A recent article on Bank Systems and Technology highlights a very difficult and often misunderstood need and method of aligning technology projects to core business requirements. The author is a thought leader in the space and provides great information to consider. There are specific enhancements I would make to their approach.
A common mistake in the technology world is to engineer for engineering’s sake. This is followed based on the idea that if we add more features and increase the throughput, surely the business will be enamored by the results and grateful for the effort undertaken (whether we are buying a product or having developed it internally). This is fundamentally the problem with the discrepancies that result. Technology does not need to simply extend itself, but should be evolving to meet the new challenges – i.e., the same appliance configured and deployed in the same manner may not be appropriate.
Considering this discrepancy in thought, I would suggest an alternate set of project prioritization checklist for business and technologists:
- Technologists and Lines of Business owners should collaborate on the near term challenges of the business -> i.e., identify the problems holding back the business
- Based on this business problem list, identify the possible solutions – considering existing technology and alternate deployments
- Identify the low hanging fruit – i.e., sort the technology solutions by cost/effort with that of the business problems, and tackle the quickest returns first.
- Projects should show returns in weeks, not months
- Projects should be accountable to the Line of Business Owner, and it should be reflected in their P&L
- Repeat steps 3 – 6, and every couple of months restart at the beginning – especially as the business environment and operating environments change (As the business changes, so must the technology contributing to operations).
Thank you to Deb Smallwood and Karen Furtado of SMA for contributing the article that inspired my own process.
James DeLuccia IV