A Practical Approach for IT Governance

Posts Tagged ‘IT Risk Management

A Simple Tool that Yields Big Benefits

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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