Innovation

Who decides priority of IT initiatives in your company?

Picture this if you will. A busy four-lane street in the middle of an industrial park. Traffic in the southbound lanes is at a standstill as a duck and her 10 babies slowly make their way across. (Considering that I am barraged on a daily basis with business jargon, I could go for the easy pun here and say that that one was young lady who had her ducks in a row. But I will refrain.)

So anyway, since ducks basically have two speeds—not moving at all and waddling—this particular migration was taking a while. What was interesting was how different motorists reacted. You had your "Awww, they're so cute" people (me) and you had your impatient, horn-honking drivers. (Note: Horn honking SO doesn't work for birds. Waterfowl trumps impatience.)

OK, so because I'm sleep-deprived, this started me thinking about goals (in this case, getting to work) and how things beyond your control can slow progress toward that goal (like a fertile duck). It is actually no different in the business world. If you have business goals that require development resources, they have to get in the queue along with everyone else's. If your goal is triaged lower in the queue than the others, then you have no choice but to wait.

The variable in the corporate situation, though, is who does the triaging on business initiatives? In a large environment, does the manager of a particular IT department make the ranking decisions? The CIO? The CEO? It seems to me therein lies the problem. I would think that the IT manager, because of the necessary focus on his own group's acitivities, may not always have all of the business info needed to make the right judgment call on initiative priorities. The CEO probably doesn't have the knowledge of IT to know what initiatives can be pushed through quickly and which will need more time and resources. It makes sense that the CIO should bear this responsibility. Is that the case in your organization?

If you work for a smaller outfit, who does the prioritizing of IT initiatives there?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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