Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness
This is a guest post by Mark Bestauros on what he’s learned about Value Realization at Microsoft. You can think of Value Realization as simply the value extracted from a process or project. Mark is the Microsoft IT Principal Business Value Realization manager, and a member of the Microsoft IT Portfolio Management Team, where he is responsible for the optimization of a significant IT spend across the Microsoft businesses. Mark is also responsible for the Value Tracking for projects in scope, and that has led to some big breakthroughs in terms of reporting the value of IT investments back to the business, and demonstrating the power of Value Realization.
I’ve asked Mark to share some of his key insights and lessons learned from his adventures at Microsoft in the art and science of Value Realization.
Without further ado, here is Mark Bestauros on Value Realization …
The Value conversation serves two main purposes in IT:
To accomplish the first goal, the organization need to have the Value conversation tied to the Personal Commitments for all those involved in IT work, and equally importantly, making sure that the a mutual understanding of priority positioning of the “Value” focus in the Conditions of Satisfaction conversations that usually take place between IT organizations and the benefiting business partners from the IT effort.
Without having the Value activities reflected in the commitments and missing in IT native processes, almost all involved in project work automatically de-prioritize the Value work, starting with turning a blind eye on a missing business case analysis at the inception point and ending with walking away immediately after a project Pre-deployment sign off meeting, washing their hands from any commitment to measure and evaluate the actual benefits hoped for at the Envision or “Plan” phase.
The key to success is to embed Value experts at the business and IT border checkpoints. You need Value experts who are well versed in understanding how to sell the Value argument. You also need professionals who can guide the average IT professional through estimating effectively (versus guestimating). You also need to embed the most cost effective, and time effective, means to measure baselines and project logical improvement deltas at the business and IT border checkpoints. This will help you facilitate effective Portfolio Planning and prioritize demand more effectively, prior to having the all up IT/Business Leadership Team Planning marathons.
Evidencing the argument about the viability of the IT organization in any company with actual Realized Value is very compelling only if the Value reported passes these tests:
There are few characteristics or knowledge areas that makes a value practitioner successful in changing the culture and move the Value Organizational Maturity in the right direction:
A value practitioner can’t achieve that alone, while overcoming organizational undisciplined Value approaches if any exist at all, lacking individuals Value commitments and the unwillingness of the business customers to engage in meaningful Value (BCA, VRF or BVR efforts), he/she needs air cover and a value sponsors (usually are found in the Finance Community or if lucky, a CIO or a member of two of the senior leadership) to facilitate the conversation and help open the doors.
On the tactical and execution level the Value practitioner needs to:
The three technical challenges are primarily:
There are known techniques that address each, and there are some that I had to improvise to make them fit the maturity stage of the target organization. In all cases, getting stakeholder agreement to the assumptions, transferring functions, and using the Dollar as an IT solution provide horse power to go a long way.
This I don't agree with. Sure on a corporate scale it works. I don't blame you for it as it is corporate which you know. You have to consider those people out who are all about money. It's true, they do exist.
For people like me (who aren't awesome enough to work at Microsoft) we have to deal with the everyday hack business. So much so that I find myself back on the tools in construction. Even though I think about programming all day.
I'm just being realistic. The only reason I read J.D Meier's Blog is because he's all about life and not Software Development. One day...
@ Dragan -- Thank you.
Here's the trick for applying Value Realization to life:
- Identify who the stakeholders are (you, your friends, your fammily, whoever)
- Identify what your stakeholders value (their values hiearchy)
- Identify the benefits they care about (they'll vary from tangible to intangible)
- Prioritize around the values, criteria, and impact
- Find ways to deliver on the benefits, whether that's better, faster, cheaper
- Find creative ways to illuminate your delivery of the benefits (some will be observable, some measurable, some quantifiable, some financial, etc.)
- Check that your "stakeholders" acknowledge the benefits
Obviously, you don't need to apply this to all areas of life. But it's like a saying my friend's dentist uses: "You don't need to floss all your teeth. Just the ones you want to keep."