FYSK #5: Dual Operating System Simplified

Rameez Kakodker
4 min readAug 6


Frameworks You Should Know is a series that explores various product management related frameworks. Instead of just telling you the framework (which a Google search can tell you), I’ll be focusing on what makes the framework great and where you should use it.

At the end of the day, your choice of framework to use should depend on your organization and the culture they want to foster. YMMV.

What is the Dual Operating System Framework?

Dual Operating System Simplified — Explained

This framework, introduced by Dr. John Kotter in his work XLR8, shines a spotlight on the challenges modern enterprises face when it comes to adapting to sudden disruptions. Many organizations stumble in their efforts to proactively embrace change. A fundamental issue lies in the traditional hierarchical organizational structure, which is designed to ensure predictability and reliability, but often lacks the agility needed for rapid adaptation.

Note: attempting to apply the concepts of this framework directly to another context that’s not open to change is akin to committing a cardinal sin. To truly achieve agility and sustained growth, an organization must cultivate a culture that embraces trust, acknowledges the potential for failure, and encourages ongoing experimentation. There’s no easy route or artificial framework that can substitute for the hard work required to foster genuine transformation.

The crux of this framework can be encapsulated in a quote from the visionary Steve Jobs:

The Marines are the ones who capture the beach. The Army is the one that captures the land. And the police are the ones who govern the land.”

In this approach, two systems cooperate: one upholds predictability (like the police), while the other disrupts to create new value (like marines). They work independently, with distinct goals and measures, just as the army and police operate differently.

Applying the Framework

For success with this framework, a few factors are crucial:

  1. Change Management: When updating the old system, prioritize effective change management, adapting the organization to the…



Rameez Kakodker

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