David Jacobson makes reference to a Harvard Business School excerpt from a book titled Alignment: Using the Balanced Scorecard to Create Corporate Synergies. As David points out, the article says:
Following are the eight alignment checkpoints for corporate, business units, and support units of a typical multi-business organization to hit during the annual planning process.
- Enterprise value proposition: The corporate office defines strategic guidelines to shape strategies at lower levels of the organization.
- Board and shareholder alignment: The corporation’s board of directors reviews, approves, and monitors the corporate strategy.
- Corporate office to corporate support unit: The corporate strategy is translated into those corporate policies that will be administered by corporate support units.
- Corporate office to business units: The corporate priorities are cascaded into business unit strategies.
- Business units to support units: The strategic priorities of the business units are incorporated in the strategies of the functional support units.
- Business units to customers: The priorities of the customer value proposition are communicated to targeted customers and reflected in specific customer feedback and measures.
- Business support units to suppliers and other external partners: The shared priorities for suppliers, outsourcers, and alliance partners are reflected in business unit strategies.
- Corporate support: The strategies of the local business support units reflect the priorities of the corporate support unit.
As other posts in this blog have suggested, IT projects can and do take on a life of their own. To use the jargon of the book, such projects suffer from a lack of alignment. In these situations, project-related pressures become so large and immediate that the original business mandate gets lost in the shuffle. And that, my friend, is the when the failure spiral really begins.