Here’s a good little blurb from HBR, “A Better Project Model than the Waterfall” 

Several of the concepts we talk about in Reboot are included in here: hypothesis-driven thinking, agile development methodologies and a philosophical shift in how we apply technology to business objectives.

Instead of presenting their teams with lists of features to build in a sequence, organizations should present their teams with business problems to solve…. Then, instead of writing a set of rigid requirements, the team begins writing a series of hypotheses… Instead of biting off large sets of features, the team conceives, designs and builds “first drafts” of ideas that are deployed quickly. These “first drafts” are measured with the target metrics and if they show promise (i.e., the numbers are moving in the right direction) they are refined in the next iteration.

Good stuff.  This is how the “David” companies work and it is the reason why start-up environments succeed.

But can bigger, “Goliath” companies make this shift?  Business executives ask us what they can do to help transform their IT organizations.  Here’s one of the answers.  This is not an easy shift, for IT people or the other business people they work with.  It requires trust: trust that the technology experts working on the problem can solve it … and trust that the process will work better in the end, even though visibility in the short term is more limited.