Managing Countless IT Initiatives: 4 Tips for Focusing on the Ones that Matter
A recovering economy is good news in any industry. An unintended consequence of the economic bounce, however, is the proliferation of new IT initiatives around every corner. While these initiatives offer a great deal of exciting potential, managing the competing options can be a challenge. Constant requests for collaboration can leave IT professionals feeling overwhelmed and struggling to keep pace with demand. TechRepublic’s Patrick Gray has four suggestions for managing IT initiatives:
- Be open to new options.
Gray’s first suggestion is to resist the temptation to simply shut down any new initiatives—even if you’re confident in your current IT services. The risk here, according to Gray, is that the crowded field of competitors will step in to take advantage of an opportunity. Gray also cautions that new initiatives may render existing systems obsolete—failing to stay on top of the technology can cause you to miss opportunities for streamlining and cost-effectiveness.
- Don’t become distracted by things you don’t need.
Gray urges the importance of paying attention to your organization’s overall technological objectives. He cautions against becoming distracted by “shiny objects” that sound exciting but ultimately do not connect to the larger technology goals. Ultimately, these initiatives can be costly distractions that interfere with your ability to focus on your top priorities.
- Think: portfolio.
Gray likens IT to finance with the following helpful metaphor: financial planners balance investments according to risk, time, and returns. Gray suggests adopting a similar mindset for your IT portfolio to help you allocate resources and energy. He urges an adaptable IT portfolio that allows for both “bread and butter infrastructure projects” as well as riskier research and development initiatives. According to Gray, structuring the IT portfolio this way helps you manage your priorities responsibly.
- Establish concrete goals.
Gray’s final suggestion is to establish a vision for your future that takes into account short-, medium-, and long-term goals. When fielding requests for new IT initiatives, having that information will help you assess the suitability of proposed projects. For Gray, these goals can also provide a safe harbor if you need to decline projects—being able to explain that a proposal is a poor fit for the organizational goals will help you effectively turn away unsuitable initiatives without appearing unreasonable or unwilling to hear suggestions.
Gray’s suggestions all emphasize the importance of maintaining a big-picture vision for your organization. By keeping perspective on resource allocations, risk, and future goals, you will be better able to effectively manage the overwhelming quantity of IT initiatives that reach your doorstep. More importantly, you will be free to focus on the initiatives that make good sense for your organization.
At CREDO, we have learned that it is absolutely necessary to pull back and occasionally adjust the mindset in order to truly assess which initiatives support long-term objectives. It’s good advice! Read the entire TechRepublic article here.
If you find yourself in need of the resources necessary to deliver your IT initiatives, you know who to call!