The full impact of IT on an organization’s success is difficult to measure and often underestimated by those who lack technical expertise. What’s more, while it is obvious to all when projects fail, the reasons why are often too technical to easily explain.
Because of this, IT Directors find themselves in a tenuous position when it comes to performance reviews and project and resource requests.
COST CENTER OR ENGINE FOR INNOVATION?
These challenges result in IT departments being seen as “cost centers”rather than integral factors to business success. In fact, in a recent survey by CIO Magazine, nearly 50% of the professionals said their teams are seen “primarily as cost centers”, while just 25% said they were at the cutting edge or organizational innovation.
In this article, we explore four ways that IT Directors can lead the transformation from a department that is wrongfully viewed as costly, to a team viewed as the center of innovation for the business.
INCREASE PRIORITIZATION ACROSS THE TEAM
Undoubtedly, your team spearheads dozens of projects per quarter.
Whether handling team support requests or implementing new programs that increase organizational efficiency, your team has limited bandwidth that must be focused effectively to ensure optimal results.
By implementing consistent prioritization strategies across the department, your team will focus on more work that moves the needle and cut back on time consuming activities that offer lower returns.
PROMOTE TRANSPARENCY OF TEAM ACTIVITIES
While the technical details of decisions you make may be difficult to understand without the right expertise, providing transparency of your processes helps others in the organization recognize how your valuable time is spent, and where the costs of your projects come from.
Digital project management platforms like Priority Matrix increase visibility of team action items. This not only results in proven accountability to the executive team, but also simplifies coordination and collaboration efforts across the entire department.
Finally, when it comes time for performance reviews, you’ll have a digital record of everything your team has accomplished during the past year or quarter, and an understanding of how it contributed to business advances.
MEASURE PLANNED VS. UNPLANNED EFFORT
Distinguishing between “planned tasks” and “fires” – unexpected challenges that need to be resolved – clarifies exactly what types of complications pose a threat to IT team productivity.
As an IT Director, honing in on these occurrences will allow you to eliminate them, thus streamlining department productivity.
Implement a structure that gives shared visibility and metrics to development and IT teams, so the health of an application [or project] is easily viewed by both teams once operational, and issues can be resolved more rapidly.
– Andi Gutmans, CEO, Zend
PROMOTE DISCUSSION OF DEADLINES AND PRIORITIES
OUTSIDE OF MEETINGS
Use collaboration tools that give your full team the ability to understand the status of projects and action items in real time.
For those outside of IT, access to updates outside of weekly meetings provides them the ability to easily understand what’s going on in the project. More often than not, this not only results in more support for your projects, but also allows your team to meet their needs more effectively, without wasting time in meetings that disrupt productivity.
HOW DOES PRIORITY MATRIX HELP?
Priority Matrix is a platform that helps IT teams prioritize action items and stay coordinated. IT teams who use Priority Matrix gain:
- Real-time visibility of team priorities
- A “single source of truth” for project updates
- A digital record of project changes and effort spent, on a per-task basis
I can tell you that we wouldn’t be able to coordinate all the projects we have without Priority Matrix. In summary, Priority Matrix is the center of everything we do, and we rely on it all the time to ensure that we are meeting CVWD business needs.
– Luis Maciel, Director of IT, Coachella Valley Water District
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