Making the shift to product-based IT

Many organizations are shifting from project-based IT to product-based delivery. Here’s how they overcome common obstacles and drive success in concert with business stakeholders.

Making the shift to product-based IT
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It’s a familiar failing of many IT projects. As teams move from one project to the next, “it’s almost like every program starts with a fresh mindset, instead of trying to iterate on what we’ve already launched,” says Sreelakshmi Kolli, vice president of IT at Align Technology. “They lose continuity of thought.” But Kolli is working to change that mindset at the global medical device company by adopting its first product-centric delivery method this year using agile methodologies and product teams made up of business, marketing and IT people who keep innovation constantly moving. “We started with one [product-centric rollout] this year and we’re going to do three next year,” she says.

More than half of organizations (55%) surveyed by Gartner say they’re moving from project to product delivery as a way to continuously integrate and deliver new features and capabilities to the business. These organizations are making the shift by defining new architectures and tools (39%), investing in DevOps software development methodologies (35%) and hiring workers with new skills (32%), to name a few.

The road from project-based IT to product-centric delivery is not without challenges. To succeed, an organization must closely examine current deliverables, add new skills through training or acquisition, and change the project mindset of all stakeholders.

Andy Rowsell-Jones, vice president and research director at Gartner, says most organizations also hit three barriers on the road to product management: ongoing funding issues, challenges in assembling a product team with the right blend of skills, and difficulty finding highly diverse product managers.

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