The problem with REQUIREMENTS is that they represent what we think might be useful some time in the future and are written in anticipation of needs rather than on the basis of lived experience.
When we add up all those REQUIREMENTS the project becomes large, costly and time consuming. Inevitably delivery (which may take years) often reveals that what we thought we wanted and what we actually need are different.
Maybe we anticipated wrong, or maybe circumstances changed, or maybe new better ideas emerged.
The solution is to ADD to the project scope, cost and time with CHANGES.
CHANGE is not a bad thing. It is learning. There is no point in slavishly delivering the original requirements if they are out-of-date or not fit-for-purpose.
The problem however is that it often takes until the project is almost finished to actually see the gap between what we thought we wanted and what we actually need.
Perhaps a better way is to abandon the long wish list of REQUIREMENTS and focus on CURRENT NEEDS and just deliver those. One at a time, not as part of a long project (a marathon), but as part of short experiment (a sprint).
The advantage is that the accumulation of sprints may well deliver a marathon outcome, but each and every effort is short, focused and flexible to a change in direction, change of tools or change of approach.
This is not new to anyone familiar with Agile, LEAN or DevOps. But how do we persuade the Board or the Exec Team that abandoning their marathon goal, significant time-table and huge budget is a good idea. How do we stop huge, expensive, Digital Transformations in favour of building an Enterprise Asset of incremental improvements in people, process and technology.
Perhaps the answer lies outside the IT Team. Sales and Marketing for example do something every day that advances the cause of the organisation. And it does this as a revenue cost. Sometimes campaigns will be successful. Sometimes not. But all the experience is learning and none is so large that it puts the organisation at risk.
What if we run IT like Sales and Marketing?
What if IT improvements were like short campaigns with incremental improvements to people, process and technology which could be measured in reduced costs or increased revenues at the end of each campaign.
I am interested in your thoughts and experiences. Maybe you agree. Maybe you do not. Maybe you can recommend some other books, blogs or videos. Do not hesitate to get in touch, and if you are in Jersey I will happily buy you a coffee if you would like to talk about your experience.
War and Peace and IT: Business Leadership, Technology, and Success in the Digital Age By: Mark Schwartz
A Seat at the Table IT Leadership in the Age of Agility By: Mark Schwartz
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups
The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations
The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence Through Leadership Development
Thinking in Systems: A Primer
Critical Chain: Project Management and the Theory of Constraints
The Phoenix Project: A Novel about IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win 5th
MBA (Management Consulting) Projects & Change Practitioner,
TEDx & Jersey Policy Forum, Public Accounts Committee,