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Bimodal IT: A Path Down the Wrong Direction

Bimodal IT is the flawed notion that software systems should be divided into two distinct categories for management and control.

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Bimodal IT is the flawed notion that software systems should be divided into these two distinct categories for management and control.

  • Front Office systems should be optimized for rapid feature development. These systems of engagement need to react rapidly to changing customer needs and business opportunities. Defects should be tolerated as the necessary cost for this rapid development cycle.
  • Back Office systems should be optimized for reliability. As systems of record, it's important that you don't get defects that damage the enterprise. Consequently you slow down the rate of change.

The term Bimodal IT is used by Gartner [1]. McKinsey and Co talk about the same basic idea under the name "Two Speed IT". (I find it hard to resist calling it "Bipolar IT".)

When I first heard about this approach, I was pleased, thinking that these august organizations had come to same conclusion that I had with my UtilityVsStrategicDichotomy, but as I read further I realized that Bimodal IT was a different animal. And worse I think that Bimodal IT is really a path down the wrong direction.

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Published at DZone with permission of Martin Fowler, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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