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All Together Now

Written on July 11, 2011

The reigning days of segmenting a company are behind us. Oh sure, there will always be divisions and departments by necessity – especially in larger organizations. But the days where long term success can be found with your IT department cloistered away concerned only with the deadlines given to them are past us.

This was what came to my mind after reading a recent article from Bob Lewis of Advice Line (of InfoWorld). The article is titled, “Bad news for traditional techies: There are no IT projects.” But this is no downtrodden article about the job market (which is good as IT is one of the stronger industries in that realm), but a challenge to business executives and divided workplaces.

Bob sets his crosshairs firmly on that divided workplace symptom, and cuts to the core of the issue – when a business doesn’t function as a whole, its pieces can slip into the cycle of focusing only on their immediate interests. Specifically he looks to the business executive and the IT team, and how these two areas of the business can all too easily lose sight of the business’s goals.

The executive seeks reputation and recognition for being the bold leader, unafraid to make major changes and drive the company to success. The not-so-glamorous backside is this: bold changes carry heavy risk – for the company and the career of the executive. Thus it’s much easier when the “bold decisions” are less measurable and more…theoretical. A paradigm shift to enhanced synergy, perhaps.

So the executive has the development team create a new software. Only because the executive only has vague, unspecific goals, the development team receives haphazard requirements. And here’s the final pin – because your development team has been shut off from the rest of the company, their only interest is delivering software that meets the requirements they’re given. If it doesn’t end up providing tangible benefit for the company, then it’s the fault of poor specs.

See where this is headed? If a business functions together, if everyone has a vested interest in the well-being of the company, these inconsistencies can be identified and ironed out. Because otherwise, as Bob points out, we leave the business analysts to figure out what went wrong when everyone else seems to have accomplished what they sought.

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