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Give project stars the red carpet treatment

Give project stars the red carpet treatment

When Sir Ralph Norris speaks out on a key reason why business projects with major technology components fail, you simply have to listen.

When Sir Ralph Norris speaks out on a key reason why business projects with major technology components fail, you simply have to listen. “Often, you find companies don’t necessarily put their ‘A-team’ of business people in to help with a new systems implementation,” says Norris, who recently spoke with CIO New Zealand about his post-CEO roles, which now include directorships, mentoring and helping community organisations.

“They usually put their B- or C-grade players there to assist with the testing, at the defining of requirements, scoping and things like that.”

Make sure those “stars” are committed to the project to make sure the implementation is “first class”, he continues. “They are business projects, so you have to have your best business nous.”

Norris also shared this simple — even obvious — insight in his keynote at the recent CFO Summit in Auckland.

Yet, who among us can honestly say we have not worked at one time for companies that have failed to heed this advice? How many CIOs and their teams are suffering because business units have not assigned their “stars” to work on what are now referred to in business jargon as “transformation programmes”?

I mention this because Geoff Lazberger, a seasoned CIO, raises the same concern.

In his column entitled, Build a great team, not a mediocre one, Lazberger writes, “If you are resourcing a critical project which is complex and with a high likelihood of failure, you will increase your chances of success by selecting team players who have faced similar situations with enthusiasm.

"What makes a great swimmer is not how long they’ve been in the pool, but how many laps they have done whilst in it."

The bottom line? Make sure your “star” performers walk the red carpet towards implementation.

Divina Paredes (@divinap ) is editor of CIO New Zealand.

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