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Managing IT Project Oppertunites Methodology Overview

June 23, 2008

A 10-Step Method for Managing Opportunity

If you’re tired of being an “order taker” when it comes to launching new initiatives in your organization, know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Use this pragmatic opportunity management method to move into the role of “trusted adviser” and become a part of the decision-making process.


INTRODUCTION

Opportunity Management is becoming a growing issue for modern IT shops. Why? Increased scrutiny of IT project resource utilization, and the subsequent rise of the portfolio approach to project management.

  • Many IT projects are fraught with perceived cost and time overruns. The days of “show me the money” and you get your project are coming to an end.

  • Portfolio management’s primary focus is to manage opportunities, projects, and systems. By engaging at the business level early, you can gain an appreciation for the business drivers and the proposed solution design constraints.

This paper will focus on the processes required to manage opportunities that come to or from the Information Technology (IT) group. Opportunity Management moves you away from the “order taker” role and toward the “trusted advisor” role. This move is becoming manifest with organizations challenging their technical teams to deliver business value, not just cost containment. In this scenario, IT doesn’t drive the car – it supplies the car. IT is a service-enabler, and Opportunity Management supports the concept of IT being a service-enabler for the business rather than just being a cost center. A cost containment attitude equates to a “no can do” shop mentality, which is not good for your team and limits your ability to get funding for your much needed projects.

Adopting an Opportunity Management methodology is also a good mechanism to work more effectively with the business units, to gain buy-in, and to understand business processes from their perspectives. Respecting each business unit’s core competencies, issues, concerns and viewpoint goes a long way toward making any opportunity successful. You may not always understand or even like a given business unit, but it is imperative that you respect them. Doing so will return respect to your area of technology expertise. It will also give them the chance to witness the potential of technology as it relates to enhancing their business processes.

The methodology explained in this paper supports both waterfall and Rapid Application Development (RAD), though this method is especially attuned to RAD. Adopt the mantra “start small, think big, scale fast.” By using this approach, you will be able to respond quickly when the organization is ready to scale solutions beyond their original implementations.

This methodology can be used for both short- and long-term engagements. The stages may look onerous upon first glance, but you will find for smaller projects you only need to confirm details at a certain stages. It remains an excellent checklist to ensure you have covered all the bases, regardless of the size of the opportunity it is managing. As you perform more of these engagements, you will find that many of them take on a similar form and you can reuse patterns of not only previous designs, but also of documentation.

Here is what the Opportunity Management methodology looks like

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