Nothing complicates the life of a CIO and their IT group more than unmet expectations by their clients and business partners. Too often, the most meaningful result of a project is not well clarified and defined, supplanted by a rush to do get something done.

What is most annoying about this is that the failure to identify the most important, high value results (versus the reports, projects or activities requested) produces problems including:

  • Redoing work once they realize there is a gap between what was requested and the result that was expected (but not defined)
  • Creating bad feelings with business partners over their perceptions that as the experts the IT group should have known and guided them better
  • Being unappreciated and not respected for delivering great work when the clients don’t understand the value of what was produced

Even with agile development, there needs to be a clear, high value, and meaningful result worth the effort, time, energy, and dedication of resources – before you even start.

Why does this happen, and what can you do about it?

The single most obvious cause of a project failing to deliver meaningful value – and thus disappointing clients – is a lack of clarity about the meaningful outcomes required. Of course these outcomes must be consistent and aligned with the important strategic objectives of the organizations.

So what normally happens is the pressure of a perceived immediate need drives a request for a solution that may not be (and often is not):

  • Strategically important
  • Of high priority
  • Clear, well-defined, and truly meaningful
  • Tied to critical results the client really needs in their organization

All too often, in the interest of “good client service,” the CIO and his or her IT team will say yes to a request that is not grounded in one (or all) of the four points above. A project that does not meet the 4 criteria above will end up being anywhere from a waste of effort to a potential disaster in the making.

Every request, project, outcome and agreement must always be based on a result of significant impact and value – and I do mean a result. High–value, results–driven engagements are the only kind that should be accepted.

Too many requests and projects are based only on a perceived need or desire for a small advancement or a piece of information. Unless they are tied to clear and compelling results that matter, they hold a high likelihood of ending up as a big problem. Most IT organizations suffer from too many unimportant and low value activities taking precedence over important and meaningful priorities.

It is critical to prioritize new projects and ensure that your organization, clients, and business partners’ most critical priorities are the central focus of your attention – and your commitments.

The art of facilitating dialogue with clients that clarify, connect, and upgrade their initial requests to a high value outcome is a critical and essential skill. This ability to upgrade a request into a high value outcome is an elevator of success, enhanced professional standing, and the ability to become an indispensable partner in your clients’ success.

To accelerating and elevating your success,


PS: if you are interested in ways to significantly improve your client engagements, and demonstrate your impact and value as a top business leader, contact us for a brief, no-obligation conversation to demonstrate how profound these results can be. or 978-369-4525