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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IT Must Sacrifice Pride of Ownership for Innovation’s Sake

IT often has a complex from being considered a non-strategic business unit, or a necessary evil. In response, many IT professionals try to prove the cynics wrong. They think, “We’ll show them….”, and put a lot of pressure on themselves to come up with game-changing ideas. This overcompensating mindset within IT is counterproductive.

Every time I attend an IT conference I visit technology vendors’ booths. Vendors have gotten really elaborate with their sales techniques. Many offer ROI templates or business case building tools to help IT professionals demonstrate the value of purchasing one product or another. These vendors are enabling the exact behavior that is so self-detrimental.

Let’s admit it: ideas born in IT have little chance of securing participation from the business, let alone budget for developing a prototype. IT-generated innovations don’t get much support because they tend to be technology-based.

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CIOs: Never Ask for Money Again

How Do You Fund Your IT Investments?

First of all, if you are an IT manager or executive and have asked for money to fund a project, you are brave. Too many folks in IT are order-takers. So, hats off to those valiant IT leaders who create business cases for IT initiatives, and present justifications for investments.

However, there is an inherent issue with “asking for money.” It’s as uncomfortable for the asker as it is for the askee. It is almost like you are asking to borrow money with a promise to repay with interest if everything works out.

What’s worse, a pattern of asking for money widens the gap between the business and IT. It doesn’t need to be like this.

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VIDEO Cascading IT Governane

Cascading IT Governance

We believe the only way for an IT governance function to affect the execution of a strategy is to cascade the governance function. When middle management from IT and the business participate in governance, great things happen.

Watch this video to learn how we do it:

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[VIDEO] @mpapov http://ctt.ec/55T0U+

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IT Governance Must Evolve or Die

Bureaucratic, static IT governance models of the past no longer work in organizations where the IT function is to enable business innovation and customer engagement. For IT governance models to be effective in today’s evolving marketplace, they must be more closely linked with business governance.

What concrete benefits and tangible value are you receiving today from your IT governance processes?

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The 3 Levels of Alignment Required for Successful IT Project Teams

What are the root causes that lead some project teams to operate well, while others struggle? Underperforming project teams may result from a weak change management plan, lack of talent on the project team, or insufficient stakeholder support, among other factors.

In my view, all of these issues boil down to poor alignment.

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ROI vs. Outcomes: Prioritizing IT Projects for the Greater Good

How do you prioritize your IT project portfolio? If ROI is the driving force behind what gets funded and what doesn’t, you’re not alone.

When an organization views the IT department as a cost center, technology projects are typically justified based on ROI. These ROI calculations are made based on direct cost savings alone, not on the most effective use of time and resources.

“Cost savings” is a suboptimal reason for doing things.

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Is Your IT Architecture Designed to Strengthen Your Business Capabilities?

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Business Capabilities?” http://ctt.ec/f6iM6+

For years, consultants have been recommending tighter alignment between IT and business strategy. At a high level, it makes perfect sense. But when you begin to peel back the various layers of organizational complexity, aligning IT with the needs of the business becomes a more complicated exercise.

In order to optimize the alignment of IT and business strategy, organizations must understand the discrete business capabilities that the IT architecture is intended to enhance, and build accordingly. At the same time, the IT architecture needs to be able to adapt as the business changes.

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