I sat in on a budgetary planning meeting where the developers were asked to submit project proposals for approval. This was a new process where they were asked to provide a budget and the ROI. This was done to try and drive the developers to have a business perspective on the work they did. This was presented to some of the top executives in the business.
It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.
When they presented their project’s benefits it was all guess work. Speculative numbers that were outrageously unsupported. It became clear how much of a disconnect there was on what they did, and what they had been doing, was completely out of synch with what the business needed.
I felt bad for them. They were nervous and apprehensive. Some where confident in the beginning, but soon became deflated. What was obvious was that they didn’t get any kind of help in preparing for this. It was trial by fire.
Needless to say when the smoke cleared it was back to the drawing board. It was a wasted effort. Though now there was a slew of key development staff that was now demoralized.
I’m a firm believer that everyone in the organization should know the business value of what they do and how they impact the bottom line. However this was not the way to make that happen. You need to give some coaching and training. Even then, there are those that just have a hard time making what they do fit on the value ladder.
To that end you need a facilitator, and that’s management’s job.
Now, there were some that presented in that meeting that should have known better because they were, in fact, in a leadership position. For those you need to figure out if they can be taught. If not you need to cut them loose.
Bottom line – if thinking about the business from the IT side of the house is not something that is done now it will not happen overnight. A framework, resources and support for the change and a change over period needs to be set to make it happen.