Why is the new CIO revisiting all projects?

“We have a new CIO and he wants new cost justification for all existing projects. What is this all about?”

I’ve been that new CIO before and I’ve done exactly the same thing  –  asked for the cost justification and benefits of all existing projects as well as planned projects. The reasoning is pretty simple:

  1. Is there cost justification?
  2. What is the business value we will get from the project?
  3. Does the project fit within the company’s business needs and issues?
  4. Does the project have the appropriate priority?
  5. Does the project have a business sponsor?

I’ve seen IT organizations work very hard and spend thousands of dollars on projects that provide no value to the company. It’s not that uncommon actually because a real problem exists when “technicians” develop IT strategies without doing their homework and gain agreement to insure their initiatives are in sync with company needs.

Your new CIO’s main obligation is to the company that hired him. His first priority has to be to assess the company’s needs and to inspect every project that spends money or uses technology resources to determine if the IT organization is working on the “right” priorities.

Many studies suggest that over 50% of all IT organizations are out of sync with their company needs. If that’s the case, there is a very good chance the previous CIO was focusing on some inappropriate things.

Jump in and help him size it up quickly. It’s not a personal issue so don’t be too attached to your project even if you are almost done. For example, if you are working on a systems conversion for a subsidiary of the company and the parent company intends to sell that subsidiary, you are wasting time and valuable resources. Even if you are 60% complete, it may be the best solution to cancel the project for the company’s best interest.

Help your CIO refocus the IT organization so it provides the most value possible to your business client. Everyone wins when you do, and all lose when you don’t.

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