I’ve just had the time to scan the Sept-Oct ’18 issue of HBR and there is one article that all digitalisation professionals should read. Titled “Too many projects” by Hollister and Watkins [https://hbr.org/2018/09/too-many-projects].
Not only does it provide an example of why cutting IT budgets across the board is a bad idea for business, and an explanation of “logrolling” where executives support each-other’s pet projects, but also it provides a neat framework for assessing initiatives prior to launch.
I touched on initiative selection as part of a prioritisation framework Introduction to Prioritisation V 1.0, I also wrote an article in 2017 which was recently published in Oil and Gas Technology that touches on some of the concepts [link]
I hope HBR don’t mind me paraphrasing one of their templates but it’s really quite excellent:
Questions to Ask Before You Launch an Initiative:
Analyse the project
- What problem is this initiative meant to fix?
- What data or other evidence tells us that this initiative will have the desired impact?
- What is the true human capital demand?
- What resources (time, budget, and head count) are needed to design and launch the initiative?
- In addition to the department that owns the initiative what departments or functions will be tasked with supporting it?
- What time Commitments will be asked of leaders and staff members to attend meetings or develop the skills needed to understand or implement the initiative?
- What resources will be needed to sustain it?
- How does the human capital demand compare with the potential business impact? Does the cost outweigh the benefit?
- How will the organization determine whether it has the capacity to take on the initiative?
Sizing up stakeholder support
- Who are the key stakeholders?
- What actions will be required to support the initiative?
- How fully is that support in place?
- What trade-offs are we willing to make? In other words, if we do this, what won’t get done?
- What’s the sunset schedule and process?
In summary then: next time you're asked to add yet another digital initiative make sure that it takes into account the impact and value to operations!
image credit: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/photo/2013-12/02/content_17143892_2.htm