Project Portfolio Management

Procedural Rhapsody: When Business Leaves IT to Die

What must you, the IT department do, when your business is neither your champion nor your friend in sponsoring an IT project? According to Pearl Zhu, there’s no time for losers in this fast-paced digital age. You’ve got to fight till the end to make yourself and your ideas heard outside of IT.

The Risk of No Sponsor

The fact of the matter is that lack of business support (i.e. – no sponsor) qualifies as an IT risk. After all, lack of sponsorship entails a high degree of uncertainty. You might be surprised. A formal risk assessment may yield an effective mitigation strategy, or uncover a faulty project that needs to be scrapped.

In an IT silo there will be little chance of what, in the past, could have been success without sponsorship. But alas, the ever-integrated business-IT hybrid demands no less than a motivated champion for the cause of each and every project. There are two kinds: motivated sponsors who care, and token sponsors selected for their importance but not their critical engagement.

Failure of Accountability

If and when a project does fail, a lack of solid sponsorship complicates matters. Who is held accountable if risk is not allocated effectively? Are resources made available to IT for the appropriate execution of objectives? Are stakeholders throwing a wrench in the works by mandating “on-a-dime” changes in a mid-stride effort?

The business and IT are sharing more of what was traditionally considered exclusive territory. If there’s going to be accountability and productive project outcomes, then it is now time for full sponsorship of projects and a “partner” mentality as each outfit moves into the future:

The value that IT provides to the enterprise is not the infrastructure. It is not even the apps that run on the infrastructure. It is how the business…take[s] advantage of the apps that run on the infrastructure…That demands having non-IT leaders perform the appropriate roles as sponsors and champions.

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