When IT Is Its Own Worst Enemy

Posted on Jan 9, 2019 7:20:00 AM

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Let’s pretend that you’re experiencing foot pain… 
Would you walk into your doctor’s office, hop on the table with that annoying paper and say “cut my foot off, doc!”? Probably not. You’d likely tell your doctor about the issues you’re having and the problem you’re trying to solve, then ask about his/her diagnosis and recommended next steps. You’d listen to the doctor’s advice then move forward from there. Makes sense, right?

For argument’s sake, let’s say you do ask him to cut off your foot. Would your doctor just pull out a saw and start chopping? Of course not. You would expect your doctor to push back, start asking questions about your symptoms and the potential origin of the issue. You’re in control, but both you and the doctor trust his/her expertise to determine the best solution. Believe it or not, this story perfectly relates to the way many key stakeholders treat IT projects. 

There’s another example that’s just as compelling.
If you were remodeling your house (or building a new one), you wouldn’t tell the contractor what materials to use and how to start the project. You’d tell him or her the goals you have for your house, how you wanted it to look/function, and let the construction team do their thing.

If you had questions about their process, you’d still trust their expertise. If you thought some of the materials were too expensive, you might ask the contractor to use something different. A good contractor will let you know where you can save money, but more importantly where you should invest for a solid solution that lasts.

These are perfect examples of where IT goes wrong.
Sometimes, leadership (figuratively) asks IT to cut off a foot. They state the specific solution, desired technologies, and budgetary restrictions. The worst part is that frequently, the IT department just goes along with it because they’re too busy or they don’t feel like they have a strong enough voice within the organization. Often, IT will simply take the orders handed down from above and execute on that (sometimes incomplete) vision.

The truth here is that everyone has room to improve in this scenario. Leadership shouldn't walk in the door with a preconceived notion of what specific technology solution your team needs to implement, and IT should have taken the conversation back a few steps to determine the desired outcomes. If IT and leadership can come together before deciding on a project, the vision and success criteria will be more realistic, and IT will be on its way to earning a seat at the decision-making table.

This is the heart of what we do.
At DGI, we believe that everyone should be in the boardroom together. Discussions should revolve around desired outcomes, success criteria, and the organization's overall objectives. This allows leadership, IT, and everyone involved to be on the same page from the start. Then (and only then) should the conversation turn to individual technologies and the ways they can contribute.

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