Should Technology Solutions deliver Perfection or Pragmatism?


In my view senior IT leaders (CIO/CTO/Enterprise Architect) need to moderate their drive towards a perfect technology landscape with commercial pragmatism.

A target end state should be in clear view, and each project should be a step towards greater flexibility, improved performance, increased automation and reduced total cost of ownership. 

But perfection is best attained gradually rather than with giant strides.

Consider these two chairs – the fine piece may well be better furniture – but a pragmatic commercial outcome which balances budget, timelines, resources and required results may well be the other.

Chairs

I’ve seen too many projects founder by failing to deliver a business case with an acceptable return on investment, or failing to deliver a complete solution by deploying quality parts but a compromised whole.

If a business needs a working chair it is best to deliver the right hand option, rather than just the legs of the left due to delivery constraints.  Temper the striving for perfection and avoid being overly ambitious with the size of step change or being overly aggressive with the timeline.

A priority for a technology architect is to understand the blueprint and ensure projects are aligned to IT strategy.  How large a step a particular project should take on the journey from current state to future state is a commercial decision which needs pragmatism applied.

I vote for function over form in most cases and ensure solutions get the job done whilst also being a step in the right direction strategically.  And in that context a good customer experience is primarily about function.  All projects need to avoid looking pretty and performing poorly.

Achieve perfect function with patient progress and commercially moderated small steps.

This approach will also reduce the risk that your crystal ball view about which components form the ideal end state technology landscape is less than perfect and needs to be adjusted along the way.

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