May 9, 2008
Tackling Quality At Board Level - Removing The Rose-Tinted GlassesIt seems to be a fact of organisational life that the further up the chain of command you climb, the more removed from reality you become.
For example, the chairman of Acme Supermarkets Plc might genuinely believe that their stores offer a friendly, enthusiastic and efficient service.
And the director of the IT department in Acme Supermarkets Plc might genuinely believe that the systems they create and support are reliable and of a generally high quality.
The people who use the software know that it is buggy and unreliable.
The people who wrote the software know that it is buggy and unreliable.
The people who managed the people who wrote the software are constantly being told that it's buggy and unreliable, and are probably assailed on a weekly basis with pleas for time, resources or just a little moral support to make it genuinely fit for business-critical operations.
But somehow that message doesn't filter up to the boardroom. Everything seems to pass through a sort of rose-tinted filter whereby clunky, shoddy, creaky, flakey legacy systems are magically transformed into sleak, shiny, dependable business enablers.
So winning executive management support for efforts to improve quality can be very tough, since - like recovering alcoholics - they need to acknowledge that they have a problem first before anyone comes to them offering potential solutions.
One way to shift the perception might be to objectively - frankly, clinically - report system quality at board level and have the kind of warts-and-all transparency that has most IT managers running screaming for the hills. If the perception and the reality are too far apart, the discrepency is bound to raise awkward questions.
Which are my favourite kind, of course...
Posted 3 weeks, 3 days ago on May 9, 2008