Q: When I ran a 600-person, multilocation, offshore IT team for a large computer company in Austin, Texas, my clients were IT directors. They had the attitude of “What right do you have to tell us IT directors what resources we can and cannot have?” Just as doctors make the worst patients, IT directors make the worst customers.
A: This example of the extended supply chain underscores the importance of integrating the demand management processes in order to minimize handoffs (which just transfer the problems down the supply chain and further away from the customer). Start by explicitly designing the demand management processes with your IT clients. Identify the integration points where all parties need to be looking at the same information so that they can reach agreement about what work should be done, by whom, how and when. This requires a mutual understanding of the strategic filters, portfolio targets, multiyear funding projections, project approval processes (with delegated authorities), financial and resource budgets (with delegated checkbooks), architectural standards and value accountability.
To see more reader questions and answers from Susan H. Cramm, go to www.cio.com/leadership/agenda.html. Cramm, a former restaurant CIO and CFO, is president of Valuedance, an executive coaching firm in San Clemente, Calif. You can contact her at email@example.com and learn more about Valuedance at www.valuedance.com.