How Johnson & Johnson embraced agile to drive digital transformation

Johnson & Johnson CIO Stuart McGuigan, a veteran of several IT transformations, discusses the key factors of the health-care giant’s agile overhaul.

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Stuart McGuigan is no stranger to transformations. The longtime IT leader and 2018 inductee to the CIO Hall of Fame has blazed a trail of change in his leadership roles at Liberty Mutual, CVS and Johnson & Johnson.

Since joining the health-care giant in 2012, McGuigan has transformed J&J’s IT using agile development processes. He’s also reduced IT cost and complexity by migrating many of the company’s legacy on-premises systems to a hybrid cloud.

CIO.com recently spoke with McGuigan about that journey — including the importance of design thinking and data science, and why change management programs for agile are a clear sign of poor strategy, planning and communication. This is an edited version of that discussion.

You talked about your agile transformation in the context of “putting a rocket on the back of a go-kart.” Why did you need a rocket-powered go-kart?  

There’s no such thing as technology strategy — there are only business strategies with a technology component. Agile needs to be in the context of a business strategy, and a business purpose.

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