A rose by any other name would smell as sweet
This particular article titled “Stop All IT Projects!” caught my eye, for the author argues that there is no such thing as an IT project since to do so perpetuates the idea that IT based project are done for the sake of technology rather than delivering business value.
For he states:
Every project’s goal must be to deliver to the operational needs of the company—selling product—not to the whims and desires of the IT group. If a project fails to address the needs of the customer (directly or indirectly), then it should never see a penny of funding. This seems such an elementary concept, but it is routinely violated by techno-bigots trying to implement the latest toy or tool…
Stop all IT projects and make them business projects. Their existence simply perpetuates the old myths of business silos. Technology is ubiquitous in the business and so should the IT group to support it. IT is no longer a mysterious and arcane subject practiced in computer rooms. It can be boiled down to simple tools for manipulating data for the end user to get the answer they need.
This very much reminds me of the famous quoted dialog, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet” from William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet, in which Juliet argues that the names of things do not matter, only what things are. Likewise, it really does not matter what you name a particular project so long as it delivers what is set out to complete and does so with business value.
This is not a new argument, but I can sympathize with the author working in the IT industry myself being tasked with delivering IT based projects. The moment business people hear the term it invokes the idea of a bunch of complex and arcane technical components that have to be strewn together by a nerdy group of men (I’m talking stereotypes here, and the fact of the matter is that the IT industry is still predominately dominated by men).
The author is correct in that in the modern age, information technology is as commoditized and ubiquitous as it ever has been so it may be time to stop adding the moniker of “IT” for what’s in reality a project that is to delivery business value. For example, ERP deployment projects are notorious for being over budget and late on schedule and it could be because much of the focus is on the technical resources and systems, rather than how to develop and streamline the supply chain or financial processes that the technological system is to align with.
So can we do away with the “IT” in IT projects? It may be bit too early for organizations and the IT departments running in them to adopt this new mindset, but with technology so ingrained in every business process these days it’s probably inevitable that the IT moniker will just fade away.