Tuesday, January 15, 2002

Not to beat the subject of TCO to death, but I did come across what I consider to be a well conceived plan by the University of Colorado in A Vision and Plan for Implementing Total Cost of Ownership Strategies. Somebody apparently does understand TCO.

2002 may prove to be the year CIOs finally wake up and make the lawyers wealthy. I am basing this on a January 14, 2002 eWeek article written by Dennis Fisher titled Software Liability Gaining Attention. My personal take: it's about time.

Governance is a topic that, like TCO, is little understood. In fact, it's too often ignored, which accounts for IT running amok with half-baked projects that are eventually scrapped or, if they succeed, add no real value to the business in the first place. Some companies attempt to implement a program management office to oversee projects, which is fine once projects are approved and initiated, but a PMO is no replacement for governance. One problem in the US is we are so enamored with the Project Management Institute's PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) that we overlook its many shortcomings, not the least of which is its emphasis on process to the exclusion of the real objective of project management - delivering something. I much prefer the UK PM standard called PRINCE2. PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN a Controlled Environment, version 2. If you're not familiar with PRINCE2, these articles from the PRINCE User Group, or my Amazon reviews of Prince 2: A Practical Handbook (also reviewed by Linda Zarate) and Managing Sucessful Projects with Prince2 summarize it. In a nutshell, PRINCE2 makes provisions for both governance and a PMO.

Among the best governance resources I've compiled are:

For my friends at Kuwait National Petroleum Company: Putting Quality Information in the Hands of Oil and Gas Knowledge Workers is related to governance, and is also an industry-specific article that addresses business/IT alignment in the oil industry.

When governance doesn't work the next step is outsourcing. Yes, that's an extreme statement that is tainted with more than a little hyperbole. At this hour I'm entitled to indulge myself. Outsourcing is one business decision that should be made with care and copious amounts of due diligence. Templeton College, University of Oxford has a large and valuable collection of Research Papers that will support the decision making process with respect to outsourcing. Among the papers that address outsourcing I found the following particularly useful: Developing A Risk Framework For IT Outsourcing Strategy (supports due diligence), Relationships in IT Outsourcing: A Stakeholder Perspective (aligned to PRINCE2) and Exploring Information Technology Outsourcing Relationships: Theory and Practice.

One final gem to share: Systems Engineering Process is a collection of software engineering and production support processes, most in MS Word format, that cover the full spectrum of application and service delivery.

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