Just say “no”

Just say no

We need to press the “no” button more frequently.

Readers of this blog will know I am frequently out and about with customers looking at their IT processes. One thing is becoming abundantly clear – we don’t know how to say “no”.

As we move through the lifecycle we see, more and more often, our upstream colleague handover of incomplete, inaccurate, unapproved, unfunded, unplanned, non-compliant, non-conforming, exception-based information. And we take it. We then spend countless hours (which we should start to count) getting the information into a form that we use so we can do our job. But these hours take away from our planned time and we end up rushing and our content and quality suffer and we do the self-same thing to our colleague downstream.

And no one says “no”.

I met with an organization recently who told me that requirements could be “Accepted” or “Accepted with Comments” – there was no “Reject” option. Another client said that projects were either “Approved and Funded”, “Approved and Not Yet Funded” and “Pending” – and some projects were pending for more than a decade.

A development manager told me that 20% of her team’s time was spent refining requirements with the business analyst and the user. A test manager told me she expected 2 to 3 turnovers from development but usually got 6 to 8. A project manager showed me statistics that proved they had never missed a date by more than a week and that also showed they usually drop 30% of the original, approved, content in each project cycle.

Would the CFO accept a balance sheet that didn’t balance? Would the Order Entry Specialist accept an order for goods that we don’t sell or ship to a non-existent address for a customer who hasn’t paid their bill? Would HR give you a pass on signing the corporate confidentiality agreement? No. No. And thrice, NO!

So, my friends in IT, it is time to step up and say the word. Your job is hard enough without you compensating for someone else’s lack of diligence. Let’s fix this problem at the source.

And make sure YOU are part of the solution.

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