Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Practices for IT stewardship

I completely agree! Information Technologies role is shifting into stewardship away from control. There are many forces at play that are leading to this end and this linked article does a good job of identifying these forces. As the article points out, much of the change will be a gradual cultural change and there are many practices that can encourage the change. This is what I see as important to facilitate the change from an IT perspective;

  1. Define IT stewardship - doing IT right the first time
  2. Every organization needs to create a shared understanding of IT Stewardship. I agree with the Merriam-Webster definition of Stewardship.
    the conducting, supervising, or managing of something; especially : the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one's care
    It's the idea of being entrusted, responsible and careful with IT so it supports and empowers all those who use it. It's how IT professionals get out of the way and facilitate the organizations innovation so it doesn't have to look elsewhere. This also means doing the right thing the first time, instead of compromising the future with a quick fix or half-baked approach. Most seasoned IT professionals know the right answer when selecting and proposing approaches, they need to trust themselves and gain the trust of others.
  3. Empower the middle tier - they should be interpreting and contributing to the strategic planning, writing the business cases and executing on plans, discussing with front line staff all customer issues, working diligently to make senior executives irrelevant or at least let them know there is a solid group of up and comers!
  4. Encourage the front line staff - they know the heartbeat of the organization from the customers perspective, this is every organizations most important resource.
  5. Engage your customers - all you design should be done with the assistance of your customers

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