For the Board: Essential Reading on IT Strategy

IT is notoriously hard to manage and it has been so for decades. As a result, the execution of new strategies is often exceedingly difficult.

That IT is hard, every board of every large organisation knows. Failed or extremely late projects or budget overruns in the orders of hundreds of millions of euros or dollars are more common than everyone likes to acknowledge. Almost no organisation is happy with the progress and ease of change when IT is involved. One often mentioned problem is a lack of board insight in IT (true for many boards outside tech itself), making such boards easy victims for poor advisors, and it is not uncommon that organisations start ‘digital transformations’ and other IT-related strategic initiatives — technologically (e.g. Cloud, AI), organisationally (e.g. Agile/DevOps, BiModal IT) — based on optimism alone. Always, such transformations at some point encounter the — often harsh, unwielding — reality of IT, which is then never a happy place for everyone to be.

The articles on this site have all one thing in common: they are written from the perspective of realism. Neither pessimistic nor optimistic, not anti-change, not cynical, but real.

The articles below have been selected to provide useful insight for board members for who IT is a bit of a mystery. They provide a board with some key insights they need (but hardly ever get) when they wrestle with how hard it is to improve their organisation because IT is so hard to change. If you read only one: read the first one.

Should you derive your IT Strategy from your Business Strategy? Probably not too much. - It is generally accepted that IT Strategy must follow Business Strategy. It seems a no-brainer. But is it? There are reasons to look at it differently, reasons that become more pressing as organisations become more digital.
From Dark Scrum to Broken SAFe — some real problems of Agile-at-scale. And a way out. - There is a massive movement of organisations moving to agile-at-scale (e.g. SAFe). Ironically, it can turn into an organisation becoming one big 'project', the opposite of what agile wants to achieve.

The idea is that what is written on this site is entertaining, educational, and trustworthy. The next two are more on the entertainment side of writing, so tongue-in-cheek, but with a serious undertone.

Is Your Consultant a Parasite? - Good consultants do exist. But so do parasitic ones. This story is about why they happen and how to spot them.
How well does your top management understand IT? - I am proposing a way to 'measure' the 'understanding' the top of an organisation has — how capable it is of making informed strategic decisions — on a subject, e.g. legal, finance, or what is my particular interest: IT.

Photo by Miikka Luotio on Unsplash

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