Wildly successful IT projects make great stories. They spin out profitable new lines of business. They help business partners whomp the competition. They send customer satisfaction skyrocketing.\u00a0\nYet they can also sound like the IT version of Lake Wobegon, where all the project support is strong, all the leaders are good-looking, and all the business results are above average.\nReality is a different experience, as our cover story about this year\u2019s CIO 100 award winners\u00a0makes clear. The tough work and hard-won lessons behind those IT-fueled business projects is reflected in the candid advice of CIOs from organizations as diverse as Procter & Gamble, Celestica, Eurpac, GE Capital Americas and Atlanta Public Schools.\nCollectively, our CIO 100 winners spent half a billion dollars on technology projects this year, and a substantial number of them used advanced analytics to create new business lines, enter different markets or improve the customer experience. None of it came easily or quickly. They took incremental approaches. They involved users deeply in development. They used small successes to keep moving forward.\n\u201cWe didn\u2019t try to get the perfect data first,\u201d says Celestica CIO Mary Gendron, who echoes other CIOs in her belief that projects should always start with looking at business outcomes. \u201cThat\u2019s where we\u2019ve gotten tripped up as an IT industry, spending millions on enterprise data warehouses and data cleansing. You don\u2019t start with the fuel, you start with the outcome.\u201d\n\u201cThe only way to know the value of [an] analytics [system] is to get it in front of end users as fast as possible,\u201d says Kelly Shen, business intelligence CIO at GE Capital Americas, which rolled out an iPad app that uses analytics and geospatial visualization to help companies make better use of their vehicles. \u201cFail fast, learn early, change strategy when it\u2019s not working.\u201d\nAlso in this issue, we welcome the six newest members of our CIO Hall of Fame and talk with them about watershed moments in their leadership careers. Some got their greatest insights from the candid feedback of a good boss. Others found their inner strength during a company crisis or in the sense of mission that pervades a startup.\nTo all our CIO 100 winners and Hall of Fame honorees: Congratulations on all you\u2019ve accomplished so far. You are success in motion, and we\u2019ll keep watching.\nFollow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn.