I recently finished reading The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim. It's a fantastic book discussing the challenges and foresight needed to survive in today's corporate IT world. The story is told from the perspective of Bill, a fictional character working as IT manager at Parts Unlimited. This book discusses a lot of the issues faced by Corporate IT and then demonstrates ideas on how to solve them. One of the key items I want to highlight from this book is the discussion about the four kinds of work.
1. Business Projects
This is the easy one to identify. Business projects are often the main reasons corporations have an IT department. Simply put, business projects are projects that benefit the departments of the company.
2. Internal Project
These are projects that benefit the IT department. These include server and application monitoring projects. Security updates and patches are also classified under internal projects. The goal of internal projects is to help IT become a better department.
3. Changes & Updates
Work falls into this category when business projects need updates and changes. These are often scheduled work and involves a routine update of an existing process.
4. Unplanned Work
This is the worst category of work. Unplanned work ranges from server outages that has your entire team running around to application crashes bringing operations to a halt.
Partnership Pairs of Work
After reading the book, I started to realize that these four types of work are interrelated. Each on it's own is a necessary work category. However by design, they form complementary parts to one another.
1. Business Project + Changes & Updates
Combine the two most needed elements of a business side - it's projects and the updates needed to keep it running. These may very well be the reason why the business needs an IT department.
2. Internal Project + Unplanned Work
Unplanned work will happen, the trick is to spend some of your time allotted to Internal Projects focusing on potential areas that might become unplanned work in the future. This allows you to mark out areas that might cause issues in the future and reduce actual Unplanned work down the line.
What happens next?
Next month I write about how you take these 4 work types and their partners and use it for your work.