I posted from time-to-time on what I’ve called “sticking points” – how things that you had to do (e.g., practices, processes) to get from Level 1 Business-IT Maturity to Level 2 could trap you in Level 2 if you did not modify them, or in some cases, dispense with them entirely! It’s not that they are bad practices – quite the contrary – they are essential to maturing beyond Level 1. But the discontinuities between Level 1 and 2, and between Level 2 and 3 are such that some of the practices will not take you all the way from Level 1 to Level 3.
Anyway, Idris Mootee on one of my favorite blogs, Innovation Playground wrote this post on The Problem With Stage-Gate Process With Experience Innovation. Although he’s writing about innovation more broadly than for the role of IT, I think the post applies beautifully to the IT world, and is a great example of a sticking point trap.
I’ve seen many cases where a rigorous and well-intended stage-gate process was introduced in a low maturity organization, and helped them increase maturity through a more-disciplined approach to development. But as they tried to inject a more innovative spin to their discovery and development efforts, were stymied by the stage-gate process.
Please read Idris’s excellent post for a great perspective on why that happens. Then consider, “Are our development processes ‘innovation friendly’. Do they allow for the kind of program, rather than project approach, and for experimentation rather than ‘avoid risk at any cost’ mentality?”