve their customer, no matter what the future brings,” Evan Leybourn, a BizOps Manifesto author and CEO and co-founder of the Business Agility Institute, said in a statement.

The issue of bringing business and IT efforts into alignment has been much-discussed over the last quarter-century, and it remains an issue today. Some of the disconnect involves different KPIs for IT and business. On the IT side, KPIs usually revolve around delivering on-time and on-budget, while business KPIs might revolve around the number of shopping cart purchases closed, or the number of seats booked on an airline, for example. The challenge for IT is to understand the KPI they ultimately need to deliver on, and Lucio said that at times, even the business doesn’t have this crisply defined. 

But Lucio believes the time is right for that to actually be realized. Among the reasons he cited were shorter development cycles, in which business and IT can no longer work under what he called “a contractual relationship,” and more continuous feedback loops exist for developers and decision-makers as to what is being developed.

Further, the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing organizations to more quickly follow through with digital transformation plans. “Just quoting Satya Nadella, he famously mentioned that he believes there’s been more transformation month to month than in the last two years,” Lucio said. “So there has been two years of transformation in just two months. There’s been way more of an imperative to transform now.”

Meanwhile, a new generation of CIOs and development leaders who come into this from a different culture. These “Gen Z’ers and millennials” want to understand their purpose, what they are doing, and ultimately what kind of value they are delivering. 

Finally, the advancement of tooling, leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning, gives organizations the ability to bring together different kinds of data that enables people from different department and organizational units to share it and use it as a common foundation to make decisions.  

To learn more about the BizOps Coalition and the manifesto, Lucio, Mik Kersten of Tasktop and distinguished professor of Information Technology and Management at Babson College take part in a discussion on Oct. 15 at 11 AM Eastern time.

The founding members of the manifesto are:

  • Serge Lucio, vice president and general manage of the Enterprise Software Division at Broadcom
  • Patrick Tickle, chief product officer at Planview
  • Mik Kersten, founder and CEO of Tasktop
  • Sally Elatta, CEO of AgilityHealth
  • Evan Leybourn, CEO of Business Agility Institute
  • Tom Davenport, distinguished professor and author
  • Dave West, founder, Scrum.org
  • Kevin Surace, chairman/CTO of Appvance.ai

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