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What’s Missing When Business and Technology Managers Speak to Each Other

Technologists and business managers working through a project.Since I first created my web site, I’ve had two opposite reactions:  1) business managers and technology managers work together very effectively and your services are not necessary; and 2) your services are vital, despite what technologists and business managers might say — no one wants to admit we still have problems.

Here is what I think is lacking between the two parties and are essential to improving the relationship if their goal is to create a productive environment leading to successful technology implementations and fulfilling partnerships:

  • Trust, which drives all human relationships, is often lacking due to arcane project accounting, lack of cost transparency, technologists not acting with urgency because there’s a missing project code or cost center to charge to, and an unwillingness by both parties to forget the past and move forward.
  • Positive Perception of technologists by the business due to a perceived lack of responsiveness, bureaucratic processes and high costs.
  • Clear Business Requirements are often left to the technologists to write, leaving the impression that the business does not know what it wants, opening technologists to criticism when the deliverable is not what was expected and some guessing by the technology organization as the business changes its plans.  It raises the question about the business organization’s commitment.
  • Listening by both parties in an active and attentive manner in order to hear what the other party wants to say so each party can accurately restate the opinions and desires of the other.  Uniformity of understanding is key.  It begins with talking to each other with respect and giving full attention when someone else is speaking.
  • Equal Expectations due to the notion that implementing corporate IT is as simple as downloading consumer-based software — technologists need to set new targets to meet users’ external experiences and business managers should acknowledge appreciation for the complexity of a corporate environment.  The cloud has made it more difficult for technologists to lean on complexity when many services are so easily accessible via a seemingly simple connection.

All these points of interaction can be addressed, fixed, enhanced and made into part of the daily relationship between two highly qualified business organizations.

I wonder what you think the most common mistakes are when business managers and technology managers talk about a current or upcoming project.  Feel free to let me know.