If you don’t have the time to read this article to the end, I’ll just give you my answer right here: Share Information.
You may be wondering “What information?”, “What is he talking about?”, and “Why is this going to help?”, but my answer will remain the same, sharing your strategic vision. Sharing your short and long-term plans is the best way to keep your team motivated and engaged. The same applies to IT and Technology; failing to share information will cost you lots of money.
Analogies are my thing. I like to use analogies to help explain any concept, regardless of its complexity.
Let’s say you are a general, and your troops are in a defensive position, along a river your enemy is constantly trying to cross. They are using a bridge that crosses that river, right down the middle of your line of defense. A tactical decision would be to destroy the bridge. But what if you wanted to use that bridge to your advantage? You may want to launch an attack tomorrow using that bridge. You would want to keep the bridge intact. If you were to share this plan with your troops, it will motivate them to defend the line without destroying the bridge. Sounds easy enough, right? But what if your plan is even more complex? You make it appear that you will use the bridge for an attack, only to attack elsewhere. Fortunately, we are not at war and we do not need to send people to battle, but we will lose members of our team if we make them work on projects that they do not understand.
Your Technology team will be more motivated when they not only know WHY they are working on a project, but also when they are better equipped to make the RIGHT decisions pertaining to that project. For example, you have asked your technology team to create a new automation tool. Your team worked diligently on selecting the right technology for the new tool.
Finally, after weeks of research, creating proof of concepts and building prototypes, a selection is finally made. Multi-year contracts are then signed, licenses are acquired, and your team begins to work on creating the new technology that has been selected. Fast forward six months into the project, an announcement is made: “We just acquired a competitor and we will need to merge and integrate with their products….” Unfortunately, the company that was acquired is using a technology that is not compatible with what your team has selected and has been working on for the past six months. What’s even more frustrating is that this technology was on the short list of possible options but did not get selected for one reason or another. Had your Technology team had this information beforehand, it would have allowed your team to make the RIGHT decision, at the time of selection even if it was not the BEST decision at the time.
One reason that is commonly used for not sharing enough information with the IT/Technology department is, “We are an agile company and we are using agile methodology.” Unfortunately, this is a common mistake made by many technology and business leaders. Using an agile methodology is the same as saying that you don’t need to define every detail of your future product before you start to build it, to remain nimble and to be able to pivot at any point. Yes, this is true, but using an agile methodology doesn’t mean that you don’t still need a roadmap, a strategic vision, and a plan in place. You need to know what your goal is and supply all the details necessary, especially with information that you may already have.
Sharing as much information as possible with your IT/Technology department will keep members of the team motivated and focused on the RIGHT things. This will allow them to make the RIGHT decisions, have the RIGHT priorities, and the RIGHT abilities to achieve your goal.
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