How to Prioritize IT Initiatives Without Losing Friends: 5 Success Factors

A Black-and-White Prioritization Process: Quick and Uncomplicated

First, a common definition of success: IT initiative prioritization is a mechanism to calendarize and budgetize investments in IT, which is agreed upon by all stakeholders. This is a stretch goal for most organizations. In fact, some may argue that achieving a consensus among all stakeholders is not possible. But the only way to increase IT’s effectiveness is to drive consensus on how to use limited resources to achieve the most critical outcomes.

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IT Professionals Should Watch Their Language

When someone’s job description is “firefighter,” you know exactly how they can help you. If your house is on fire, they will put it out. We don’t call a firefighter a “long hose operator.” That may be technically accurate, but incomplete and unclear to those of us outside the fire station.

Naming conventions based on consumption make so much more sense than those based on operational or technical specs.

IT professionals want to be recognized for creating business value. Yet too often they are referred to as people who merely provide technology. It’s frustrating. To understand the disconnect, consider how IT professionals talk about themselves and their projects. Common IT titles include software development lead, SAP project manager, or something else referencing their specialty. A lot of project names I see include “cloud migration,” “system integration,” or “upgrade.” If you verbalize what you do through technology, you will be perceived as a technology-centered person.

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Becoming a Data-Driven Organization: A 5-Part Framework for Sustainable Data Quality

In a previous post, we’ve established that data needs to be clean in order for organizations to make sound decisions, gain a competitive advantage, and improve the bottom line.

But, before jumping to fix your data issues, it’s important to establish a framework that ensures the data will be usable in the long run—not only immediately after a big cleanse, which is often time consuming and expensive. This 5-part framework provides a comprehensive approach for addressing existing data quality issues, and prevent issues from arising in the future.

5-Part Framework for Sustainable Data Quality

Let’s explore each step in detail.

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Data Is to Business as Water Is to Life

It goes without saying that data is critical to make strategic decisions, to run operations, and to perform business functions.

  • Healthcare companies derive analytics from clinical and claims data to meet quality measures, improve care, and better manage high-cost and high-risk populations.
  • Manufacturing companies rely on performance data to improve efficiency, increase yields, and lower costs.
  • Retailers rely on data to predict trends, forecast demand, and optimize pricing.
  • Financial services organizations perform advanced data analytics to drive revenue and margins through operational efficiency, risk management, and improved customer intimacy.

All of these scenarios require vast amounts of data. Regardless of industry or company size, nearly every business is relying on gathering and leveraging data. Being a data-driven organization is an absolute necessity to gain a competitive advantage.

IT is uniquely positioned to have access to a comprehensive set of data which is stored on or passes through the company’s infrastructure. IT, therefore, carries a responsibility to provide end users access to this data, and to play a vital role in its effective use.

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PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member with a Personal Agenda

Part 4 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who see the project as a way to achieve a personal agenda. In one way or another, these team members have no interest in doing what is best for the team, but rather what is best for themselves.

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The 4 Most Important Skills for an IT Project Manager

The title of Project Manager (PM) assumes a specific set of skills. While PMs certainly qualify as leaders, and the best possess the same qualities that define a great leader, project management is not an abstract art.

PMI defines a framework that is universal enough to apply to any project execution, anywhere in the world, under any conditions, yet, with a very precise set of tools. Some innate talents cannot be taught, but for the purposes of project management, the most important skills can (and should) be learned—and they improve with experience.

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man losing it at his desk

PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member with Personal Issues

Part 3 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who have personal circumstances that are objectively more critical to them than work.

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The 5 Secret Jobs of an IT Project Manager

Did you think a Project Manager had just 1 job? There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than simply “managing a project.”

PMs are often overwhelmed, and always looking for spare time between meetings to get work done. They are pulled in a number of directions, and can easily be distracted from more important tasks. If they’re not careful, they get caught up in politics above them and drama below.

How can a PM stay focused on the most important activities that will best serve their project, organization, and career? By performing these 5 hidden functions:

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PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member Who is Coasting

Part 2 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members who require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output from folks who lost interest in work because they expect to exit soon.

Coasters Need TLC, Too

Some project team members know their days of working for the company are counted. Some are coasting towards retirement. Some know their jobs will likely go away when the project is complete. Typically, they just stop trying. Without emotional buy-in, these team members are often more harmful than they are helpful.

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