Bob Lewis on IT Projects, Part 5

In the book, There’s No Such Thing as an IT Project: A Handbook for Intentional Business Change, Bob Lewis and co-author Dave Kaiser analyzed and discussed the new ways of thinking about IT and business management.

These are some of my takeaways from reading the book.

In the “Business-Change Governance” chapter, Bob and Dave discuss the importance of establishing a business-change governance practice and process.

To be effective, the change governance body should be composed of people who see themselves as leaders of the whole organization and not just representatives of one of its silos. In other words, the governance body members should see their mission to be promoting the “great good,” rather than simply defending their organization’s territories.

Investments in business change should benefit one of the “four goods.” These are the four business improvements that matter: increased revenue, decreased costs, better risk management, and improvements in accomplishing the organization’s mission.

The business-change governance body should be devoted to helping good ideas succeed. It is still important to screen out ideas that are not worthwhile, but that is a much more secondary goal.

Business-change governance reviews should have only two possible outcomes. Project proposals should be either scheduled or rejected. If a project is not important enough to be placed on the master schedule, it should be considered rejected.

The Do-It-Yourself business-change efforts via information technology (or Shadow IT) used to be preventable but not anymore. With the advent of cloud and SaaS, shadow IT is an indication that the organization needs a business-change governance process. If a shadow IT effort was needed for good business reasons, the governance body should facilitate those efforts. Effective governance can turn shadow IT into “illuminated IT,” thus greatly increasing the organization’s change bandwidth.

So, what can be done to address “Business-Change Governance” opportunities and challenges? Fortunately, Bob and Dave have some solid suggestions laid out at the end of Chapter Five. I highly recommend the book.