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Acting like Pacman. When IT and Business chase each other

Posted by Joerg G. Beyer
Acting like Pacman. When IT and Business chase each other
You probably still remember Pacman. It is this computer game where ghosts are chasing after a smiley. The smiley is trying to “eat” as many points as possible, while the ghost are running more or less coordinated after him. If the ghost catches the smiley, the smiley dies. The clue of the game is to move the smiley clever in order to avoid the ghosts and catch points at the same time. Bonus points change the situation: The smiley is becoming invulnerable and can now chase the ghosts.
We find some similarities if we look at everyday life in some IT organizations. The smiley represents the business and the points it is eating are the tasks the business has to fulfill. The ghosts represent IT managers. Most of the time IT managers are working on their own account and the business avoids contact with them as well.

IT is chasing the business

When the business has to fulfill its task, IT managers are getting in their way: “No, this is not possible!” “It will take at least 2 years.” “We have to know all requirements before we can start.” “We do not have enough resources, to meet all demands. Which ones can we cut out?” “If we do that we will lose something in the end.” No matter what the business asks for, it is chased in order to avoid new demands of the business. This only stops when IT suddenly has to react. This happens in Pacman when the smiley eats a Joker and is invincible. Now, business is taking advantage and chases the ghosts. Today’s Jokers are for example: consumerization of IT, cloud solutions in real-time, social media, BYOD.

The basic principle of Pacman is to chase each other. Whoever has the advantage is chasing the other side. The problem is: in reality IT and Business are on the same side. If they are focusing only on chasing each other or running away from each other, they will not fulfill emerging tasks. Acting like Pacman is hurting every company.

Long live Super Mario

Pacman is not going to survive the ongoing changes. Companies where IT and business are not working together will face serious problems. The future belongs to Mario and Luigi. They collaborate and try to achieve a common goal. We need more Marios and Luigis instead of Pacmans in IT and business.


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