One of the main functions of the CIO is to estimate and plan projects that will take place in the near future. And this, for some management positions requires pure reflection and strategic vision, from the CIO. Which represents an extra capacity of creating consensus and balance among the C level.
Let’s suppose that the organization where you work is proactive and start budgeting for the following year a few months before it begins. Say that the CIO has the task of drawing up a list of projects that will be implemented next year. In addition, of course, to value that list economically, plan the resources available, align it with the overall company strategy, etc.
The demand will have to be considered, which shall consist of the ideas and needs of all other organizational units.
Many of you will agree with me that the demand for business units do not usually come in an orderly manner.
This scenario, repeated year after year, can be relieved or hindered depending on organizational culture factors: the more mature ones will have orderly processes tabulated that will make this process, in theory, a path of roses. But this is not always the case, right?
The proposal we are making in this article to survive the planning and budgeting processes, which is to link the rest of the management team with the criteria for project evaluation and selection in order to find consensus in the early stages of the process.
Basically, it is articulated through a weighting system in stages, trying to isolate each one of them until it reaches a stage of selection. Let’s look at it in more detail.
Phase 1. Assess business objectives in the planning and budgeting
Nothing to do with the projects. Simply extract the objectives and criteria of the strategic plan and assign values.
There are several methods to do this. In this case we have chosen the “pairwise comparison”. Although we might have used the “ask the boss” or any other more orthodox methods.
With this method (either executed in an application or in a spreadsheet) we will obtain an assessment of the objectives, putting one over another, which is what we want at the end.
This is an example resulting from the previous comparison between pairs.
The key to this process is not so much the correction from the point of view of content, but rather the composition of the people who made this assessment: for a CIO concerned about the alignment of IT with the business and the subsequent support of the organization projects, it would be essential that this step is performed by the steering committee. This will be allow him to be personally detached of the foundation of future decisions.
In large organizations, this process can be repeated by business units which will not necessarily prioritize objectives in the same way.
Phase 2. Assess projects against these targets
The next step is to make comparisons of the value contribution of each project to each of the business goals.
In this case, we decided to use a qualitative method with Harvey Balls, where projects are rows and columns objectives. Here we say if the project adds value to the goal or not so much.
As in the previous case, these evaluations provide a “base 100” scoring for projects. But the key here is that the projects are not valued in relation to themselves, but are weighted by the prior evaluation of the objectives.
The result would be something like this:
Phase 3. Selected projects
Now it will be easier to select projects that may or may not be undertaken, with budget constraints according to value creation criteria.
The work life of the CIO could be greatly simplified:
- Because it has implied other directors in valuations, especially the one related with objectives and criteria.
- Because it provides a scientific and professional decision-making support system.
- Because it encourages the rest of the organization to have a cross-company and objective view of the initiatives
This short article aims to offer a proposal to focus strategic planning of projects in a solid form and strengthen the role of the CIO in organizations. We encourage you to leave any thoughts in the comment box below.