6 Steps Toward Aligning IT and Business Goals for Project Success

CIOs usually neglect to align their expectations of an IT project with those of users, says Thomas Hollman, an organizational psychologist with Mainsail Associates in Princeton, N.J. The result can be different definitions of what constitutes a successful project. Here are six tips for sidestepping that snare.

1. Don’t go it alone. Determine the needs and requirements of your business colleagues, and strike a balance between what they want and what your IT department can deliver.

2. Design mock-up screens to show the business unit leaders what you’re thinking. Solicit their feedback on what you’re showing them.

3. Link your expectations for the project to your company’s mission. Show your internal customers how simplifying an IT project will increase productivity, lower costs or improve quality or customer service.

4. Distribute frequent status reports to keep important stakeholders in the loop on a project’s progress.

5. Educate users on what it takes to implement a particular application or system.

6. Consider writing service-level agreements with internal customers to establish mutually agreed-upon expectations.

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