Business Project vs IT Project?

Business project vs IT project. This is the debate that never wins me, friends. The people that I debate this with have a strong sense that Information Technology (I.T.) is the world. And therefore how dare I have a different point of view.

Sorry guys, but since when did I.T. run the business?  The business exists to provide a service to its customers. I.T. is a means of making that happen. Therefore if a project for the business delivers on providing a better service to the business and this is enabled through an I.T. system, then isn’t it a business project?

Who owns the outcome?

The outcome of the project is ‘the business.’  They are the ones who gain the benefit from the IT system change or implementation. IT, the department or IT the system, is the enabler.

A project is usually developed to enhance business outcomes.  That may be through providing better customer service. Or it might be to generate efficiencies in processing, therefore, cutting costs.  Whatever the reason for the need for IT, it is all centred on business outcomes.

Who pays for the project?

Very rarely will IT pay for the IT system. Yes, there may be an overall IT budget that is used.  And where does that budget come from?  Business operating expense.

Usually, though, IT will tell the business that in order to have a system, they need to fund the project. The business funds the project to bring about change in the business. That fact that it is IT related, is no different to running a project to change processes. The business pays for the service to create the change they desire.

business projectWho has to deal with unhappy customers if it doesn’t work?

The answer to this question is the business, of course.

Not I.T. in most of the cases that I have seen.  It’s been the business that has it’s reputation on the line if the system isn’t delivered on time, to enhance its customer service.  It’s the business who sets aside the budget for the project in its annual budget allocation AND it’s the business who have to deal first hand with the unhappy customers if the system isn’t working when it should be and delivering for their customers.  I.T. project, really!!

A Business PM vs an IT PM

Whilst I understand that I.T. project managers have a lot of technical skill and know-how, does that lessen my skill and know how in pulling the total project together?  I only deal with the business SME’s, and marketing and legal, and finance, and any other area that is going to be part of the broader project team.. oh and did I say, manage the team meetings and ensuring that my customer (the business owner) is happy with the progress and outcomes of the project.

It’s a business project!

I.T. is one component of what I see as a business project.  Yes, in some cases it is a very important part of the project, but back to my opening point, without the businesses need for service, there would be NO NEED FOR I.T.

I’m sure that the debate will continue on this one for a long time, as long as there is I.T.  And no matter how much I might stand on my soapbox, being a female in a very male-dominated I.T. world, I somehow don’t think that I’m going to win.

Because, of course, I.T. rules the world.