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4. Relentlessly Deliver as Promised
Deliver. Deliver. Deliver. Nothing helps the reputation of the CIO and IT organization more than delivering as promised. Similar to running the shop, the delivery organization requires a strong leader. The leader must understand how to set realistic expectations for the business, deliver on time and on budget, and demonstrate that the benefits are actually achieved.
The tricky part: Business leaders tend to be very unrealistic about what can be delivered and when. It is up to the CIO and delivery leader either to set the proper expectations or to iterate delivery in ways to bring value as quickly as possible.
Metrics are the essential tool that demonstrates to executive leadership just how successful the organization is. Be honest about the successes--and transparent during failures. This will bolster the reputation of the organization to the Executive
Leadership and provide an openness that will give confidence to the organization as a whole.
5. IT at the Speed of Business
As a CIO, the last thing you want to hear is that a slow-moving IT organization is preventing a new product to market or enabling your competitors to beat you. This is a complex issue, because often times the software development life-cycle or the complexity of what is being built simply takes longer than the appetite of the business.
The CIO must implement a culture of inclusion to combat this problem. The earlier the IT organization is involved with innovation (See #7 below), the earlier the IT organization can figure out how to deliver. Bringing IT professionals to the table during the incubation stage of innovation can help them better understand requirements and also give the architects a chance to figure out how best to build a design strategy that can move at the speed of business. Of course, the business partners must be comfortable with IT being at the table earlier. The better the reputation of the IT organization, the more open they will be to the idea.
6. Transparent Demand Management
Sound demand management is a crucial competency of an IT organization. But believe it or not, many CIOs do not even focus on it. The basic premise is that all work being done by the IT organization should be known, approved and prioritized. There should not be many "gates" into the IT organization where work is introduced; instead, there should be a formalized and transparent process. A CIO should never hear the words, "What are your folks working on?" Much to the dismay of business people, there should be no "back-door" way to get things done.
Sound demand management is very important for the following reasons:
1. The only way you will know the true productivity of the organization is to know precisely what is being worked on.
2. Distraction work is eliminated.
3. Transparency to the business breeds confidence of the business.
4. By working on only the highest priority initiatives, the CIO will see an improvement in satisfaction by the business (by getting more of the higher impact work done for the business)
5. Contrary to what the IT organization or business may think, a solid structure around demand management does not make IT more bureaucratic--rather, it'll make IT more transparent.