I never cease to be amazed at how some businesses run and how IT workers interact with others in an organization. A key focus for me is to standardize and develop process structure that flows throughout an organization, such that before any decision is made in any endeavor, the appropriate processes have been followed and appropriate items verified before any business decision is made. This means, to achieve credibility in decisions, we as IT people, CANNOT “sling out” items that we want reviewed, verified, and approved. What am I speaking to here? I’m speaking to the credibility of IT staff and IT organizations in a corporate setting. I’m speaking about professionalism in how IT staff approaches problems and problem solving. I’m speaking to the heart of any organization, and that is to provide the best, most credible, and certainly the most cost effective and efficient deliverables from IT to any department within a corporate setting. IT standards and IT management are critical.
Why is this a hot button for me? I’ve seen this too many times, where there is no planning, no organizational thought process in how projects are approached. In my experience, I’ve seen IT take the approach of sending stuff out to the end user, without any knowledge of what they were sending out and asking the user to accomplish something. When working on implementing software solutions, we work to manage the user’s expectations and more importantly, how we involve the user in a software rollout or a software evaluation. Neither is comfortable to the end user and generally not a knowledge area for them. IT must bring that expertise and assistance to the table when approaching such projects.
Yet, in this example, not once, but TWICE, the same IT person went out to the end user and asked them to start working with a software product or evaluate a software product, when that person, as an IT representative, had absolutely no knowledge of what he was asking, how the products worked, and no understanding how the users were to make use of these products. A video link was e-mailed to the user asking that person to evaluate the product. The IT worker, totally unrelated to the evaluation, saw fit to ask for feedback from the user. This IT person was asked whether he had seen the video before sending it out. Do you know what you sent out? The answer in both cases was NO. Are you kidding me? How could an IT person make such a request? Additionally, this person, in neither case, saw fit to communicate to his manager responsible for the projects that he had made such requests. This just tears away at the credibility of any IT organization.
As much as anything, it is an educational challenge within IT. In today’s world of “get it done and get it done now,” the perception is that there just isn’t time to follow processes and procedure in ensuring a successful project outcome. There isn’t understanding between the different knowledge areas of IT to respect the varying requirements and needs to ensure successful project outcomes. I tell people, IT is much like the medical field. If you have a heart-related issue, are you going to see the cardiologist or a podiatrist? Both are MD’s but only one is qualified to take on the heart-related challenge. The same is true in IT. There are many areas of expertise in IT yet the folks in IT are IT folks. Even within the IT organization, that disconnect is true and people outside a knowledge area may not understand what they are asking thus the resulting consequences are reduced the credibility of IT. Consistent processes to ensure the success of any project within the organization must be followed. The follow-up discussion to this will highlight some options supporting an improved organization and that reduce the risk of failure of projects within IT, regardless of the knowledge area.