* Development of a short business case template to document each request in terms of the business need, indicative costs and timeframes, and any architecture, security and other technical points of note.
* And a formal approval process consisting of an online consultation among the IT community, followed by a management review and signoff on the business case for the investment. During the first year over $2M of work was approved through this mechanism.
All of this caused a good deal of negative reaction within IT. Having been used to autonomy, the processes were often perceived as both adding work and in stripping away responsibility. We needed to repeatedly stress the objectives of better prioritization and delivery of work, and ultimately greater clarity for individuals.
Frankly, we exacerbated this staff reaction by making some mistakes along the way. For example, we built the time keeping system with a view to reporting everything with the finest degree of granularity, but that proved to be totally unpractical and we changed tack and introduced something simpler. We also were overly ambitious about the first build of the project monitoring system and eventually eased back on the level of reporting requested.
All in all, we think we now have the balance between control and giving staff the responsibility to get on with their work. For management, the important thing is we now have genuine oversight into what is going on and can steer in the right strategic direction. And now, having demonstrated efficient and effective delivery from inside, we have the moral high ground when going to talk to Shadow IT groups outside of IT.
Whimpenny is the Senior Officer for Digital Strategy in the IT Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
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