Stability and Agility
Mode 1 is focused on stability, and reliability. Mode 2, on the other hand, focuses on agility, flexibility, and being able to operate in an area of great uncertainty. In the case of Priority Health, a $2.3 billion US healthcare company, for example, CIO Krischa Winright credits bimodal IT with enabling the entire organization to comply with new and complicated healthcare regulations and react swiftly to customer demands. The approach has also triggered increased engagement and energy from the business.
Marathon vs. Sprint
Ms. Mesaglio compared Mode 1 to a marathon runner, with different training and skills than a sprinter. “In the era of digitalization you need both marathoners and runners,” she said.
Avoid the Timid Middle
IT organizations should start with “island” projects that protect Mode 1 from Mode 2, and note that Mode 2 still requires a rigorous, disciplined approach.
Do not use Mode 2 to change your mind a lot, said Ms. Mesaglio, because that will create a mess. It is also a mistake to act tentatively and dabble in agility by saying, "We’ll go agile, we just want all the requirements up front.” This functions more like Mode 1.5 in which organizations wallow in a timid middle ground without stability or agility.
We don’t want mid distance runners,” said Ms. Mesaglio. Whatever you’re going to do in Mode 2, go all the way.