The makeup and mission of a typical IT staff in 2030 will look dramatically different than it does in 2019. IT will have to be more agile and team-oriented than ever before. That’s in order to address the heightened demand for quick responses and creative solutions to business challenges.
Rather than a task-oriented environment in which IT professionals receive assignments and then complete them, they will work in teams to anticipate and address business challenges with elegant IT solutions. Those IT professionals who excel in a team environment will find greater success than those who prefer to work individually.
The principles of holacracy will be in full force by 2030. In a holacracy, management is decentralized, and small team (pods) are armed with more organizational and decision-making authority. The most successful CIOs will attract, inspire, and equip a diverse team of IT professionals who can work well together in small groups (pods). The CIO will then lead from behind, giving each pod the authority to self-manage, sprout new ideas, and deliver solutions. Because of the creative atmosphere such pods generate, solutions may anticipate challenges that have yet to become big issues. The pods will form, disperse, and re-form as needed to quickly meet their organization’s needs.
Other characteristics of a successful IT enterprise in 2030:
Pod members will be challenged to be more creative and entrepreneurial than the typical IT staff of 2019.
The CIO will select pod leaders, who will in turn oversee agile pods of up to 30 members. The pods will be formed by the members themselves. Members will have lived their whole lives with digital technology. Therefore, they will be better equipped than those who are not digital natives to embrace frequent changes and tests of their abilities.
Pods often will be ad hoc. A pod may form to address a one-time challenge. When the challenge is resolved, the pod will disband. Its members may choose to join other pods or re-form into a new pod addressing a different challenge.
Members will be free to temporarily attach themselves to other pods as well. This will allow them to expand their expertise into new areas. They also will be positioned to gain fresh perspectives.
The IT organization, as well as each pod, will draw on skillsets across the enterprise. They will also reach beyond the enterprise for expertise. For example, a pod may choose to include experts from partner organizations, as well as from universities and research institutions.
IT staff will have significant autonomy in decision making.
IT will rely little if any on Human Resources to provide staffing and support.
Traditional management hierarchies, including reporting flow charts, will be virtually non-existent at successful IT enterprises in 2030. When staffing and resource needs arise, they will be addressed at the team level rather than at the senior management level.
Currently, IT often is primarily or wholly in a support role. IT responds to internal needs. In 2030, agile IT teams will be poised to address both internal and external needs. They will act as laboratories to develop products and services for external clients as well as those within the organization.
The concept of holacracy—decentralized management—will not be an easy fit for all organizations. The movement to self-organizing IT pods will not go smoothly for each enterprise. As a result, some long-established businesses may become discouraged and be tempted to surrender to the old ways of management. It may be necessary for such organizations to change at a slower pace, or to create a hybrid approach where there is a mix of decentralized and more traditional approaches to IT innovation.
What CIOs should do now
Not all IT leaders will be eager, or able, to adapt to the lead-from-behind approach to management. Complete buy-in from leadership will be paramount to the success of an agile team approach to IT.
The potential for becoming a successful IT organization in 2030 hinges on what a CIO does today. That starts with understanding and embracing a more agile, servant leader style of management. It means instilling that same approach in IT team leaders through recruitment and encouragement.
About the Author: Brittany Peckham
Brittany grew up in Oregon, Wisconsin and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Business School with a Bachelor’s degree in Management and Human Resources with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. Brittany has been working with Valicom for many years creating content for the TEM industry to deliver the many benefits users and organizations can experience in utilizing TEM services. With a passion for social media marketing, Brittany enjoys applying creativity throughout various areas of her life while expressing creativity in everything she does and loves being consumed in projects, from start to finish.