CIO analysis: Audio interview on IT success and failure

Recorded audio interview discussing IT success and failure from a CIO perspective. Includes discussion of collaboration and knowledge sharing.

This post contains a recorded interview with me, exploring issues around IT project success and failure from a CIO perspective. I was interviewed by Mike Gammage of consulting firm, Nimbus Partners.

You can listen to our discussion by clicking the audio player at the top of this post.

To start the conversation, Mike asked about the linkage between the relationship between process and outcomes. As research describes, shifting and ambiguous requirements are a prescription for failure, so there is no doubt that established processes and clear goals are critical to project success. At the same time, we should view technology-enabled projects as no different from other business initiatives. All projects, whether or not they involve technology, should start with a business case, investment criteria, measurable outcomes, and so on.

Mike then asked about the importance of collaboration and communication in achieving successful IT. Since projects are fundamentally collaborative in nature, the importance of knowledge sharing across departments, functions, and other silos should be obvious, even if it's not. Although not often discussed, divergence of stakeholder perception and expectations undermines many projects, driving decision making into denial or gridlock; this is often a contributor to project failures.

Related: The twin evils of IT gridlock and denial

When a project starts, many executives become trapped in an unrealistic euphoria of hopes and expectations, which then devalues potential risks and pitfalls. I explained to Mike that this denial arises from difficulty of measuring alignment, perceptions, and expectations. In effect, it's easier to throw money at a project than to worry about so-called "soft," or human, issues.

The conversation concludes with a discussion of alignment between IT and the business. I explain that customer delight, which I call feelgood mojo in the interview, is a great starting point for IT to align with the business. When lines of business experience IT as being responsive, and even delightful, then communication barriers break down, which benefits all concerned.

Please listen to the recorded interview by clicking the audio player at the top of this post. It's only eight minutes in length, and will be a great investment of time.

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