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Keeping up With IT Requires Thoughtful Change and Renewal

How to deal with change by taking control and managing the key wants and needs that impact specific IT challenges.

In this post, I concentrate on dealing with change by focusing on taking control and managing the key wants and needs that impact specific IT challenges. The framework for this model is a discussion of wants and needs, approaches and tactics, and expected outcomes. 
Wants and Needs  
People in IT are dealing with a variety of significant challenges often taking place at the same time. Take these three examples:
  1. Make existing applications available in new ways
    Driven by business need, designers and developers are looking to make applications or portion of applications available in new ways like through smart phones and other mobile devices. 
  2. Exploring a wider variety of ways to get our job done
    Development teams are looking to include new tools and approaches to their application development method to make use of new energy and innovations like those available from open-source tools. 
  3. Take simpler approaches to systems and applications
    IT support organizations are challenged to effectively perform everyday activities like problem analysis and resolution and change management due to the complexity of the elements and components that make up our application systems.
It’s not that difficult to recognize one or more of these challenges taking place in IT today.
Approaches and Tactics
What basic approaches can we take to address challenges like these? Is there a model that will help us analyze and begin to address difficult obstacles regarding needed change, expansion of method or complexity? Consider the three Rs:
  1. Renew
    The focus of renewal is to make better use of the resources we already have by seeking out and exploiting latent features. Features of products that you already have deployed might be able to be configured and used instead of the more challenging tactic of deploying a programming language or commercial tool that’s new to the organization.
  2. Refresh
    There is an ongoing need to rejuvenate, such as adding new capabilities to a portfolio and deemphasizing others. For example, a tactic to deploy Java would be to add it to the developer’s toolkit with guidance on the situations for its use while keeping the incumbent languages useful and available. Refresh, but don’t destroy. The answer is to deemphasize.
  3. Rework
    There are times when rework is needed to make a modification to an existing solution to build dramatic changes to its usefulness. This kind of effort requires a confident team with members that trust each other and management that recognizes the need. Rework is costly but recognizing the need for it saves in the long run.
Expected Outcomes   
Individuals and teams need the ability to envision and describe their expected outcomes.  Regardless of the approach used–renew, refresh or rework–anticipated results should be expressed in straightforward terms. An effective presentation of expected outcomes is needed to sell the main ideas and approach and to measure the results even if only in an informal way. How did we do?  

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