I had the opportunity to chat recently with Robin Dargue, EVP Business & IT Transformation, Alcatel-Lucent.\u00a0 I realized half-way through the conversation, that Dargue has a bit of the philosopher about him, so I decided to structure our interview as a series of \u201ceternal truths of IT leadership.\u201d Enjoy!\n\tTruth #1: The number one risk to a program\u2019s success is a lack of sponsorship.\n\tIf you don\u2019t have a sponsor, don\u2019t do the project.\u00a0 To ensure that a sponsor remains engaged throughout the length of a project, use a gating process that continually checks that the sponsor is doing his or her part.\u00a0 If the sponsor\u2019s engagement slips, fix the sponsorship or stop the project . \u00a0\n\tWe test sponsorship on Day One of the project.\u00a0 If our sponsor wobbles at the very beginning, why get started?\n\tOur gating process is a standard, off-the-shelf process. It asks: do you have a business case? Have you gathered the appropriate requirements? Have you tested? (I have found that many \u00a0companies do not use basic \u00a0gating; they start a project, fail to check in on it, and then wonder why they never finish.)\n\tWe also do a \u201clessons learned\u201d session as soon as the project is complete. How was the delivery? Was the project executed well? And then six months later, we check in on whether we received the benefits we were after.\u00a0\n\tBy the way, unless the project\u2019s benefits are baked into the sponsor\u2019s P&L, the sponsor is not a real sponsor.\n\tTruth #2: The sponsor should be the lowest level executive in the organization who has oversight over the people impacted by the program.\n\tIn other words, the sponsor should be the manager who is directly responsible for the organization that is going through the change.\u00a0 For cross-functional projects, unless the COO or the CEO is the sponsor the program will fail.\n\tTruth #3: You should organize your IT function so that it aligns with the business structure you want to achieve, not the one you currently have.\n\tIf your company is currently structured by localized business units, but it plans to operate more globally in the future, the IT organization should be structured globally before the rest of the company gets there.\n\tTruth #4: It is a mistake to organize business facing IT leaders by business function, because every time the business restructures, IT has to change.\n\tI\u2019d rather organize my business facing IT leaders by business processes, because processes remain constant regardless of the structure of the business.\u00a0\u00a0 We have business facing people for processes like lead-to-cash, supply chain, and finance, because those processes are so critical to our business. Those people focus on strategy, business cases, requirements gathering, and project delivery.\n\tTruth #5: We often sacrifice future agility for current agility, and that\u2019s a problem.\n\tAs a CIO, it is getting more challenging to balance the business demand for quicker delivery with a solution that is sustainable for the future.\u00a0 We may deliver some new program quickly today, but in four years, people will come back say, \u201cWhat idiot made that decision? Now, we have to rework everything.\u201d\n\tThis is probably my toughest challenge:\u00a0 My business partners want to tactical solutions so fast that they will not wait until we architect the solutions correctly.\u00a0\u00a0 I can deliver quickly, because they want it now, but then they will wonder why it cost so much (TCO).\u00a0 It is easier to do a little bolt-on than to make major infrastructure changes, but in the future, we\u2019ll wind up managing 20 different bolt-ons with 20 different providers and 20 different data structures.\u00a0 New companies with new technologies don\u2019t really need to worry about this.\u00a0 But for those of us who work in big legacy environments, this is becoming a major challenge.\u00a0\n\tAbout Robin Dargue and Alcatel-Lucent\n\tRobin Dargue is Executive Vice-President of Alcatel-Lucent in charge of Business & Information Technology Transformation. Robin joined Alcatel-Lucent from the Royal Mail Group where he served as Chief Information Officer and Technology Director in charge of a vast IT-based transformation program. At Royal Mail, he oversaw the implementation of 30,000 handheld devices supported by the UK's largest Wi-Fi network, and the introduction of a number of new technology-led products and services for customers, while executing the modernization of the organization technology assets. Prior to Royal Mail, Robin was CIO and Business Process Director at Diageo plc and held various IT leadership positions at Mars and Logica. Robin Dargue has a degree in computer science from Strathclyde University.\n\tThe long-trusted partner of service providers, enterprises and governments around the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a leading innovator in the field of networking and communications technology, products and services. The company is home to Bell Labs, one of the world's foremost research centers, responsible for breakthroughs that have shaped the networking and communications industry\n\tAlcatel-Lucent innovations are regularly recognized by international institutions for their positive impact on society. In 2012 and for the second year running, Alcatel-Lucent was named one of the Thomson Reuters Top 100 Global Innovators, recognition for the company's continued addition to its world-class patent portfolio, one of the largest in the telecom industry. Alcatel-Lucent has also been recognized for its sustainability performance. In 2012 the company was ranked Technology Supersector Leader by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Through its innovations, Alcatel-Lucent is making communications more sustainable, more affordable and more accessible as we pursue our mission of Realizing the Potential of a Connected World\n\tWith operations throughout the world, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with global reach. The Company achieved revenues of Euro 14.4 billion in 2012 and is incorporated in France and headquartered in Paris.