New IT development models are bringing to the forefront how cultural differences can impact collaboration. Is your firm fully prepared to innovate in this new environment?

Today’s technology-driven business environment is changing at a rapid pace, impacting the enterprise IT department charter to deliver new software capabilities that can keep a firm ahead of the pack. Ongoing competitive pressures and a changing workforce are driving the demand for new IT development and delivery models that revolve around flexibility, speed and superior performance.

Out with the old, in with the new

In response to these forces, IT organizations are leaving behind old-style development models in which individuals work in local teams within their organization and line of business while maintaining separate design and development processes and efforts. Instead, as the liquid and global workforce becomes mainstream, new project-focused IT delivery models are emerging in which interdisciplinary and geographically distributed teams from different organizations work together on a project-by-project basis, disbanding and reforming to meet development needs.

While these new models hold promise in terms of agility and accelerated delivery time, they come with challenges in terms of areas of tension that result when people from different nations, organizations and functional teams find themselves working together. The cultural barriers that arise from these new delivery models can significantly inhibit collaborative innovation.

Understanding how to mitigate cultural barriers

Accenture and the University of Cologne recently partnered on a scientific study to understand this phenomenon and how to best mitigate these cultural barriers so that culturally diverse teams from separate organizations can collaborate successfully. The research was based on an analysis of two digital transformation projects, and focused on:

  • Identifying common cultural patterns
  • Evaluating how these patterns affect the relationship between various groups
  • Highlighting the critical success factors and/or management activities that can enhance cross-cultural collaboration

In this three-part series, I’m going to draw from what we learned from the research to explain how you can apply these learnings to drive more effective collaboration in your firm’s IT software development and delivery processes. In my next post, I’ll reveal the high-level results from the study and share some important insights with you.

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