Tag Archives: it success factors

Watch my videos from the IT Leader GROWTH SUMMIT

Recently, I participated in the IT Leader GROWTH SUMMIT 2018, an all online event targeted to helping IT managers improve their success. The reason I participated was because it reinforces my company mission: “helping IT managers of the world achieve more success”.

There were over 50 speakers from many parts of the world during the 1-week agenda so it was truly an international event. Lots of fun plus I learned some things.

My participation was twofold.

First was an interview we recorded on the topic, “Attack the Triple Threat to IT Success to Achieve More”. It includes a short training segment followed by a candid interview with me about aspects of the Triple Threat that exists in companies around the world.

The second part was to lead a group discussion on the topic, “Let’s Chat About the Modern IT Organization”.

Discussions in this session include:
– What do you focus on initially in a new CIO role?
– How do you position IT more strategically?
– How can IT break out of the purely technical narrative?
– What is the role of the IT Leader in strategic business discussions?
– Who are the people in the C-Suite that the IT Leader should partner with?
– Is communication that important? And if yes, what type of communication?

Educate senior managers about “IT leverage”

supply and demandIT managers face many challenges – nothing new, is it? Here are some problematic realities that studies and surveys reveal every year:

  • High percentage of IT project failure
  • Half or more IT organizations are out of sync with company needs
  • IT managers fail to communicate effectively
  • IT organizations are often viewed as reactive, unresponsive and unreliable

Not a pretty picture if your IT organization fits into one or more of these scenarios.

A big problem is that quite often these issues exist with your IT organization, but you aren’t aware of it, , , or maybe don’t truly understand the dynamics of it. I see this all the time.

But, , , there is good news!!!

IT organizations offer their companies leverage, , , tremendous leverage. In fact, your IT organization right now offers your company more leverage than any department in your company, , , significantly more.

The IT organization is the only department in a company that can positively impact every department in the company.

This is HUGE !!!

That’s right, your IT organization can help reduce the expenses in every department of your company, , , or improve the productivity of the people in every department with implementations of technology.

No other department in a company has this kind of leverage.

Astute CEO’s will actually spend more money in their IT organization when they understand the leverage opportunities an effective IT team can produce.

Let’s say this again, , , “will spend more money in their IT organization”.

The only reason a CEO would do this is because he knows he will get a positive return on investment (ROI) when doing so.

It’s important that IT managers understand the leverage value they offer their company. What’s equally important is they they help their senior managers realize this. After all, if a CEO does not know IT has the leverage, he won’t spend more in IT – right?

So what should you do?

Here is what I recommend:

  1. Begin to understand the leverage opportunities an IT organization offers yourself
  2. Recommend IT initiatives that will deliver quantifiable business value benefits. See my articles on “business value”for additional insight:
    1. Business value is key
    2. Business value is the key to IT manager job security
    3. IT Strategy: align your IT vision for business value
  3. Build a positive track record in delivering projects successfully and track the results
  4. Maintain a Project Initiatives Portfolio to quantify and communicate your project success rate and benefits derived
  5. Educate your senior managers so they are aware:
    1. Explain the leverage potential IT offers
    2. Communicate your track record of IT success
    3. Quantify the benefits the company has received from IT efforts

Three things are required before a solid CEO will even think about investing more in IT:

  1. Awareness of the leverage potential an effective IT organization offers
  2. A track record of recommending projects that provide business value
  3. A track record of delivering the goods when projects are approved

What this says is that the CEO must be aware of the leverage potential and also be confident that spending more in IT will give his company positive benefits worth such an investment.

Educating your clients is critical for your success. Don’t assume your CEO or other senior managers already know about the leverage potential you offer them. The unfortunate reality is, , , there is a good chance they aren’t aware.

Project success is path to IT credibility – Step 3

project successThe path to IT credibility is by delivering projects successfully, , , and more.

In Step-1 we discussed the most obvious – building an appropriate project schedule and managing your projects so you deliver them on time, within budget and meet your client’s expectations.

In Step-2 we discussed the need to communicate the status and key issues of active projects, , , in other words, what’s going on in your IT organization.

Effective communication is just as important, if not more so, than actually completing a project successfully.

Step-3 is also about communicating effectively, , , and this one may be the most important of all.

IT organizations need to make others aware of the value they contribute to a company. If you don’t, I can assure you people in your company won’t have a clue about what you are getting done for them and the contributions your team is making.

It’s even worse than that. If you don’t continue to communicate your value and keep this in front of your client, , , they soon forget. You see, clients have very short memory when it comes to the IT organization, , , unless it’s something bad that has happened.

Most do not remember what you did for them last week or last month, , , and if you haven’t been telling them they won’t even know how much you are doing to help your company succeed at all.

I’ve heard IT managers say quite often things like, “My clients know what we are doing, , , how could they not know? Surely, they can see how hard we are working.”

Let me make something very clear, , , most of your clients aren’t paying attention to IT and how hard you work. They are focused on trying to meet their objectives and to take care of their own issues.

Now, it’s not necessary that everyone in the company know what IT is doing and what you are accomplishing. The people who do need to know are senior managers and department managers, , , these people are your key client groups.

Value, , , value, , , value. Most senior executives have a very difficult time determining what the IT value is for the company. They know we spend lots of money on IT support and technology but it’s difficult for them to quantify the value. In most cases, they simply do not know.

If they can’t place a value on their IT investment, , , even if it’s as vague as Good, Average, or Poor, , , it puts you and your organization in a difficult position.

Let’s get to the point. Your key clients, especially senior managers, need something that can help them place value in what your IT organization is accomplishing, , , and you certainly want them to view IT as a GOOD INVESTMENT .

Your clients need to know two key things:
– How successful you are in completing projects on time and within budget
– The benefits (value) your company receives from the projects you deliver

Are you aware that some studies suggest there is as much as a 70% failure rate in IT projects? That’s right, the studies point out that 70% or more of IT projects fail to be completed on time, are over budget, or do not meet the client’s needs.

Well, let’s say that this is grossly over exaggerated. Even if it’s only half of that, say 35%, , , this is still a huge problem. Project failure costs companies billions of dollars in lost capital and productivity every year. It’s recognized worldwide as a big problem.

What you want to be able to show is a positive track record of delivering projects successfully that contributes tangible value to your company.

You want everyone to see that while the world experiences as little as a 30% success rate in IT projects, your team has an 85-90% success rate or higher.

While other IT organizations struggle about how to show value, you want a report that shows the benefits and value derived from every project you do for the company.

I like to use an IT Initiatives Portfolio to do this.

I’ve written about this tool before. It is possibly the one tool that has helped me in my career the most. The reason – it shows in clear terms how good my IT organization performs in regards to delivering projects successfully and the value we are contributing in a very simple report.

Here it is:

IT Initiatives Portfolio

There are six key parts, , , this report tells you a lot:

1.  Success in completing projects on time

2.  Success in completing projects within budget

3.  Benefit results. In this report I have columns for expected results and achieved results for both 6-month and 12-month intervals. You won’t use these columns for every project but it is certainly helpful to list some type of business value benefit for every project you work on, , , this is the value contribution your team is making.

4.  Success in meeting client needs

5.  Overall success rate of each project – on time, within budget, achieving expected results, and meeting client needs.

6.  Ongoing run rates of completing projects on time, within budget, and meeting client needs plus overall project success rate. This is your track record and you want people to know how good your team performs in completing projects successfully.

Let’s take a closer look at this report, , , click on the image for a larger view:

it initiatives portfolio_results

In this example I’ve rolled it up so you can see the results of three projects. The nice thing about Excel is that you can summarize all the projects to calculate overall performance indicators at the bottom as I’ve done here.

In the example it shows we have achieved the following performance track record:
– On time percentage – 66.6%
– Within budget – 100%
– 6-month actual benefits of $21,500 which is $500 better then expected
– 12-month actual benefits of $63,500 which is $5,500 better than expected
– Meets User Needs percentage of 100%
– Overall project success of 66.6%

It helps to prepare an annual report that lists every project the IT team completed during the year and keep copies for every year to show progress and to analyze to determine how you get better. You will find this information becomes valuable to have handy at times.

Something else to consider. When people know you are tracking performance and you are serious about it, , , two things happen:
1.  Your IT team focuses harder to complete projects successfully.
2.  Senior managers view you more as a business manager than a technical manager.

Both of these are important for your credibility.

Summary
Project success is the path to IT credibility, something you must establish if you are to attain any level of IT success. To get there you need to do more than just complete projects successfully, , , you must also communicate the status of active projects and make others aware of the track record and results your team achieves in delivering projects successfully.

The tools and insight provided in this 4-part series will help you do all of this.

it project management ebookMore details of the entire project management process and customizable tools I use are available in my book, IT Project Management: a practical approach