IT/Business Marriage Counseling

I agree with most of Susan Cramm‘s pieces, but she goes on a bit of a rant on the role of line managers in making IT’s life impossible (here).  While there is at least a grain of truth in her complaints, the IT “can’t do” attitude that infuriates line executives pervades the piece.

IT managers are tired of being treated like high priced waiters serving technology de jour on a moment’s notice.

Perhaps IT managers should stop acting like waiters and order takers for the business. It would be nice if IT wouldn’t “need to study” a request to deploy only somewhat new technology — e.g., Enterprise 2.0 — then come back and say “yes, but”.  Perhaps IT could anticipate what the business needed, for once?

Luke’s business “partners”… in their single-minded pursuit of customers, products and profit [emphasis mine],… simply forgot about IT.

If only IT knew what it’s like to have a single-minded pursuit of those pesky customers, products, and profit.  Not like that’s where their paychecks come from…

Alignment is meant to ensure that the right IT products and services are available to meet business needs with minimal angst for all involved [emphasis mine].

This definition/goal sounds good, but articulates a common IT mistake about defining alignment — avoiding conflict (“yes, but”).  Continue reading

IT Capability Checklist for non-IT leaders

I liked this checklist from Susan Cramm (article here, Word checklist here) because it’s targeted at managers who are rotating through IT.   Obviously, it is a critical rotation in industries where IT can be a differentiator.   But getting involved with — never mind leading — technology projects can be a bit daunting.

Leaders who have worked in these roles do so with a mixture of excitement and apprehension. On the positive side, the prospect of charting new territories is incredibly stimulating. On the negative, it’s also frustrating – navigating IT can be like traveling in a foreign country without an interpreter or a guidebook.

The aura of the dawn of the computer age persists in the software business.  Many IT professionals insist that what they do is beyond the ken of normal humans.  Not so… IT is amenable to rational analysis [unlike my blog].  Cramm says it perfectly here:

It doesn’t have to feel this way. IT is just like any other business function – challenged with developing and delivering products and services to demanding “customers” in the context of constrained resources and changing competitive, organizational and technological landscapes.

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