StickyMinds Interview with Michael Harris


Last week, StickyMinds, a popular online community for software developers, published an interview with DCG’s CEO, Michael Harris, regarding the Value Visualization of IT, titled, “The ‘Show Me the Money’ Approach to Software Development.”

In the interview, Mike discussed the importance of all stakeholders being able to “Visualize the Value” of a software development project and how it can help software development teams effectively collaborate with business units on IT initiatives to drive better decision making and improve value flow.

During the interview, Mike also shared his Value Visualization Framework, briefly walking through the five-step process designed to help stakeholders clearly understand the goals of a project and prioritize by value.

To listen to the 15-minute interview or read the transcript, click here.

Written by Default at 05:00
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The Value Visualization Framework

The Value Visualization Framework (VVF) was developed by Mike Harris, President and CEO of David Consulting Group, to address some of the current challenges in software development, namely that most initiatives are driven by technology and time-to-completion rather than economic value.

The VVF addresses this issue by fostering collaboration between the BU and IT to jointly set and measure value-focused goals. In doing so, IT becomes a strategic contributor to the organization. Here's what the 5-step framework looks like:

Value Visualization Framework

The key is that the VVF enables IT and the BU to track actual versus target goals in order to make timely adjustments (or terminate a project, if necessary). Further, use of the framework facilitates cost savings and improves value flow throughout the organization.

Of course, this is just a high-level overview; more information about the framework is available here. Mike Harris is also available to speak about the VVF and other related topics. Learn more about his background here.

Questions? Comments? As always, we want to hear them! Leave a comment below or email Mike directly!

Written by Default at 05:00
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Corporate Executives Focus on IT's Shortcomings

MikeI read an article in Baseline that is worth sharing, “Corporate Executives Focus on IT Shortcomings.” The article indicates that management is finally paying attention to the fact that IT can, in fact, contribute to strategic business objectives. But the increased attention is just resulting in increased pressure on IT (and some unrealistic expectations).

A recent McKinsey Global Survey, IT Under Pressure, outlines some of the ways in which corporate thinks IT should improve – and how it should go about making those improvements.

Some of what I consider to be the most interesting responses are below:

  • 48% of the respondents expect the IT team to improve the cost of efficiency of business processes, compared with 45% in 2011.
  • 31% of the respondents want the tech department to reduce IT costs.
  • 37% of the respondents believe that IT helps the business enter new markets – down from 57% in 2011.
  • 45% of the respondents believe that IT should improve its business-focused accountability for IT projects.

There are a number of other interesting responses, so it’s worth giving the article some time. 

Managing the relationship between the business and IT definitely isn’t easy. While it’s certainly nice that the business is (finally) paying attention to IT, it can lead to some difficult expectations. IT can – and should – contribute to the business, and this is something that we can help with. We offer a number of Business Value of IT services that help the business and IT to open the lines of communication and establish shared expectations and goals, setting the path for a successful, long-term relationship that benefits both parties.

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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Mckinsey Findings Support Value of Agile - But More is Needed

MikeWe are always on the lookout for industry data to support or refute our views on Agile (see the Trusted Advisor report, "Data to Suggest That Agile Has Had A Positive Impact on Performance"). In this case, it was pleasing to see supportive data in a recent report from McKinsey, “How winning banks refocus their IT budgets for digital.”

One such finding revealed in the article is that “high-capability” banks tend to spend less on day-to-day IT operations; in fact, McKinsey found that, for application development, the capabilities most related to lower spending were:

  • Effective demand management
  • Centralized application-architecture governance
  • Use of Agile software development

The report states that, on average, banks with self-assessed high capabilities in these areas devote only 3.5 percent of the bank’s total expenses to application development, while banks with lower capabilities allocate as much as 8.2 percent of expenses to the area. What’s more, this difference in spending is not attributable to the elimination of discretionary projects. Mckinsey found that banks with high capabilities in areas related to application development, on average, manage to invest 62 percent of their application-development spending on customer-facing applications, compared with only 47 percent for banks with lower capabilities.

It’s an interesting report and I believe that these findings are applicable to other industries.  Of course, the three critical capabilities taken together amount to more than just Scrum.  Do you think that your organization can claim high capabilities in these areas?  What challenges do you see?

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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Can Process Be the CIO’s Secret Weapon?


We’ve touched on this topic before on the blog (here and here, for example), and it always bears repeating – the role of the CIO isn’t just to stay within the IT department and keep things running. That’s the old way of doing things. The best way of adding value these days involves the CIO actively stepping outside of IT to impact the business as a whole.

According to CIO magazine, one way of doing this is helping to streamline business processes. This shift requires a CIO to understand the business, possess organizational skills and apply the process perspective that most CIOs have in order to give the business insight into employees, customers and business partners that other executives may struggle to provide.

An example of this concept at work involves Procter & Gamble’s CIO Filippo Passerini, who teamed IT up with R&D to virtualize the process of redesigning consumer product packaging using 3-D design software; as a result, a mock up now takes hours instead of weeks.

All CIOs have some ability to play a leadership role within the business by utilizing their resources for the good of the business as a whole. CIO Magazine purports that the following steps will help any CIO achieve this:

  • Understanding the business, including competition and the value of the products/services provided.
  • Understanding key processes across the enterprise and then identifying areas of improvement.
  • Collaborating with other executives to execute improvements.
  • Empowering employees to learn more about how business processes operate.

What other steps can a CIO take to streamline business processes? Do you think that this is achievable in today’s business environment?

Read the full article from CIO Magazine, “Where Process is King.”

Mike Harris
DCG President

Written by Michael D. Harris at 05:00
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"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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