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Refining the process of delivering IT projects

Sue Linney
February 22, 2011

Changes to be considered

Projects with an IT component may need to be refined. It is my submission that the following changes would assist in making such projects easier, cheaper and faster.

Structure

Change the structure of how projects fit into the end-to-end management process. Move from two steps (strategy development by the mainstream business and delivery by the project) to three steps (innovation and  detailed design both by the business and then implementation by the project).

The first stage can be truly innovative. The second stage translates that into something that can be implemented far more easily in the third stage by the project. The business needs to own the second stage with IT as subject matter experts – this places the impacts and outcomes with the business, but enables the agile element to be retained. The output from the second stage would more closely align to the detail required by IT. This three-stage approach would make budget and scheduling easier to estimate and may change the time at which a project is initiated compared to current timing.

Resourcing

Fit for purpose, more flexible resourcing creating high performance teams is required to reflect the way people think and the outcomes they are expected to deliver throughout each of the three stages of the end-to-end process. The three-stage approach is designed to more closely align with different thinking styles.

Project process

Project management methodologies rightly concentrate on the management of a project. This is at least partly because they have to cover greatly divergent industries and I believe, for this reason, never purported to cover the process of projects.

Create a detailed process for the second and third stages, rather than relying purely on the methodology for managing the project. To the extent possible, have it parallel the mainstream business to facilitate engagement of the wider audience to enable substantive outcomes to be achieved from the engagement.

Decision making

Ensure the process and the responsibilities reflect strong governance principles and the required decision making at each stage (particularly the first and second stages). Avoid de facto decision making. This will be easier the more closely a project is aligned to the way the mainstream business is structured and how the business is engaged.

This evolution will not happen by itself. It needs the will from all of us involved in such projects to discuss the issues openly and constructively and exhibit a preparedness to experiment to find the right path.

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Sue Linney
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