One of my key objectives in 2018, is to help my customers manage their alignment successfully, ensuring every project delivers value.

So, in the spirit of sharing, I wanted to put some of the key things I’ve learnt about this topic down in a blog post for you to digest and apply to your own projects.

Why is alignment so important?

In many organizations the business and IT are working in isolation. So, for projects particularly IT based projects, what typically happens is that the business defines their requirements, then throws them “over the wall” to IT. IT then implements the requirement, only to be told that it wasn’t the solution that the business needed once it’s done.

This is the perfect example of the lack of alignment. For successful programs using erNavigator technology, the path to ROI is secured with a real partnership across all the business and IT stakeholders working together on a common goal.

This goal should be documented in the program vision and strategy document., which happens to be part of the first principle of COBITS, a business framework standard for the governance and management of enterprise IT.

When alignment goes wrong.

When programs are out of alignment, it can delay or destroy potential ROI.

I have a great example. I visited the CIO of a UK company where the project costs were out of control for the delivery of a specific application. The aim of the project was to automate a paper- based construction defect process. He wanted to understand why the project wasn’t working.

Here is what he discovered.:

The previous paper-based system was very complex, and the associated requirements of that system were not clearly communicated to the development teams.

The whole project budget was owned by IT. The business wasn’t involved, and no money or resources had been secured for UAT around the project, because the business users had different priorities

The end-users did not see the value or benefits of automating the current process, as they were used to the old ways of working, so they simply didn’t use the new system.

At the end of the meeting, we concluded that had alignment been created at the start, the outcome would have been very different for this project. We were able to rescue the deployment, but it took time and resources to do so.

So how can your program achieve alignment from the start?

Let’s start with your stakeholders. When programs discuss stakeholders, they normally discuss the program executive sponsor, or senior IT and business leaders. Yes, it’s paramount to engage these stakeholders, but there are two other groups of stakeholders that are just as important to the success of the project: middle management and end-users.