Glenn Whitfield asks “IT Project or Business Project?”

I hope everyone out there is reading Glenn Whitfield’s great blog IT Business Alignment (IT2B).  I’ll wait for you while you jump over and check out Glenn’s website.

Back?  good.

Glenn wrote a piece titled “IT Project or Business Project?” that really blew me away with it’s simple approach to leading projects by first asking who really owns the project.  Plus…it fits perfectly into my ‘common sense’ view of the world 🙂

In the article, Glenn asks the question of whether a project is an IT project or a Business project.  Wow…that makes sense right? 🙂

Glenn writes:

…we define every project that deals with technology as an IT project, and then try to manage and lead it accordingly. And we fail…

You know something?  He’s right.

Glenn uses a few examples that I’ll let you jump over and read them all but one that highlights the issue perfectly is:

If the organization is installing a new finance system, then although the whole company can benefit from this, the greatest impact on the business processes is probably in the finance department. Therefore, someone from the Finance team should lead the project day to day (with project management support from IT)

I’ve made that argument for years too but IT and PMO’s tend to think that all projects need to be led by IT Project Managers.

Great stuff over at IT2B…jump over now or subscribe to his RSS feed.

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11 responses to “Glenn Whitfield asks “IT Project or Business Project?””

  1. Mike Schaffner Avatar


    That is a great post. Other than when we do projects for IT, e.g., a new data center, it has to be a business project. Business owned and business led. I've tried it both ways (and have the scars to prove it) and when the business takes ownership and active involvement it makes all the difference in the world.


  2. Eric D. Brown Avatar

    Hi Mike – thanks for stopping by. So true…when the business owns projects, I've found that they tend to be more successful because the business group has more 'skin in the game'.

  3. Business Avatar

    I did not expect this on a Wednesday. it goes to show you,. Added you to my feed reader.

  4. Avinoam Avatar

    Hi Eric, I think that one of the main benefit of project management software is to enable non professional project managers like executives/managers to run their business. The key for doing this is the be able to bring your team on board and create a collaborative work space for the team.

  5. Glenn Whitfield asks “IT Project or Business Project?”

  6. RT @ericdbrown Glenn Whitfield asks is it an IT Project or Business Project?

  7. Rodney Avatar

    Eric, a slightly different take on that would be to look at the track record of IT in project management, and then decide if you wanted them to lead versus be a resource on IT related projects. I think most people would choose the latter if they looked at the statistics, plus I think IT is more capable and better suited playing a resource, not a lead the project role.


  8. Eric D. Brown Avatar

    Hi Rodney – Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I agree. On most projects, it makes sense for IT to take the role of technical lead and provide resources to meet the project's objectives but let the business unit take the lead on the project.

  9. Rodney Avatar

    Eric, I don't know what the stats are, but in our work with organizations as big as the United Nations, down to owner operated small businesses, more than 50% of the businesses we work with, actually report being bogged down by having IT adopt a leadership role. In several cases, I can think of a large hospital and a city we are currently working with, the concern is not to get IT involved, otherwise it will "take forever" to get up and running. Interesting isn't it?


  10. Eric D. Brown Avatar

    Very interesting! Thanks for sharing Rodney. BTW – Great blog you have!