In my last post, I introduced the Getting Predictable℠ Best Practices and explained how they are designed to set project teams up for success “from the start”. These practices cover three areas: Alignment, Commitment and Visibility.
Now I am going to dive deeper into the concept of alignment and why it is critical to reducing rework and helping any team (not just IT) meet its expectations, each and every time.
What is Alignment?
With technology initiatives, the goal of best practices around alignment looks like this: The business stakeholders all have a common answer to the question, “What is success for this project”? In other words, they have agreement when the team can stop and everyone can high-five because they all got what they needed.
At the other extreme (and this is the problem we are trying to solve), we don’t want the business to say to the team: “We have a really critical schedule, so you guys start and we’ll figure it out later”.
Why is it so important to focus on aligning the business stakeholders? Isn’t it more important to focus on aligning the technology team to the business? No it is not more important – and this answer is of huge importance!
The technology team can’t align to the business goals if the business doesn’t agree on those goals! In other words, if the business isn’t in alignment, how can a technology team align?
What are they aligning to?
More importantly, a lack of alignment on the business side means there is almost certainly rework ahead for the technology team. As the business goes through the process of coming into alignment, the IT team needs to make constant adjustments. Sometimes in small ways, but other times the change can be significant and involve removing or changing an entire component of the solution.
When was the last time rework got extra schedule or budget?
This blog will cover those Getting Predictable℠ Best Practices that focus on helping the business get alignment on answering this question: “What is the definition of success for this project?”.
Alignment is a great idea, but I don’t think it can work for me
Now you might be thinking: “I can’t get my business folks to a single meeting, let alone get them to agree!” In future posts, I will share best practices that have worked for me. They don’t all work, and they don’t apply to all situations, but I have come to rely on these simple practices to get the results I am looking for.
And there is a huge side benefit. By helping the business come into alignment on the key objectives of a project, I end up building a new level of trust in my relationship with the business team. This truly was a pleasant surprise.
You will find some past posts, as well as future posts that focus on key areas such as:
- Facilitation techniques
- Aligning the business when they are geographically distributed
- How to align interested parties that aren’t decision makers
- Being adaptive to change and protecting alignment
- When a lack of alignment is ok
So what do you think?
Do you believe this is a problem in your world? How bad is it? I’d love to hear examples in the comments below. If you don’t have this problem, why? What do you believe you are doing right?
Getting Predictable℠ is a collection of best practices that set teams up for success from the start.