Thursday, March 12, 2009

IT Alignment over the years, the story and history part 2

This series of posts is in honor of the newly released book from NTEN called Managing Technology to Meet your Mission.  We are having a release party on March 31, its a free online party, so join us! And now for our regurlarly scheduled program:

As a group we fumbled around for a couple years after 2004 focusing on technology and how to get people to like it and how to make it all work better. We did have some awesome collaboration and conversation though. We still werent making the progress that the group wanted though.

Then we started a string of conferences to get YMCA tech staff together regionally. These conferences crossed topics of technology, purchasing, HR, Finance and other areas. They were small 75-100 people but large in benefit. Many people told me that these events were the most beneficial conferences they had ever been to. Phenomenal networking and tactical sessions.

However these conferences still failed to do one thing, they didnt change the culture of technology because they only involved the tech staff. Then it was up to the tech staff to go back to their YMCA and try to create that change all alone again. Sure these staff learned ways to make the change happen, but we often get so busy when we get back to work, it just doesnt happen.

Plus we have come to learn that this change may not be successful with IT driving it.

Still those conferences were great, lots of life long lessons and friends were created.  So then we started writing some great resources like a YMCA version of Healthy and Secure Computing from TechSoup and a long paper called Strengthening the YMCA mission through Technology (32 pages of tech talk).

Finally the group created a coup, a mutiny of sorts and told me I was going about this all wrong. What we really needed was a pretty color picture that we could show our CEOs that would convey all of these messages in a format that was easy to understand, not overwhelming and would just start a conversation. They didnt need big resources or long detailed documents, those are easy to find. What they really needed was something "eye catching and made the point quickly." So off we went.

I was so excited, I was thinking, oh this will be so easy. Making an effective diagram has to be easier than writing a long paper. Boy was I wrong.

Picture = 1,000 words, but creating a good picture is harder than writing 1,000 words.

I tried to come up with a picture instead of writing that sentence, but couldn't ;-)

So that marked the next turning point which will be part 3.

Read Part 3 of our IT Alignment over the years or here is part 1 if you missed it.

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