Executive Field Guide: IT Governance

There are dozens of definitions for “IT governance” out there. They use words like efficiency, effectiveness, alignment, control, and strategy—which are all valid terms. But the fact is, IT has only so much capacity and can get only so much done. Organizations need a mechanism for agreeing to what is (and what is not) on IT’s plate. That mechanism is IT governance.

The purpose of IT governance is to optimize IT’s workload.

Like most things, the more effort you put into governance, the more you will get out of it. However, IT stakeholders usually have their own areas of responsibility and limited capacity.

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On the Hunt for Best Practices? Proceed with Caution

Organizations generally strive for optimization of internal processes and for the most efficient use of resources, since some methods are better than others. The most effective way to solve a specific problem is commonly referred to as a “best practice,” yet the term is often misused and misunderstood. Management consultants are often referred to as peddlers of best practices, applying a one-size-fits-all solution to any given problem.

Let’s clarify what best practices are and are not, and how to benefit from them.

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Executive Field Guide: The IT Strategy Map

As with most things in life, it is much easier to start with a template than with a blank piece of paper. A template serves as a set of ideas you can add to, change, or delete to produce a custom product.

IT strategy maps are no exception. What makes IT strategies different from one another is the magnitude of importance an organization places on various objectives. For some, cybersecurity may be the highest priority. Some emphasize productivity. Still others put digital transformation at the top of the list. Nonetheless, 80% of IT strategies that I have seen in my career are quite close to the model outlined below.

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IT mission - the road to the future

4 Pitfalls to Avoid When Defining IT’s Mission in the Digital Age

Agreeing on a mission statement is a healthy, worthwhile exercise for any organization or department. IT is no exception. The IT mission is a clear expression of the department’s self-perception and shared purpose.

As we forge ahead in the digital age, IT departments are starting to make up the majority of most organizations’ investment, operations, and risk. Thus, the term “IT is the business” has taken hold. Therefore, the further along your organization overall is on its digital journey, the more the IT mission should resemble the overall organization’s mission. In fact, taken to its logical extreme, the best practice would be to repeat the organization’s mission as IT’s mission.

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A Software Developer Makes a Great Executive Advisor

A Software Developer Makes a Great Executive Advisor

When executives don’t see the outcomes they expect from a technology, they often bring in external help to assess the situation and propose a get-well plan. We have all been a part of those meetings where someone says: Enough is enough! We keep discussing the same issues over and over, but the answer is not in this room. Let’s ask someone outside of this room for an independent opinion.

Often, it’s a management consultant who gets the call for help. But, for most IT issues, executives also need to talk to software developers for their advice and perspective.

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Every Business Is Becoming Digital. Are You Keeping Pace?

Author and professor Venkat Venkatraman recently spoke to the SIM Boston chapter about how IT leaders within established companies can recognize and respond to digital shifts.

The observations and advice that Venkatraman offers in his book The Digital Matrix: New Rules for Business Transformation Through Technology are practical and prophetic at the same time. He covers many valuable concepts including the digitization of business models (products, services, and processes), the future of digital (based on the trajectory of bandwidth, connectivity, and computational power), and how to create and capture value (through scale, scope, and speed).

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Improving Delivery Through Empowerment: 4 Steps to Empower an Agile Team

Your company is moving to Agile from waterfall, and you want to ensure a smooth transformation that keeps projects healthy. As a scrum master working to transform a traditional waterfall SDLC process into an Agile one, I have learned a few pointers when navigating this transformation. An important concept to keep in mind during this transformation is empowerment.

One of Agile’s core tenets is the value of “individuals and interactions” over “processes and tools”. The idea is to foster a high-velocity decision making process, which hinges on open and honest communication in a co-located environment. However, implementing this change can be very difficult for team members who have previously worked on waterfall projects. You may find employees reluctant to volunteer for work, or hesitant to take on new challenges. Why is this so?

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