energizing breakthrough performance

Matrix Management at the Right Time – Structural Logic for the Information Technology Industry

By Ronald A. Gunn, Strategic Futures principal

A New Era of Rejuvenation Has Dawned

It’s morning in the IT world. More change looms ahead but the megatrend Y2K and dot.com-to-dot.bomb shakedowns and shakeouts have receded into yesterday’s night.

Gone is the time when the lack of a strategic or operational business plan was “no problem.” Gone is the time when easy access to Other People’s Money fueled adrenal frenzy. Gone is the celebration of “thriving chaos” Tom Peters presumably had in mind when he authored a book with a similar name.

Also in retreat is the “cult of personality” period in IT where the charismatic guru was surrounded by a gaggle of sharp-elbowed techies who had maneuvered into a coveted concentric position around the guru, e.g., first circle, second circle, etc. The “charismatic” era is giving way to the “rational” era.

The value of business planning and developing a coherent business logic is becoming more widely appreciated in the industry. There are significant leaps forward in developing and implementing structural logic that holds together with a palpable center of gravity.

Absent the center of gravity, an IT firm degrades into a mere bundle of projects where relationships among the projects and the personnel are largely accidental. Without synergy, how can there be growth? Without synergy, how can their be motivation and morale? The structural logic of this elementary business form is more akin to a Persian rug market than it is to an ongoing, thriving enterprise with a crunchy mission and long-range direction. Most of these yesteryear firms have already joined the dearly departed. The projects that would have gone to these companies have left the US; these projects are shipped offshore for advantages of lower levels of compensation and arguably higher levels of motivation.

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