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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Shining a Light on Shadow IT

Too often, Shadow IT systems—those not authorized by IT—are used by the business to perform work. Here are a few common examples:

  • A cloud storage system (such as SharePoint) may be authorized and managed by IT, but employees may use external cloud applications (such as Dropbox or Google Drive) when working with external vendors.
  • A collaboration tool (such as Slack or Basecamp) may contain important information and documentation that are effectively invisible to the IT portfolio.
  • Vast spreadsheets may exist across disparate programs, requiring manual reconciliation and long email chains for even the most minor changes.

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The Case For Customizing Software

The Case for Customizing Software

There is ample evidence that, in general, “software customizations are bad.” (So much so you might have nightmares where software customizations are vampires, haunting you, refusing to die in peace.)

But consider the other side of the coin: the risk of an organization going along with canned software functionality. This can downgrade an organization’s business practices to “average,” causing them to lose out on opportunities to improve performance.

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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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IT Portfolio Management and the Squeaky Wheel Effect

We’ve all seen it: “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

This idiom has become synonymous with the idea that, in any organization, the person who complains, bellows, shouts, and stomps their feet the loudest will be first to get attention.

Squeaky-wheel types aren’t necessarily negative or harmful. Some Squeaky Wheels are simply annoying. Some have valid ideas that deserve the attention they seek.

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