5 Steps to Fix the Noise of the IT Business Alignment conundrum

5 Steps to Fix the Noise of the IT Business Alignment conundrum

Having spent a lifetime on both sides of this fence it comes no surprise that my conclusion is one of failed communications, and nothing more.

How often do I hear a CEO remark ‘the CIO is not aligned to business needs’ or ‘the CIO is not supporting our business growth’, or an Auditor pokes holes in the CIOs reputation or the Head of Marketing implies ‘the CIO doesn’t understand digital give me his budget and resources’. Blah blah blah

Over the past two years I have discovered a simple fix and by applying Lean Start Up’s Build Measure Learn process, every iteration of this 5 step process has resulted in a faster better transformation in IT Business relations.

Here’s what I have learnt.

1.   There is only One Strategic Plan, so delete anything and everything else. Delete I said, don’t put it aside for future reference, there is no room for an IT Strategy, or a Sales Strategy in today's high paced competitive world. (Unless you actually want to divide and rule and preserve the status quo.)

2.     Get the entire Senior Management Team, CIO included, to meet offsite and review the strategic vision and goals. Debate until the top three to five annual priorities to grow the business are agreed.

3.     Grab a copy of the Value Proposition Canvas and plot ‘the job to be done’, clarify its pains and gains and build an IT Value Proposition in simple language. The democratization of IT means CIOs can’t afford to speak a different language. Keep it simple and keep it focused.

4.     With the CEO’s annual to do list now agreed, dovetail the workload to the various heads and set 90 day KPIs and Priorities. You now have alignment through collaboration and a shorter leaner planning and execution cycle.

5.     With everyone on the same page, agree a meeting rhythm to keep the focus and the collaboration level high: A daily 10-minute huddle, a weekly 30 min planning and collective intelligence session, a half day monthly controlling to keep everyone on-track and speaking the one language and then a full day every 90 days to plan and review the next 90 day sprint against the master plan for 2015.

Try it and let me know how you get on. My experience is that within two 90 day sprints the SMT will be coming together fast, and the business will be accelerating forward into the rich unknown of the digital economy that awaits the brave!

BTW Step 3 may seem disjointed but working on the IT Value Proposition and having a first iteration in place is crucial, especially when your business is swimming upstream in the digital economy.

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