a laptop on a couch
Project Management

There’s No Such Thing as an IT Project

Is it strange if I tell you that there’s no such thing as an IT project in the realm of business? You might be thinking, “Well, hang on a minute, projects with the introduction of a new IT software or an upgrade in the existing system would certainly qualify as an IT project, right?” Let me retreat a bit and clarify that it’s not quite as simple as that.

Imagine this scenario: Your company wants to implement the latest version of Oracle Database. Is it an IT project? If you believe it’s primarily about getting a shiny new piece of technology on board, then I’d have to shake my head no. What’s it then? It’s all about introducing new productivity tools into the business. It’s a project for creating business change.

Picture another situation: Your team is acquiring a new software package for managing account payables. Surely, this is an IT project, right? Again, not exactly. Although it may seem like it’s about IT, it’s really about changing business practice. Once again, it’s about business change.

What if two organizations decide to share their IT infrastructures? Sounds very techie, so it must be an IT project, right? Surprisingly (or not so surprisingly at this point), no, it’s not. It’s primarily about transforming the way business is done. Here again, we see the running theme: it’s about business change.

The Heart of the Matter: Business Change

What’s the point of all these examples? It’s simple – it’s time to bid farewell to the idea that projects are all about implementing new technologies. Instead let’s tip our hats to what they truly are: business transformation initiatives. Now, don’t get me wrong, much business change is empowered by the magic of information technology – but most projects aren’t solely all about IT.

If we wish to bridge that frequently discussed business-IT gap, we must start looking at IT not as the epicenter of change, but rather as a catalyst for it. Such projects should be driven by the business, not by the IT department itself.

Therefore, we need the IT organization to focus on business objectives. It’s the dawning of a new era where IT is an enabler and not the instigator of change. Now, this is not a journey that will be covered overnight. It requires a strong commitment from the IT world to understand the business objectives and cultivate a common culture between business and IT.

For all this to happen, we need to wipe out the concept of ‘IT Project’ from our dictionaries and replace it with ‘Business Change Project’ or ‘Transformation Project’. Remember: Business change – that’s the name of the game.

Max Johnson

Max Johnson is currently a Vice President at a Fortunate 100 company. He has also held multiple leadership positions at two startups previously. When he is not busy working, you can find him surfing at the beach or skiing in the mountains.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *