5 Key Components in Getting IT Projects Approved

CEOs and CIOs don’t always have a smooth relationship. Too often, there are wide gaps in communication between these chief officers. However, CIOs need approval and funding from CEOs to get their projects move forward. IT project failure can damage the overall business capability and brand reputation to serve and attract customers. Mike Sisco, writing for, says that there are five key components to make an IT project appealing enough for CEOs to approve:

  1. The project must address a legitimate business need or issue.
  2. The project should deliver business value.
  3. All projects must be cost-justified.
  4. The project must be in context with the company’s current situation.
  5. IT must have a proven track record.

The Business Case

If you want to speak in your CEO’s language, address what business goals your project will achieve. The bottom line is how an IT project can help the business in some way, in minimizing risks, creating a competitive advantage, or improving customer satisfaction. CEOs may not understand how useful your project is in the small context of the IT department, but if it benefits the larger picture, they will be interested. Some business values that your project should identify are increasing revenue, decreasing cost, improving productivity, and differentiating the company from others in the market.

Don’t pay your efforts in something that is great in theory but has no practical potential. You may have a cost-justified project, but if there’s no money available for your department or the cash flow is tight, your project may not be the priority in the present context. Another important thing is that your voice may hold no power if your credibility is low. No one will listen to a “nobody” who doesn’t do what he or she says. The way to achieve credibility is by delivering your project successfully once your project gets approved and creating trust.

Sisco says CEOs will likely approve a project when the CIO is ultimately consistent in the following areas:

  • Making business-driven recommendations,
  • Recommending projects that address a business issue or need,
  • Recommending projects that deliver tangible business value,
  • Always providing prudent cost justification,
  • Delivering the goods once projects are approved.

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