Picture this: A major financial services organization has an information technology (IT) staff of 1,500 across multiple locations. While management wants to reduce costs and boost performance, there is dissatisfaction in the ranks. This scenario is so typical that it could apply to half the readers of this book, maybe more. This particular company's previous attempts at transformation didn't work, leaving its employees disengaged and cynical about the future.
Management still had high hopes. Through process transformation, it revamped all project management and IT processes, leading to efficient and consistent ways of working, which led to confident and predictable IT service delivery. Management also wanted to initiate a high-performance culture while raising the bar on expected skills and behaviors, especially increasing IT professionalism and knowledge sharing. Finally, it hoped to build engagement in its transformation program.
With the help of consultants, management settled on a strategy to create specialized communities of practice within IT. It brought in key stakeholders and identified the areas of high potential as communities of practice targets. The idea was to deliver business benefit as soon as possible. These communities of practice would then be integrated with the business's usual processes.
Right off the bat, management realized it had to identify and engage the right people fast to lead the practice communities. It knew many were ...