Quote of the Day - You've got to be very careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.
Maybe you've had the (un)fortunate experience of contracting with an IT company to develop a software application for your business. Like most courtships, everyone has stars in their eyes as the parties come together to create the solution to end all problems. Management knows what it wants and the developers think they've heard and understood exactly what is needed. As an afterthought, someone scratches out the deal on a napkin, and the IT folks start to write the code, while the company eagerly awaits the final product.
And waits and waits and waits. Frustrated now, management sends a team to the IT company, only to discover that the software program is nowhere near ready, and what management has now more clearly defined as the end product (since they've had a long time to think about it but never managed to communicate to the IT company) is vastly different than what is being created. Management wants an inventory control program, but the IT company is busily building a program to locate raw materials.
The two couldn't be further apart.
Whose fault is it? How did we get here? Where are we going? Perhaps most important, who's going to pay for what's been done and what now needs to be done?
If you've ever asked these questions, my bet is that you wish you would have read and implemented this booklet: Avoiding and Resolving Information Technology Disputes by the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution. A handy little guide, but powerful in its advice. It's a short read that's long on benefits for both IT companies and management who are trying to learn to speak each other's language.
It will help you avoid the scenario outlined above, and get both parties on track to a successful result. The best problems are the ones you never have.