As the name implies, our goal is to bridge business and IT. Research consistently shows that the greatest barrier to building that bridge is communicating what the business needs to do. Roughly 75% of all IT project failures are due to an inability to get requirements right. IT departments consistently report that defining business requirements is the biggest challenge they face.
Historically, we’ve assumed this problem is a function of competence and diligence. “If those people just knew what they were doing or were more careful, all these issues could’ve been avoided.” That assumption rests on a 5,000 year old theory of how our brain works that neuroscience has recently discovered is not just wrong, it’s as flawed as the notion the earth is flat!
The bridge between business and IT rests on an understanding of how our brain actually works. The bridge itself is built by putting “guardrails” around seven, previously unknown, mental processes that none of us can control—and that means changing our entire approach to business-IT communications. For those interested in an explanation of these mental processes and our simple Solution (see below) that can keep them from killing your IT projects, please download our free, no-obligation whitepaper: Bridging Business & IT. The Problem. The Cause. The Solution.
To help organizations bridge their business and tech teams we focus on the following: enterprise IT strategy and project execution of enterprise systems, robotic process automation, analytics, reporting, AI and cyber-security initiatives. Within these practice areas we offer clients three levels of services.
Training: We offer two courses. The first is a one-day introduction to the rampant IT project failure problem, its primary cause, and our Solution (see below). This course is the launch point for all of our engagements. It’s applicable for a wide audience from executives who set IT strategy to project teams in the implementation trenches. Our second, two-day course builds upon the first. This is a deep dive workshop designed to give a narrower audience—the business and IT members of a project team—hands-on experience implementing our Solution in a real-life, case study simulation. All classes are limited to no more than 20 participants and are conducted live, remote with two instructors to ensure a richer learning experience and ample individual attention.
Coaching: For those project teams wanting implementation support, mentoring, or just a sounding board for part or all of a large or complex IT project, one or more of our team may be available. Coaches are paired with clients based on industry and project domain expertise.
Consulting: Our goal is to teach clients how to fish and support them while they learn, but sometimes more is required. Whether it’s getting your arms around a problem, tackling a big project, or just not enough capacity to go around, sometimes you need more help. When that happens we’ll be there. We’ll get you the trained resources you need to figure out what’s going wrong and fix it.
Please contact us for a free consultation.or to learn more about our services, schedules and pricing.
Our Solution – A Combination of Neuroscience & the Business Execution Lifecycle
Sometimes a solution hides in plain sight. Sometimes a solution requires connecting two things that have never been connected before. This is one of those times. What follows is a high-level summary of our solution. For those who would like the whole story, please download our whitepaper: Bridging Business & IT. The Problem. The Cause. The Solution.
Throughout our lives we watch others misinterpret information or do things that seem illogical. We watch what we believe to be competent professionals forget to do basic things, to be blind to obvious dangers, or make incredibly stupid, easily avoidable mistakes. If we’re honest, we admit we do these things as well.
We’re usually quick to criticize these behaviors and explain them away. We say the offender was careless or distracted, tired or over-whelmed, absent-minded, unprofessional or worse, we question their intelligence. The unspoken presumption always lingering in the back of our mind is that this behavior is an anomaly. It could have been avoided, if only…
Neuroscientists have learned a lot about the human brain in the last 20 years. The most important thing they’ve learned is that this behavior is not an anomaly. This is the way human beings are wired. Another important discovery is that our brain is a pattern recognition engine that constantly builds and refines models to represent everything from the physical environment to virtual concepts. All knowledge is stored like holograms in our heads. Our minds-eye “sees” these multi-dimensional models and catalogs objects and locations based upon their “descriptions” and relative positions. Thinking is the act of “moving” from one model location to another.
We literally cannot think without a model. This can be problematic for two reasons. First, if we don’t already have a model that covers a certain topic or includes a piece of information, we have a very hard time even beginning to think about it. This is why as a species we’re horrible at learning from the past or anticipating problems that seem so obvious in hindsight. If we haven’t personally seen or encountered something, for us, it might as well not exists. Second, our models are not real. They are merely our personal interpretations of reality. The processes through which models (interpretations) are assembled are subject to a number of shortcuts, approximations, biases and limitations that are unique to us and completely beyond our awareness and control.
The foundational premise on which our entire approach to IT project communications and collecting business requirements is based—that what we perceive is accurate and universally agreed upon, that what we remember is right, that what we communicate is complete, that we control our thoughts and actions, and that models are nice but not necessary—is totally wrong.
We do not control our brains. Our brains control us in ways we never imagined. Models, process maps and storyboards aren’t just nice to have when defining a business process—they are absolutely necessary. Without a common model we individually can’t think about a process or collectively “see” the same thing.
The bridge between business and IT requires a common model of the business process that technology is intended to enable. Fortunately, a common model for a business process is another thing that hides in plain sight.
There are only four types of work role in any business, and business execution is not a linear exercise. Execution is a continuous cycle with four distinct stages and twelve steps that are always present in the same sequence in every business process. Those four stages align with the four types of business work role.
- Workers do the actual work.
- Managers organize, schedule, supervise and coordinate activity.
- Analysts take the data that comes from workers and managers and assess performance.
- Executives receive the assessments and refine the process or innovate to do better next time.
We all know these things, but we never think about it this way.
Once you understand that business-people are always going to miss, forget or misinterpret key parts of a business process, and that tech teams are always going to struggle to think about things they’ve never seen before, you realize that you need to put guardrails around these behaviors that no one can control. The guardrail we’ve developed (our bridge) is a roadmap—a checklist of sorts—based on a model of the business execution lifecycle that uses open ended questions to touch on all the critical stages and steps of the cycle to ensure project teams build common and complete models they all can see and understand. A high-level summary of this roadmap and model is shown below.
The Business Execution Lifecycle
Our roadmap focuses on the business—not the technology. It’s a framework for process mining and an inventory of business needs, not a prescription of technology solutions. We believe business needs always come first. We also believe that technology offers multiple ways to meet any particular requirement. But you have to know your needs before you can find the best solution.
It’s said that “it’s the simple stuff that’ll kill you.” This roadmap will help you catch the simple stuff—details you probably would have overlooked—so you can eliminate the simple oversights that cause 75% of large IT projects and 85% of AI and Big Data projects to fail. By systematically applying lessons learned from neuroscience to a simple and elegant checklist that’s customized for enterprise IT projects, we’re filling the silent voids that hurt most projects.
If you’d like more information, please download our white paper, Bridging Business & IT. The Problem. The Cause. The Solution. If you want to learn about our services contact us for a free consultation.