4 Simple Ways to Start to Scoring Your IT Projects Today
By George Shaheen, Innotas Team
A consistent challenge across all of our customers is a simple question: “How do I manage the demand on my organization and ensure I’m doing the right work – the work that aligns to overall business objectives?” A lot of the time, work is chosen for execution reactively with no push back (“let’s just get it done as soon as we can”), based on a single person’s decision making (“Joe thought about it and thinks we should do this first”), or politically driven (“The CxO want this done now!”).
What are the implications of making decisions based on those scenarios? A lot of work might be done that doesn’t tie to any objective at all and can be a complete waste of time, effort, and dollars. Second, when decisions are made based on a single person’s view of the organization, this single point of failure can immediately paralyze IT because they’ve lost the ability to choose what to do next if that particular person leaves the company and with her the decision making capabilities. Lastly, politically driven decision making is a threat to the focus and direction of a company. Just because someone is the loudest voice in the room doesn’t necessarily mean the work they want done aligns to any business objectives.
So, how do we avoid these pitfalls and ensure all the work we choose to do aligns to overall business objectives?
The answer is actually simpler than expected. Most IT departments already have a process by which they get requests for work (projects, enhancements, etc). By simply adding one more step to this process where the request is scored based on a generally accepted scoring framework, the IT department can properly ensure that the highest scoring (best aligned) work is picked up for execution.
This framework will be different for every company (some common aspects are risk, value, and business alignment), so how do we go about developing a framework?
Here’s a simple checklist:
Setup a scoring framework(s)
Develop the framework collaboratively (identify who makes decisions now and get them all in a room together). Be sure to explain the benefits (see above) of a scoring framework and that, since they are the ones making the decisions now, the framework should take into account how they think about the decisions that are made.
Be sure to think about multiple frameworks – a project scoring framework may be significantly more in-depth than an enhancement request scoring framework.
Apply the framework(s)
Add a step to the work approval process – ensure all work goes through the scoring process.
We here at Innotas provide full demand management capabilities with the ability to apply different scoring frameworks to different types of requests.
Revisit the framework(s)
Do this annually – things naturally change, and with that change, there may be tweaks required to your scoring process.
Score and rescore inflight work
Do this when you first implement your scoring framework – kill projects that don’t make the cut, keep the ones that do, and use that freed up resource capacity to execute more relevant work.
After making changes to your framework (if any), re-score your current in-flight work to ensure your work is still aligned to business objectives.
By implementing a process like this, you can:
- Ensure the right work gets picked up for execution based on how well it drives towards business objectives
- Ensure the work getting done now does indeed align to objectives
- Free resource capacity from irrelevant work, allowing for more strategic work to get done
- Eliminate reactively acting to work requests, single points of failure, or politically driven decision making.
Have a good time setting this up and let us know if you’d like to talk about it.