A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Posts Tagged ‘IT Organizational Change Management

Using the Technology Capability Framework as a Guide

leave a comment »

A useful context for understanding the overall IT governance requirement for medium to large IT organizations can be found in the following Technology Capability Framework.

The framework helps enterprises better understand the objectives of IT governance and the associated IT leadership orientation and capabilities for 3 major maturity levels of governance in an orderly progression. Once this framework is understood, IT Leadership can conscientiously plan and take actions that build an IT governance capability that provides ever-increasing value to the business.

The Service Management maturity level is focused on efficiency in handling a variety of user requests including help with user technical problems, requests for new capabilities and services such as setting up a new employee with the required hardware and application services or in managing IT incidents and delivering solutions to restore services. Service Management can also help with application deployments as well as tracking and managing the configuration of deployed resources and assets. Emphasis is on quickly resolving requests with solutions that work the first time and controlling the impact to achieve a known condition. Reporting against SLAs for problem response is provided along with a variety of user defined dash boards reporting on active requests by priority, tickets created by category. Also trend reporting, response time/trends and days to resolve by priority are a few of the views that are useful. User satisfaction input at the completion of a problem resolution is helpful along with periodic user satisfaction surveys for both the direct users and their management. A good service management process framework is based on ITIL best practices and reduced process variation is a key objective.

IT leadership orientation for this level of IT governance is focused on developing processes in conjunction with business users for such processes as on boarding new employees, acquiring hardware and software for employees and standing up infrastructure for new locations. IT leadership must develop relationships and interact with the business unit management to understand its needs. In addition IT leadership focuses on standards, processes and training for technical IT resources to ensure an efficient service management operation that meets the enterprise needs.

The Project Management maturity level is focused on justifying, planning and executing major project and IT technology initiatives that involve significant costs and resources and inherent risks. Capabilities for this level include easy to use standardized project plan construction, understanding and visualizing resource and infrastructure constraints to achieve on time results. In addition the governance application must help users understand and visualize resources and estimated costs at completion and measure the changing direction of risks. It is also important to highlight problems and constraints for timely resolution so it is clear to the user what action is required to address the issue.

End users and management users of the project management governance application must be able to see and understand projects with related dependencies. The application should help users understand and visualize total portfolio resources and costs and understand and visualize categories and enterprise impact as well as aid in project/initiative prioritization and rejection or postponement. The governance application should allow for a classification of the project and enable a clear linkage back to the core business requirement(s).

IT leadership orientation for this level of IT governance is focused on working with business management and building relationships. IT leadership interacts with the business unit management to understand their needs and define approval and review processes, ensuring the appropriate business unit participation in the project/initiative and fostering PM skills training and best practice disciplines through well understood PMO structures. IT Leadership works with business management to determine user discretionary spending limits and other thresholds and incorporates these into the application work flow and user authorities. Connectivity to mobile devices is also required for users of the project management governance application.

The Resource Management maturity level is focused on enabling the longer term business blueprint and enabling major impacts that can transform the organization. Deep and powerful analytics are central to achieving this goal. At this level, IT management works with the prioritized project portfolio to determine budget needs for the current operating budget and capital needs over the planning horizon. The resource management governance application helps the IT leadership understand and visualize the flow down of business requirements into IT requirements. Project lists and dashboards help both IT leadership and business management understand and visualize the total enterprise portfolio associated cost and resource requirements. Summarized views of resource requirements help ensure adequate management of the resource demands by resource type and help avoid project/initiative slowdowns due to resource shortages. Dashboards are based on business intelligence and use data analytics to help assess how well IT is performing. This includes assessing ROI of IT investments, managing a portfolio of projects, conducting IT assessments, and maintaining an IT Balanced Scorecard as a benchmark of the value created by technology investments.

In this maturity level of governance, IT Leadership has a “Seat at the Executive Table” and participates in business planning and strategy. The capability of dashboards and the analytical capability to understand data and causal relationships promote new and powerful understanding of the business dynamics. IT Leadership takes the lead in this type of information discovery and presentation for the benefit of the executive team. IT Leadership becomes a trusted member of the executive team to provide fact based analysis that can be trusted for critical decision-making.


Written by Jeff Crowell

June 8, 2012 at 9:39 am

A Simple Tool that Yields Big Benefits

leave a comment »

Given enough time in IT management you are bound to face programs and major projects that are full of surprises and never achieve their intended results. In fact not all IT Programs are created equal. Some are as much focused on changing the business processes as they are in implementing technology. Some programs may present a significant threat to business users in the form of new work flows or even the elimination of their jobs. These programs have a very significant organizational change dimension and may even require some changes in the core culture of the company. Other technology upgrade projects may be almost invisible to the end users and require very little change in the way users go about their daily activities. Since IT programs and projects have such a wide spectrum of impacts, it is useful to be able to characterize and size the programs in a way that brings about the best governance approach.

For major programs that are large in scale (consist of multiple projects) and affect many different areas of an enterprise and as such present some fairly significant risk, the “Business Diamond” framework is a useful tool in assessing some of the very important aspects of the program. At a minimum this framework forces a program planner(s) to at least think about all of the possible scope and impact dimensions that characterize and define the program and begin to think about an appropriate governance structure to aid in a program’s success. This Business Diamond framework helps ensure a complete look at the project from an impact point of view. Professional service providers can use this framework as a guide for program assessments with their clients and internal IT organizations can use this framework to assess the size and impact of candidate projects. As a program progresses through the governance process, the downstream more detailed project planning including tasks, assigned resources and estimates can be organized around the dimensions of this framework.

Busines Diamond Tool

The Business Diamond Tool is useful in several areas including the initial characterization context for the program during a readiness assessment activity. It helps determine resources, key issues and approach to the organization and helps ensure a more complete view of the program’s impact. It is useful in early end-user and other stakeholder discussions to sound out key issues as well as discussing past initiatives and their overall success and it helps the executive stakeholders better understand the Critical Success Factors (CSFs) and challenges. In addition the framework can be used to draw out the organization’s innate strengths and weaknesses in attempting the program. It also can be refined and decomposed into Enterprise architectural documentation as the project progresses. Finally the framework can be used as an easy context to map activities and deliverables and in a summary form for the “As Is” to the “To Be” transformation views and is a useful adjunct to full featured IT governance solutions as provided by uGovernIT.

The Business Diamond Tool is useful in guiding the early activities necessary to answer some very key questions which are very useful in understanding the program:

• How large is the program

• What are the dimensions of scope that need to be considered

• How large and complex are these dimensions

• What are the probable impacts on the business

• How is the program linked to the business strategy

• What are the expected ROM costs and timelines

• What are the primary risk factors

• How critical is formal organizational change management to the success

While not a substitute for detailed program planning, a discussion of the program with various stakeholders around the 5 dimensions of the Business Diamond framework will provide some real insight and help lay out an effective governance approach during the balance of the planning and implementation stages.

Written by Jeff Crowell

January 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm