During a recent dinner conversion with a CIO friend, I was surprised to learn that his organization was having challenges delivering the applications and IT services on a timely enough manner that the business needs. The business is taking too long to approve the budget for major tech projects to start, then develop and deploy, and the CIO expressed frustration how it is always behind the demand curve and following where it should likely be in the market. His level of frustration as he described the situation was painted all over his brow.
Hearing this was surprising to me; after all, we’ve been writing about how such problems delivering with speed and agility are challenges that are designed to be solved by DevOps, agile development methods, microservices and all of the things we focus on here at DevOps.com and Container Journal.
The discussion we had got me wondering how common this situation remains. How many companies are still struggling with their ability to retool themselves into more agile developers? In the late ’90s it was common for tech projects to fail. I recall surveys I reported on that found 60 percent, or higher, failure rates of large projects. But back then software rollouts were truly big bangs. There were years of development time and hundreds of physical servers and thousands of endpoints that had to all be managed. There existed layers and layers of committees and bureaucracies between the developers, IT admins and business leadership. IT is supposed to have moved beyond all of that.
Unfortunately, however, if recent surveys are any indication, it still seems very common.
A survey conducted last year by portfolio management provider Innotas found that more than half of tech projects are not well aligned with the goals of the business. The survey, the annual “Project and Portfolio Management Landscape survey,” also found that more than 61 percent of IT professionals questioned did not think that they have adequate resources to manage demand for tech projects in their organization.
Part of the challenge may be that there’s inadequate project management in place at many organizations. The survey found that 38.7 percent of respondents didn’t have a project management office at their organization; however, 16 percent are building such offices. Additionally, 25 percent of those surveyed said they don’t have a formal methodology to prioritize projects.
Other areas of concern ranged from project prioritization (26 percent) and alignment (13.8 percent). Attaining benefits and finding the appropriate budget were also challenges at 12 percent or fewer of organizations surveyed.
This is concerning, as more enterprises are doing everything they can to move more swiftly (or, at least say that they are). As we covered in “Digital Transformation Strains Traditional IT,” according to a recent report published by Salesforce’s “2016 State of IT,” IT leaders are focusing on mobile apps, migration to the cloud, building adequate cybersecurity/incident response, customer-facing digital apps and productivity apps.
The Salesforce report found that 68 percent of respondents are increasing their tech budgets on mobile apps, cloud and security. The majority (63 percent) of respondents also said they plan to increase their budgets allocated to cybersecurity, while 62 percent will spend more on employee productivity apps.
Some of the things that has come up, repeatedly, in my conversations with other CIOs is that those companies that are struggling have poor business-to-IT relationships and ongoing feedback. This creates a lot of distrust and poorly aligned priorities.
We covered a lot of this earlier in a number of posts, which are available here: