My New Arbor and How It Relates to some IT Projects – The Chicken and Pig Analogy

I recently finished installing an arbor in our backyard (pix in the next blog) and my experience reminded me a lot of IT projects that I have either been involved either as a project manager, biz sponsor, or onlooker. My arbor looks great (you can see for yourself after I post the pix), but I installed the arbor w/o consulting my wife or getting her involved in the design, or purchase process. So now, she will not accept it…..

This is what often happens in IT projects that do not have biz buy-in, or involvement from early on. IT decides that it needs to go improve something or go build something, without getting the biz involved and then they are surprised when the biz refuses to accept the solution. In fact, I am currently involved in a project where we are facing this situation; the idea is great, the solution even better, but the biz never quite signed up for the change, because it involves them committing their time to the testing and validation. If the solution does not work, they are in trouble – so they are even more reluctant to sign up for the new solution because of the risk involved. The classic chicken and the pig situation – while IT is involved in developing the solution, the biz is the pig in this situation- they are committed and if anything goes wrong, their job is on the line.

I remember yet another situation where my corporate controller told me “if we go-live and the solution does not work, I will lose my job, whereas if we do not go live the only thing I would have lost is the cost of the SW and implementation – I would like to keep my job” – and there ended that project, a month before go-live, after 5 month of hard work.

The key to success for IT projects is to get the biz involved early on in the process, and more important, show them (with data and facts, not just with ‘trust me’ words), that the solution will work, and there are mitigations if it does not work. They need to feel ensured that they are not ‘committing’ to something that may or may not work and the more comfortable they feel early on in the effort, the easier it is to get their buy in and support.

Now off to try and convince my wife that the arbor is really very nice…….



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