IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Will Save It

It’s one thing to change the IT stack and workflow at a company with a few dozen employees. But how does a CIO for a firm with 380,000 employees drive a full-scale revamp of its development processes?

Answer: Very carefully.

A new Wall Street Journal article details how IBM CIO Jeff Smith is trying to make Big Blue, which is going through some turbulent times as it attempts to transition from a hardware-dependent business to one that more fully embraces the cloud and services, operate more like a startup instead of a century-old colossus. His solution centers on having developers work in smaller teams, each of which embraces Agile methodology.

In order to unite employees who might be geographically dispersed, IBM also has its groups leave open a Skype channel throughout the workday. There’s an emphasis on speed and accountability, with teams tackling small problems that might take a couple of days to solve, rather than getting bogged down with massive projects.

Smith hopes, of course, that his plan will accelerate IBM’s internal development, and make it more competitive against not only its tech-giant competition, but also the host of startups working in common fields such as artificial intelligence. If he accomplishes his goal, his revamp could become a model for other large tech firms that want to become a little more agile.

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Image: Tomasz Bidermann/

One Response to “IBM CIO Thinks Agile Development Will Save It”

  1. James Beatty

    I personally HOPE HE drives it and the rest of the scummy crooked B@SR@RDS in the ground for selling out a generation scientists. I say we elect a independant majority in congress and we raise taxes and use the clawback law so companies like google apple microcrap and the rest fork over what they’ve hidden and stolen from the people of this country. Then I suggest we send them all over to communist china. Hey google how did that work for you last time you were there? NO MORE BENEFITS in this country.