About a month ago, I defined a value proposition as focusing on the nexus of business value, passion, and skills. Let’s use that lens to troubleshoot a problem within the IT team.
Do we have a situation where we cannot obtain budget, cannot get buy-in from the business stakeholders, or have a project stalled because we are waiting for input from people who will ultimately use the solution? That is most likely a situation with low business value and high team interest. The technology team wants it more than the end-user does. It is a sign that it is time to step back, reassess, and refactor the project plan.
How about a situation where the work is not getting done? It could be a situation with high value and high passion, but low skills. Perhaps some training should be baked into the project. Alternatively, it could be a situation with high value and high skills, but low passion. Perhaps the project needs to be refactored or pitched better to get buy-in from the team.
Most of the time, when there is friction in an IT team or with an IT project, I identify the cause as being out of alignment with the value proposition. It is not always easy getting back into alignment. Some things simply need to get done, regardless of whether they have high value or are interesting. More often than not, however, a few small changes to a project or an initiative to increase alignment puts things back in action.
Here are the eight states a team can be in, and possible next steps:
- Low value, low passion, low skills. Outsource the process to a partner based on cost.
- Low value, low passion, high skills. Automate the process leveraging the team’s experience.
- Low value, high passion, low skills. Redefine the passion into an area with value or skills.
- Low value, high passion, high skills. Automate the process leveraging the team’s experience, or find a way to leverage the team’s energy to drive business value.
- High value, low passion, low skills. Outsource the process to a partner based on quality.
- High value, low passion, high skills. Provide mentoring and boost time spent on aspects that are interesting.
- High value, high passion, low skills. Provide training and boost the team’s skill set.
- High value, high passion, high skills. Support the team and give the process your full attention.