In many IT organizations, the SDLC process improvement effort starts from the bottom up. The associates on the front lines are frustrated with the rework and lack of effectiveness of the status quo processes so they talk to their managers about making improvements.
This is great! But it’s not optimal. The resulting process improvements are sporadic, unfocused, and only address the pain point of the most frustrated or aggressive employees. A better approach is to treat process improvement as a project, with a project manager overseeing the effort. An IT process improvement effort needs to be thoroughly planned out because it has many traps and logical dependencies that others have learned the hard way thru experience; not the least of which is attempting to undergo an organizational culture change.
To properly do IT process improvement, like any other software project that is undertaken, you will need resources to be successful. Those resources can include people, software, hardware, training, travel, as well as normal operational overhead. The only people who can authorize or provide those resources are the IT Executives. When an IT executive gives time and resources to an effort, they signal to the organization that the effort is a priority to them, and therefore important. This starts the necessary momentum.
With Executives being key, this deserves some more explanation about what you may encounter when discussing this topic with them. Executives come in many flavors with regard to their opinion of process improvement. You need to know which you are dealing with to avoid wasting everyone’s time.
- Fully on board, provides resources.
- Nothing is wrong; won’t support the PI effort:
- Ok, do PI in spare time with no resources:
- Great idea, we’re too busy, go away:
- Everything is wrong:
- Convince me:
As you can see, all but the first one will require you to ‘sell’ the effort. There is no guarantee you will be successful. If you are not successful, understand that your proposal is not desired and tread lightly. PI is secondary to keeping your job.