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Together is the New Bimodal 

January 30, 2022

In 2014 Gartner introduced the concept of Bimodal IT as “the practice of managing two separate but coherent styles of work: one focused on predictability; the other on exploration”. 8 years later it is still as important as it was back then to focus on exploiting what we’ve got (Marathon) and exploring what we need in the future (Sprint). 

The bimodal approach, used correctly, will enable a company to quickly with low cost try out new and innovative ideas to meet customer needs while at the same time taking care of and evolving the existing products and customer needs. The autonomous and agile way of working is a pre-requisite and must be built into the DNA of the company. Without having the Agile Manifesto as the foundation for the entire organization there is a risk that the technical debt will grow uncontrollably, and a wall of despair will be built between the two organizations. 

Another problem for many of the companies that wanted to meet the demand of their customer with the Bimodal modus was that they organized their company in a Sprint department for Exploration and a Marathon department for Exploiting, which had the unfortunate side-effect of creating an A-team and B-team in the company.  

Building silos threatens to create internal competition and political obstacles, which is the last thing we want to create in a customer-centric, data-driven company where the vision should be to create customer benefit both with existing products and services as well with new innovative offers. There are several levels of silos we need to tear down to be successful: 

  • The domain silos – the different business domains need to work together around customers, data, processes and technology 
  • The Bimodal part, both Sprint and Marathon IT, need to work together, safe, fast and efficient to create customer value 
  • IT and business need to work together and share the common vision 
  • Partners, Suppliers, Competitors and Customers need to work together and build eco-systems to jointly create business for all 

By working together, you will create both internal and external composable networks where each separate party will be able to provide value from their own core business while combining them to create new innovative solutions. 

In the exponentially changing world with both technology and social changes neither Business nor IT can support the accelerating pace of business change and demand alone, we all must work together to create value. 

I am not claiming that working together is easy, but I do believe it is the way forward to be the winners in the future, ensuring that we are the disruptors and not the disrupted. I believe that we need to be proactive, bold and brave to succeed.  We need to build brave leadership where we continuously co-create and learn to meet the needs of our customers together with our ecosystem.  

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