Nordic CIO story: “Business sponsor accountability is non-negotiable”

So said the CIO of a Nordic logistics company at the event I’m chairing yesterday.

He’s so right, because so many serious IT projects are actually not IT projects – there’s business transformation projects. Without real business involvement (of the pigs and not the chickens kind, for all you agile fans out there) you’re going to hell in a handbasket.

There’s an additional wrinkle though. Is the business sponsor involved at the start of the project? Probably. What about once the initial project finishes and the investment moves into operational service? What then?

Has the risk gone away? Is nothing going to change from this point? Nooooo….so why do we focus so much on sponsors for projects, and not on the longer term? Is it because actually we think about sponsors more as people who will get our favourite projects off the ground, than people who will actually help us do what the business needs?

If you think about looking for business sponsors for services and capabilities, not for projects, then you’re on the path to a more sustainable future. If you focus on projects then the chances are that over time entropy will weave its crafty spell and the IT capability and the business need will diverge.


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