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IT, IT Leadership

Are you working on the right things?


Is your IT Organisation wasting time and money on what seem like high priorities, but are not actually moving the business forward?

During my years as an IT Leader I have concluded that it is very easy for people to have the right intentions but end up doing the wrong things. This is especially true for IT projects (sorry Business projects with an IT component).

Joel Dobbs’ in his recent article asked some questions related to individual initiatives:

    • What? – What is the problem you are solving?
    • Who? – Who has the problem or is affected by it?
    • How? – How do the stakeholders (or customers) deal with the problem now?
    • Why? – Why is what you are proposing better than the status quo?

However, I think we need to take this to a higher level and ask:

    • How do you plan to resolve your customers biggest causes of pain?
    • How will you support the business strategies?
    • How do you plan to use technology to grow the business and increase profitability?

McKinsey recently published a very good article on the questions that boards should be asking about technology. They ask 9 strategic questions:

    1. How will IT change the basis of competition in our industry?
    2. What will it take to exceed our customers’ expectations in a digital world?
    3. Do our business plans reflect the full potential of technology to improve our performance?
    4. Is our portfolio of technology investments aligned with opportunities and threats?
    5. How will IT improve our operational and strategic agility?
    6. Do we have the capabilities required to deliver value from IT?
    7. Who is accountable for IT and how do we hold them to account?
    8. Are we comfortable with our level of IT risk?
    9. Are we making the most of our technology story?

I believe all of these questions should be asked by CIOs of their IT Leaders as a fundamental way to verify that the strategic IT plans and projects within a function or operating company are targeting the right goals.

What other questions do you believe should be asked?


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