IT Needs to Speed Things Up

One the first critiques that comes from interviewing a new customer or client is often the perception of how slow IT has been in delivering new functionality. Business customers and IT leaders are quick to point out a recent failure, delay in delivery or a project that has taken way too long to deliver and missed their expectations. The business partner has become impatient.
Consequently, the speed at which IT is delivering and is impacting business results cannot continue.
IT needs to step up to the challenge of speeding up delivery of solutions. IT needs to step out of its comfort zone of technical jargon, methodologies, and program delivery, and realize that business expectations have changed.
How often have you been in a meeting where the business is asking for something in 90 days or less and IT can only come back and deliver in six months (or more)? How often has IT gotten in the way of a business solution, by pushing back the timeframe for delivery and then deliverying a mediocre solution? Either IT gets in front and helps to quickly drive a solution for its business partner, or the partner will quickly turn to someone else to deliver what they need.
Instead of becoming the victim in this scenario, how about trying a couple of techniques? Who knows, they may work with your business partner and your IT Team to create a new model for delivery. Some items to consider include:
  • Accelerate development: Instead of long term projects, try shorter iterative projects. According to the Corporate Executive Board, more than 45% of projects today are labeled as ‘information projects,’ such as collaboration or customer facing websites. These can be delivered quickly by deploying functionality as it becomes available.
  • Identify the roadblocks to speed and challenge them: Several repeatable items can get in the way of speeding up a project and can be addressed proactively:
Delivery Team – Make sure you have the right team and enough resources. Why not ramp up the resources and reduce the time for delivery? Adding more help at the onset of creating the capability or seeking a true expert can make a significant difference. And it could give the business the competitive advantage they are seeking.
Governance – How can you expect a large governance program to deal with a project that needs to move fast? How flexible is your approach to drive a balance between speed and quality of delivery? You need the data on delivery, but be sure to also focus on transparency and the trade-offs that come with speed.
Security – Take a hard look at what a delay in delivery could mean and how it might impact the business. Aside from doing the key requirements for security, could the team adopt the approach of resolving issues as the capability is rolled out? What is the real risk and is it worth the gamble? What about test driven development? And continuous build testing? Can these approaches effectively reduce time without compromising quality?
Speed to market should be a core IT strategy. The importance of delivering results with speed and flexibility will drive operational models. IT leadership should be looking at what it will take to reduce the time it takes to deliver results and continusously measure time to deliver.