Overcoming IT product & business management challenges

4 min read

Nowadays, more companies outside the IT sector are considering digital transformation and creating proprietary IT solutions. Yet they run into unexpected challenges, recognizing the necessity for specialized skills, processes, resources, and expertise that they often lack in-house. This hampers the effective development of IT products.

Despite success in their core niche, there is a gap in their understanding of how this new IT department operates. When IT product management and delivery issues start snowballing within a business previously not focused on IT, there is always a silver lining moment when they feel it must be rearranged. But where to begin their transformation from? What are the root causes of those IT management and process delivery failures?

Throughout our technological collaborations with hundreds of SMBs, we’ve observed the impact of the four major issues on entrepreneurial success in the IT ecosystem. Below, we offer an in-depth examination of these four roadblocks. Sometimes, these issues had a drastic effect. In many cases, however, businesses managed to stay afloat. The encouraging news is that you can reverse these trends through careful attention and consistent action in each area. Let’s delve into each category of IT management issues below.

These four challenges undermine the software products’ delivery process

Every IT management challenge within a company can be linked to one of four critical areas – product, technology, people, and processes:

  • Product management bridges the gap between technical teams and business objectives to create products that meet customer needs and company goals.
  • Technology management implies overseeing the technology strategy, infrastructure & architecture, managing technical budgeting and resource allocation.
  • People management includes building a motivated and productive IT team that contributes positively to the organization’s success.
  • Process management standardizes processes for technology projects and software development.

So, if the organizational structure isn’t set up correctly, it typically causes the following issues in those areas:

  1. Weak product management
    Lack of transparency in the internal management structure leads to inefficiencies and increases development costs.
  2. Technological difficulties
    A lack of consistent technical strategy results in debt, legacy burden, and poor technical decision-making. Exceeding the development budget is one of the common difficulties.
  3. Weak people management
    The poor organizational structure of teams leads to high staff turnover and, therefore, unreasonable interruptions in the workflow.
  4. Unpredictable delivery and poor process management
    You need help to meet your expectations regarding delivery timelines and final quality.

To sum up, as a business owner, you realize the entire process of in-house software development veers towards problematic territory. You realize there’s an overspending budget, missing deadlines, and developers compromising on quality. These problems stem from the ineffective management of the software development process as the product’s importance to the business grows. As an executive, you may start recognizing the need to shift the development strategy to align with methodologies that successful software firms have applied for decades. 

The remedy for the IT management challenges mentioned lies in business transformation, where areas of responsibility are delineated

IT managementIt falls upon a technical manager, often the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), to harmonize efforts in these domains with the company’s business goals. Ultimately, technical management addresses the problems mentioned earlier and accomplishes the following:

Clear goals

  • streamlined business vision
  • feasible roadmap and budgets

    Predictable delivery

    • efficient control over the development processes and releases
    • open communication
    • transparent tracking of progress

      Efficient and motivated team:

      • experienced team leads
      • working people management framework
      • regular assessments & feedback system

        Reliable technology

        • appropriate technical stack
        • adequate architecture
        • legacy tech debt management
        • the efficient technical decision-making process

          Where should the IT management transformation start?

          It’s safe to say you’re initiating the transformation process by mapping out the organizational design and outlining the clear responsibilities within your IT teams:

          1. By laying the foundation for the future design of IT organizations now, you will ensure the sustainable operation of IT-related processes in the future.
          2. Another direction to focus on is to specify responsibilities among team members. It is a recipe for disaster if responsibilities are vaguely distributed among them, with formal control and oversight. Sticking to well-defined areas of responsibility is one of the primary steps in the right direction. 

          The following section will discuss methods for developing the organizational structure, which is fundamental to successfully transforming all processes.

          Core components of the company’s organizational design

          The description below will introduce you to the main components of the organizational structure defined by Henry Mintzberg, whose ideas inspired the internal design of such corporations as General Electric, Procter & Gamble, Apple, IBM, etc. 

          1. Business model design:
            this involves crafting corporate culture, business strategy, leadership methodologies, and talent management strategies.
          2. Operational model design:
            defining roles, establishing metrics, and formulating operational management principles.
          3. Work design:
            developing work technology and motivation systems to enhance efficiency and productivity.
          4. Workforce design:
            workforce planning, constructing work architecture, and designing roles for optimal performance.
          5. Organizational structure and design:
            assessing and optimizing the organizational structure to ensure alignment with the objectives.

          Meanwhile, you may not be engaged in choosing the future architecture of your organization. However, a few frameworks for expanding companies are worth considering. You won’t find any ubiquitous scheme as a business is a live organism whose circumstances vary. The uniting idea of all these solutions is the concept of client ownership. It means that the process owner approaches tasks with full responsibility. Ownership entails taking responsibility for one’s tasks, results, and decisions related to a project. It implies active participation in the planning stages, execution, and final implementation of changes.

          Further, we’ll describe the most common frameworks that can be considered for future organizational design. 

          LeSS
          This is a large-scale Scrum (LeSS). It extends the principles of Scrum to multiple teams collaborating on several interconnected products. Companies are ready to embrace LeSS when their development processes lack flexibility. 

          Nexus
          Nexus introduces several enhancements to the Scrum framework, incorporating additional events and artifacts to facilitate data sharing and knowledge. In this approach, the role of the Product Owner is amplified, as they are responsible for maximizing the product’s value and coordinating the work of multiple Scrum teams, ranging from 3 to 9 teams in total. All these teams operate with a unified product backlog and are accountable to a single Product Owner. Therefore, Nexus strongly emphasizes achieving a collective product outcome from teams that independently work on different aspects of the product.

          SAFE
          SAFe, the Scaled Agile Framework, emphasizes the product’s value as the primary goal. It is a structured framework for organizations seeking to extend Agile practices across large teams and complex projects. Moreover, SAFe underscores the importance of alignment, collaboration, and the consistent delivery of value in achieving organizational agility and success.

          Bottom line

          In summary, the solution to organizational chaos involves three core ideas:

          1. Assigning the central role of technological oversight to the appropriate person in charge.
          2. Setting a clear delineation of responsibilities among team members. 
          3. The outcomes of the previous two steps will lay the foundation for organizational design. Moreover, it will be done before the company solidifies into a more inflexible structure. 

          If you overlook this step now, your software development and delivery process can be set on the wrong path, and you’ll find yourself constantly dealing with the same issues throughout late delivery, budget planning inconsistencies, and high turnover rates among developers.

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