Success is a fundamental concept, which encompasses all areas of human activity. In fact, it is considered the ultimate objective of such activities, but its exact definition for various industries has been the subject of active discussions. In its general understanding, success refers to the actual outcome of an endeavor, which corresponds to or exceeds the desired result.
Certain industries demonstrate a possibility of a precise definition of success. For example, in healthcare, success would be indicated by the positive clinical outcome, in which the patient is able to recover by the efforts of a medical team. Corporate organizations rely heavily on their financial benchmark, and success consists of the ability to reach the desired levels and can be expressed in a numerical form. However, in the Information Technology industry, this concept may not have an equally clear definition.
First of all, success in IT can be presented as a framework comprising three tiers: individual, team, and organizational. On the first level, a single developer is assigned a specific task, which is usually a part of a greater project. In this case, the individual success will consist of a person’s ability to complete this single task as per the supervisor’s instructions and expectations. This type of success is unlikely to have a strong impact on the entire company, but the overall performance of an organization is composed of such smaller achievements. Second, the team’s success reflects the ability of the development unit to accomplish its specialized objectives. Similar to the previous type, these achievements are related to the professional field of IT.
In other words, team success in IT is defined by the ability to complete the project. Finally, organizational success extends beyond professional terms and reflects the performance of an entire company with all its units and departments. Accordingly, this type of success refers to global objectives connected to the sustainable development of the whole organization.
Despite its rising importance, IT remains an element of a larger framework. While the types of success discussed above are interrelated to an extent, one kind does not necessarily condition another. Spoken differently, even if an individual can complete their part of the project, other members of the team may fail to perform accordingly. Furthermore, the successful completion of an IT department’s objectives does not necessarily ensure the positive development of the entire organization.
As suggested by Kristiansen and Ritala (2018), in the high-tech spheres of innovation, universal metrics do not exist, as it is impossible to evaluate all situations of the complex environment by one uniform scale. Nevertheless, the history of the field has seen reverse examples, in which lower tiers of success directly conditioned the upper ones. LinkedIn and Kevin Scott serve as an excellent point of reference in this regard, as the creative ability of one person inspired the team and saved the company from the least fortunate outcome.