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Project Portfolio Management or Feeding the Nest?

April 27, 2010
by Pete Rivera
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It’s a powerful visual: A nest full of chirping birds asking to be fed and you have to try to spread the limited amount of resources to each. Who gets fed? Well the loudest Chirp of course! The problem with this approach is that the requirements and strategy of the organization does not always match the loudest voice. Maybe they are a strong CFO or a Nurse that has been there the longest. Either way you are making systems decisions based on the ebb and flow of political expediencies rather than driving the Information Technology in a consistent/Strategic manner.

Information Technology Committees can be very powerful for the CIO. It can act as a conduit for executing the organizational plans in a way that ensures that priorities are done for the greater good. Niche’ systems and responding to the loudest voice creates havoc with interfaces and support requirements. Unfortunately, some CIO’s view IT committees as something that hijacks their authority and a necessary evil that they have to deal with. It’s another meeting that we need to have to make the stakeholders happy, but we all know who is going to get the funding. CIO’s should revamp their committees charters to make sure they are empowered to set project priorities and that they have the primary task of ensuring that systems remain consistent and interoperable across the enterprise. New projects are graded against IT systems that may be strategically around the corner. They have the benefit of seeing the big picture and can articulate to other stakeholders why their pet project did not get funded. This leaves the CIO free to tackle the day to day issues and keep the organization pointed down the right technology path.

So what do you have in your organization? No IT committee, a committee that meets and greets, or a working group that drives?

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Comments

Thanks Joe. One thing I enjoyed doing during useless meetings was to count how many were in attendance. Factor a ballpark figure for salary. I would then divide that by the meeting time and come up with the cost of the meeting. The numbers were always staggering. Point that out a few times and meetings tend to get a little more productive.

Pete,

Great post and great graphic.

You nailed the concern around power, validation of good decisions or usurping the agenda. One powerful telltale is meeting minutes of those meetings. If months pass without follow-up of raised issues (i.e. who does what by when, and reporting back), participants, including the CIO and those critical physicians come to see those committee meetings as a poor use of time. The management implications are obvious.

Pete Rivera

Director Informatics, Hayes Management Consulting

Pete Rivera

@Gator_Pete

www.Hayesmanagement.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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