Product-based IT: A bold shift to business value

IT leaders are swapping out project-based IT service delivery in favor of product development models predicated on business outcomes.

Innovative CIOs make shift to managing IT as a product
masterzphotois / Getty Images

The shift toward product-centric IT has accelerated of late, as more IT leaders find project-based delivery models untenable for achieving their digital transformation aspirations.

In traditional project management, business units build software, churning through task lists and tracking budgets against carefully calibrated timelines. The overall organizational strategy and roadmap is typically not considered in project-based IT delivery models, and waterfall is the preferred development method within these fiefdoms, which jealously hoard KPIs and other metrics that help gauge business value, according to analyst firm Gartner.

Product-led models, on the other hand, are fueled by cross-functional, co-located teams comprising developers, product managers and business analysts who work together to craft business capabilities. Such teams employ agile and DevOps methodologies to provide continuous, iterative delivery of a specific product feature in a business process, such as search or order fulfillment. They measure value streams — the set of interactions required to produce meaningful outcomes — with KPIs accessible to all.

Whereas project management structures result in slower delivery timelines and questionable outcomes, product-centric IT models yield quicker business results, improved customer experiences and reduced organizational friction, boosting trust as the business aligns toward the same goals, Gartner says.

This ongoing shift toward product-based IT underscores how traditional companies are following in the footsteps of Facebook, Uber and other digital-native companies whose products are designed to delight consumers.

To continue reading this article register now

Discover what your peers are reading. Sign up for our FREE email newsletters today!