CIOs Discuss Prioritizing Projects by Business Value

Mike HarrisLast week I had the pleasure of speaking at The CIO and IT Security Forum in Miami. I also spoke at a CIO Forum this past fall. At these events, my presentations are delivered to small groups of CIOs/CISOs intentionally to allow an interactive and intimate dialogue. That said, I had about 35 people split across two presentations last week. My goal for these presentations is to offer ideas for using software business value to prioritize development projects at the strategic and tactical levels, to provide practical examples, and, above all, to evangelize to try to get more companies doing this stuff – visualizing the business value of their software development efforts.

The attendees were very engaged in this topic. Most of their interest was focused on using cost of delay and weighted shortest job first approaches to prioritize projects. In the first session, the audience requested I go through the calculations in detail, so I incorporated that into the second presentation and again got a positive response. There was something of an “aha” moment in both sessions as they realized that coming up with relative business value for prioritization purposes is actually a practical proposition.

In the first session, we had a substantial group of CISOs, and we talked about where information security investments fit in the business value of software – a particular piece of software development could result in a reduction of risk, but all software development has the potential to add risk of a vulnerability if security is ignored or is simply paid lip service. 

Of the 35 or so participants, just two claimed to attempt to prioritize by business value. They were able to describe their approaches to the other participants. This is one of the great things about CIO Forum events – participants learn as much from their peers as they do from the presenters, and I always try to encourage this interchange during my sessions.

Do you prioritize your software development initiatives by business value? If not, what criteria do you use to prioritize your projects?  If you’d like to learn more about focusing on software business value to prioritize your efforts, click here for white papers, additional blogs, and webinars on the topic.


Mike Harris
CEO

 

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00

Visualizing the Value Through Information Radiators and Business Dashboards

Information RadiatorIn the Agile world, the term information radiator is now commonly used as a term for a visual display showing the status of a project. According to Alistair Cockburn, who coined the term, “An Information radiator is a display posted in a place where people can see it as they work or walk by. It shows readers information they care about without having to ask anyone a question. This means more communication with fewer interruptions."

These information radiators used in the IT world are very similar to the business dashboards that have become widely used by management and C-level executives on the business side.  Business dashboards offer “at-a-glance views of KPIs (key performance indicators) relevant to a particular objective or business process” (Wikipedia).  Just like the dashboard on your car, a business dashboard will quickly alert you if there is an issue and provide other key information to help you quickly understand the current status.

Information radiators and business dashboards have many similarities. They both are designed with a human’s need to visualize something in order to better understand it. They are both simple and easily understood at a glance. They provide up-to-date, valuable information on a project or process and enable anyone on the team, even external stakeholders such as the C-level, to gain a clear view of where a project or process stands and if there are any bottlenecks that need to be addressed. 

In the world of software development, where the C-level needs to be informed on a high level about a project, an information radiator can be a powerful way to simplify complex data and present it visually to executives who are very familiar with viewing business dashboards on a frequent basis in other parts of the organization. Leveraging these powerful visualization tools, any authorized individual within an organization can gain a better understanding of the business value of the software development project without in-depth, time-consuming reports or meetings.

Do you use information radiators, business dashboards, or another visual tool to manage your software development projects and demonstrate the value to the business?  If so, I’d be interested in hearing from you about what you see as the biggest benefit your organization gains from using visual tools. Do they help you get stronger buy-in from your internal customers?  Do they keep your IT team more on track?


Mike Harris
CEO

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
Categories :

IT as a Value Center

IT Value CenterIT is often considered a Cost Center for an organization. It is viewed as an overhead expense and when determining which projects should move forward, senior management tends to considers cost of the IT projects as the key criteria for that decision. In more recent years, some organizations have begun to look at it in terms of a Profit Center, where the IT projects actually generate revenue for the organization and positively impact the bottom line. This has been beneficial for IT departments helping them to prove their worth within the organization.

This week, my new white paper, “IT as a Value Center (not a Profit nor a Cost Center),” was published, where I discussed yet another transformation the IT industry needs to make. CIOs (and an organization’s entire senior management team) need to consider IT as a Value Center. By doing so, organizations will keep a lens on maximizing value through proper prioritization of upgrades and enhancements of existing technologies to meet the ever-changing needs of their customers (both external and internal).  

The white paper discusses the differences between the three schools of thought: Cost vs. Profit vs. Value. In my view, the value center approach flips today’s paradigm and positions IT decision-makers to focus on adding value to the balance sheet and to the customer experience. 

I welcome you to download the white paper and share your thoughts on IT as a Value Center. Have you tried this approach in your organization and, if so, has it driven a stronger collaboration among IT and the business units?

Mike Harris
CEO

 

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
Categories :

May Conferences with DCG Software Value

Last month we spoke at QAI's QUEST Conference and ITFMA's Financial World of IT Conference. Both conferences had a great turnout, and we are happy to report that we had engaged crowds for our presentations. Now we're looking forward to May. Here's where we're headed:

STAREast

STAREast is a TechWell conference focused exclusively on software testing and quality improvement. The conference runs May 1-6 in Orlando, but you can see CEO Mike Harris' presentation on May 4th at 1:45pm.

 

His presentation, "Budgeting, Estimation, Planning and #NoEstimates - They All Make Sense for Agile Testing!," shares a case study that provides an approach that “checks the box” for standard corporate estimation requirements, while staying true to the Agile planning and estimation processes. Using the Agile Planning Onion popularized by Mike Cohn, this approach includes team and project-level implementations of #NoEstimates concepts. Attendees will take away an approach that can be applied to testing for both small and large Agile efforts.

 

We've attended this conference several times, and we're interested to see what the hot topics are around testing this year.

 

CMMI Conference


CMMI's Capability Counts conference, May 10-11 in Annapolis, MD, is a must-attend for capability and process improvement enthusiasts. The conference has really broadened its focus to more than just the CMMI framework, allowing for more individuals to find value in attending.

 

For example, Tom Cagley, Vice President of Consulting, will be presenting on estimation. His presentation, "Budgeting, Estimation, Planning, #NoEstimates and the Agile Planning Onion - They ALL Make Sense,” part of the the “Advancing Your Capability” track, will discuss the many types of estimation, why they all have value and when they should be used (and in what combination).

CIO Forum

May 15-16 you can find Mike Harris back in Florida - this time in Miami - for The CIO Forum, which brings together senior-level IT executives to discuss critical, timely IT issues. Mike was invited back as a speaker for the conference (last year he spoke on the Value Visualization Framework). His presentation, "Portfolio Software Value Management," will discuss the strategic steps necessary to implement software value management at the portfolio level.

 

IIBA Philadelphia

 

Finally, if you're a member of The Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBA), you can catch Tom Cagley and Tony Manno, Vice President of Outsourced Services, presenting at the May 20th meeting on Agile Story Telling.

 

As always, we'll share links to these presentations once the conference are over. If you're attending any of these events, let us know - we always enjoy catching up with old friends or meeting new ones!

Written by Default at 05:00
Categories :

Value Metrics for Agile Governance

Value MetricsThe software development industry has made great strides in leveraging metrics to improve performance; however, the metrics being used in Agile implementations today are often focused on the team level and not on the organization as a whole. With the proper software value visibility metrics, an organization can better manage Agile software development initiatives to ensure these investments maximize the value potential.

An article I recently wrote that discussed these value metrics was published in Techwell’s Spring 2016 edition of Better Software magazine. In the article, I set the scene by discussing current practices, beginning with examples of metrics used in a waterfall organization: delivered as promised, productivity, timeliness, quality, and accuracy. Although these metrics can be tremendously valuable in many ways, they do not provide the necessary details for governance. I also discuss the metrics challenge for Agile and the differences between Agile and waterfall metrics. 

The significance of the article truly comes in the discussion of a solution that helps organizations implement value metrics that are useful to individual Agile teams as well as proving beneficial for executives. To learn more about my proposed solution, take a few minutes to read my Better Software article. I’d welcome your thoughts on the article or ideas you have to help improve software value.

Note: You can view the complete article by clicking on this link: Value Metrics for Agile Governance. You will be asked to subscribe to Better Software. It is quick and painless. You will then have access to the article, courtesy of Better Software magazine.

 

Mike Harris
DCG CEO

Written by Michael D. Harris at 08:49

"It's frustrating that there are so many failed software projects when I know from personal experience that it's possible to do so much better - and we can help." 
- Mike Harris, DCG Owner

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