The pressure for speed and performance in today’s tough markets is relentless, a point readily appreciated by business executives and CIOs. New and old competitors enter and exit markets with a dizzying rate of speed and innovation. While business model innovation is a priority for most senior executives, barriers to change persist with legacy systems, which impede rather than promote time-to-value execution. IBM’s C-Suite surveys underscore this point. Senior executives have articulated the need for creative and collaborative leadership to break through on escalating complexities.

To deliver incremental improvements of standard practices in these markets would not suffice. What is needed is radical new thinking about traditional delivery models that moves from the hierarchical, closed, and resource-focused model to an open environment that embraces community, social recognition, transparency and outcomes.

At IBM, we were interested in employing social networking power internally to spur productivity in software delivery. We approached this topic with trepidation, however, recognizing the diversity of requirements across thousands of software engineers and projects. We needed tangible results, with credible and repeatable processes, that could scale from small enhancements to large multi-year programs. We also needed to validate the productivity gained from this transformation, so that it could be matured and promoted with our worldwide workforce.

Consequently, we launched a community model incorporating a suite of social capabilities for software development that touched platforms, practices and people. Within the context of our globally integrated enterprise, we created “small worlds” in which people could network rapidly within gated communities, reaching knowledgeable workers with experiences relevant to the problems at hand. As a result, our cycle time in project delivery was reduced and quality enhanced. We reduced costs significantly, while increasing the scope of work delivered.

To learn more about this endeavor and the study of its results, download the IBM Institute for Business Value executive report, “Small worlds: The social approach to software delivery.”

Download the complete IBM Institute for Business Value executive report

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