Category IT-related

The Open IT Project

Open IT

Original graphic © Can Stock Photo / KevDraws

“How to do IT in the 21st Century”

© Copyright Two Hills Ltd 2023, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License


This page is the home of our 2023 project to bring Teal Unicorn’s successful Open concepts to the Information Technology context. We call it Open IT: learn more about Open IT, and about Rob the author, here.

At Teal Unicorn, we have used our version of Open Work and Open Management to make work better for many organisations, large and small: better results, better lives, better society.  The numbers are spectacular. We wrote 5-star books. We got on TV. Clients make videos about us. People laugh and cry. We all have a good time. We’ve made lifelong friends. This stuff works.


The purpose of this project is to bring those ideas to make a difference within IT organisations. IT is the epicentre of much of Open: it has been the thought leader in better ways of working for decades now, leading the way with XP, Scrum, Agile, DevOps, Resilience Engineering, Remote Working, and more. Teal Unicorn has done so well with Open in business. Now we want to bring our formulation of the same ideas back to IT – it is the least we can do.


Come on a one year journey with us.
Approximately once a week, there will be Linkedin posts interspersed with webinars. We will try to supplement the posts with videos. We encourage discussion and contribution, to evolve the syllabus even as we work through it, with an aim of an open body of knowledge by year end that all can benefit from. (We wont use your identity for anything or supply it to anyone. We won’t use your email except to send you the newsletters. We have no trackers on our website, nothing. We care about you less than you think 😀. What’s in it for Teal Unicorn is a community discussing the content to prepare us for writing a book in 2024.)

To be part of it, all you have to do is join the mailing list (select “Open IT” option)  to get each weekly post, invitations to webinars, extra reading, and a summary of the key points from previous week’s discussions.  No charge. (You will need to sign up for our monthly Teal Unicorn newsletter too.  You can unsubscribe from it anytime, but hey! check it out, it’s pretty good.)

If you are already subscribed to our other emails, any email from us has a place at the bottom to manage your subscription, you just add the “Open IT” newsletter and you’re all signed up.

That’s it. That’s all you have to do.  Get the newsletter, follow along, engage as much as you want to discuss and develop the ideas, or just sit back and learn.

The project lives on this page for 2023; the body of knowledge lives at Open IT permanently.



Here are more details of the course:


Open IT can only be understood in the context of Open Work and Open Management:

Open Work

  • Human
    • Respect and trust
    • Transparency
    • Skills not roles
    • Victims of the system 
  • Systems 
    • Continuous
      • Slack
    • Above the line understanding 
    • Networks, promise theory
    • Complexity, Cynefin
  • Adaptability
    • Agility
    • Resilience 
    • Antifragile

Open Management

  • Inviting
    • Collaboration
    • Authority
    • Servant manager and Humanocracy
    • Transformational leadership, principles, values, matariki
  • Organising
    • Directing systems
    • Coordinating effort
  • Serving
    • Nurturing
    • Provisioning
    • Unburdening

Open IT

  • Adaptability
    • Continuous improvement, learning, feedback
    • Agile
      • Iterate increment experiment explore
    • Scale
      • Architecture
      • Dependencies
      • Multispeed IT
      • Sociocracy
    • Resilience Engineering 
      • Scenario planning
      • Chaos engineering
      • Automation of IaC
    • Product over project
    • Planning in a VUCA world
  • Empowerment
    • Meritocracy 
    • Guilds
    • Shift left
    • Dev own Prod
    • Shu-Ha-Ri
    • Scrum
    • Transparency
  • Continuous flow
    • Headroom, demand
    • Sustainability
      • Slow IT, boring, 
      • Burnout
      • Systems and cultural debt
    • Standing teams
    • Lean and ToC
    • Let value flow
    • Kanban
    • DevOps CD
      • C Testing
      • C Integration
      • C Deploy
      • C monitoring 

Teal Unicorns: the future vision

  • How to advance
  • Teal
    • Truth beauty and goodness
    • Liberation
    • Holistic
      • Stakeholder value
      • Lift the world, don’t beat it
    • Emergent
  • Unicorn
    • Optimised for VUCA
    • The best of everyone
    • Surviving and Thriving


We will kick off a series of posts, interspersed with webinars, in April 2023, if we get the numbers – so tell your colleagues!

This will evolve as we go. New topics will come up. Some will collapse into one. 

  • Block 1: Open

  1. Webinar: Introduction to Open IT
  2. How we got here. The evolution of Open, Teal Unicorn’s own journey, and our great results as confirmation this stuff works
  3. Be kind. the restoration of humanity to work. Humanocracy. Trust and respect. 
  4. It’s a VUCA world.  Why the world is more VUCA, and how to survive and thrive.
  5. Ask nicely. Empowering and motivating knowledge workers
  6. Flipping the hierarchy. Distributing authority, liberating work, invitational management
  7. Gardeners not commanders. moving to servant management and transformational leadership
  8. Dancing with the system. Complex systems and how to deal with them.
  9. We don’t know until we do. Experiment, exploration, iteration, unintended consequences, J-curve, the folly of prediction and probability 
  10. Spilled coffee. Failure is normal, same as success. Embrace and learn. Blast radius, increment 
  11. Webinar: Open Work and Open Management

    Block 2: Adaptive IT

  12. The Adaptive IT system. Improvement, Learning,  Agile.
  13. Managing Big Horses. Adaptability at scale in legacy organisations.
  14. Black swans and chaos monkeys. Resilience.
  15. A project is a wave. Product over project.
  16. S&T Happens. Planning in a VUCA world.
  17. Webinar: Adaptive IT

    Block 3: Empowered IT

  18. Nobility and pride at work. Craftsmanship, guilds, meritocracy.
  19. The eighth waste of Lean IT. Unfulfilled potential. Skills not roles. Flow to the work. Grow strengths. Shu-Ha-Ri.
  20. Networks of power. Authority, influence, and value networks
  21. Dead Cat Syndrome. Shift left. Dev own Prod. Standing teams. Bring the work to the team
  22. Autonomous teams. Self organising. Self regulating. Self certifying. Scrum. Pull work.
  23. Webinar: Empowered IT

    Block 4: Continuous IT

  24. Max Headroom. Slack, utilisation, demand management.
  25. Doing it forever. Sustainability of work. Burnout. Maker schedule. Systems and culture debts. 
  26. Value Streams, Chains, and Networks.
  27. Get out of the way. Governance, controls, reporting.
  28. Working naked. Visualisation, transparency, inspection.
  29. Continuous delivery. Scrum, DevOps.
  30. Webinar: Continuous IT

    Block 5: Open IT

  31. You can’t get there from here. How to advance towards better ways
  32. Resources from TU. The Unicorn Management Model, supplier engagement, Tipu practices.
  33. Renaissance and enlightenment. What Teal looks like
  34. Indistinguishable from magic. What a Unicorn look like
  35. Webinar: Open IT


So sign up now for the course, delivered to you via weekly newsletter starting in April 2023.  All you have to do is subscribe, no charge.

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