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The Information Gap Between IT Leadership and IT Operations


This is the fourth blog in a 6-part series about Process Governance in an Agile Environment with Thorsten Manthey, Director at Tata Consulting Services. If you missed the introduction and part I, and part II, part III please find the direct links here.

In the last weeks, we’ve discussed the importance of establishing a process/product owner for each critical process, discussed management versus governance, and also covered the topic Agility and Prioritized Backlog. This week we talk about the Information Gap Between IT Leadership and IT Operations.

One specific IT governance issue within organizations is that the funding for requested improvements are stalled, or not approved, by the IT leadership due to a lack of direction and planning. 

Here is the heart of the issue: 

Process Managers request funding for a tool, people, training, etc. from their senior IT leaders, as there are no Process Owners (i.e., Product Owners) in place. Process Managers are “in the trenches,” and their focus is day-to-day operations that have a short-term focus vs. a Process Owner who is concentrating on strategic long-term planning, business needs, and values, including a prioritized Backlog. 

Imagine being a senior IT leader having multiple Process Managers requesting ad-hoc funding for initiatives without a business value-driven Backlog, in an unstructured format and with limited coordination between all the other processes.

IT leaders are hesitant to approve these requests, as other, more important, proposals might present themselves, so, instead, they defer. The lack of a prioritized, business-focused Backlog fails to drive the improvement requests in this scenario.

As funds are not unlimited, IT leadership is carefully evaluating what initiative should be funded which, in this case, could mean, virtually nothing is being approved. 

So how does one resolve this governance issue? 

The answer is to establish a comprehensive IT governance framework, assign Process Owners (i.e., Product Owners) who are accountable for the process and will develop Strategic Process Roadmaps i.e., a prioritized Backlog based on business needs and value. 

For this particular governance issue, The Information gap between IT leadership and IT operations, it is required to assign and empower Process Owners (i.e., Product Owners) and provide them with the right skills, tools, and authority. 

Process Owners cannot exist in a vacuum but must function within a well-defined governance framework with Process Managers, an IT Governance Board, defined business/steering councils, known escalation paths with identified thresholds, and more.

Next week we will conclude this series with a discussion of Bridging the Information Gap by Using Strategic Process Roadmaps.


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