“Bimodal” is a huge term in the information technology world right now.
Basically, it means splitting the IT office into two sections. One for all the essentials, like accounting, human resources and so on, which run as usual, like the plodding donkey. The other gets to do all the exciting stuff! That’s a focus on improving the company’s speed of response or productivity, creating new revenue streams and boosting efficiency. In effect, it creates a two-stream business, with a thoroughbred racehorse helping drive business.
The faster stream of the two can scale in quite a mild manner, by adopting cloud, taking a mobile focus or outsourcing. Or, it can see risks taken by running whole projects at a fast pace. Using agile development and quick pivots to turn a new idea or failing product into a successful one, all while focused on generating that return.
Bimodal in the Office
An office or task-based approach to bimodal can create a similar effect for any company. Most seek new ways to generate new business, to transform, or to improve their situation. The owners need to establish which parts are the day-to-day business, those which help keep the lights on. Then they need to figure out how the rest of the company can up the pace and learn the lessons, with plenty of previous examples to learn from.
If a company has been slow to adopt new projects, they can adopt a fresh impetus with tight budgets and short deadlines to encourage fast results and innovative developments. Asking team members how to do things faster or better is key to moving them out of the “business as usual” mindset.
To get the best from a bimodal process, a company can:
- Strip out much of the red tape
- Reduce meetings to a minimum
- Focus on the end goal and not the minute detail
- Test the product with a client or public alpha and beta modes for quick feedback
- Use IT, 3D printing, cloud, prototyping, online freelancers, outsourcing or other ideas to save time and costs
- Log when and where improvements happen so other projects can learn what works
While bimodal should create a challenge for teams and workers, it shouldn’t be confused with the startup trend of failing fast. Rushing products and teams to destruction is not part of the bimodal plan. Instead, it’s about improving processes, avoiding chaos, and experimenting to establish the best environment for the product, and the company, to work in.
Bimodal will help a business find out who its high-fliers are, especially those who can handle the more uncertain faster track. Of course, for some leaders, two speeds just aren’t enough; their businesses can have as many gears as a racing bike. This enables any team or project to run at the most appropriate speed. Success must be measured with steps and goals. But, whatever the task, be it sales, management or marketing, finding the right approach that is measurable and repeatable is more important to long-term success.
Using Bimodal for Personal Productivity
When it comes to our own personal productivity, the bimodal method can act a useful guide to doing things better. It can work alongside other methods in the growing list of productivity techniques. We all have regular tasks to perform, many spread around our day or week to avoid their repetitive, chore-like nature. Doing them in one bunch frees up your time for a more focused effort on what is new and exciting.
When you are in the fun part of the day, look at how to improve how tasks are done. Are your brainstorming meetings really still storming or have they become passive chats? Finding out how to reinvigorate staid processes is half the challenge. Tearing down old ideas and figuring out new ways to do things can benefit you, your life, and your ideas.
Similarly, time set aside for inspiration is easily stymied by being stuck in the same old routine. Going and finding a new scene or taking a walk can help refresh the soul and your ideas. Fresh energy can be used to help explore how other people are changing the pace of their lives. It doesn’t have a rocket thrust, but a gentle acceleration can help in many ways.
Bimodal itself is only an idea, one to grasp to help change and make things better. If it doesn’t work, and in some cases it won’t, going back to the old ways is not a sign of defeat. And while it is focused on IT, it applies to many areas of life and business. In any case, benefits of self, team and process improvement make bimodal worth investigating.