Charm School: It’s Not Just for IT Anymore

February 16, 2010

In which Jill reminds the business that it’s their business, too.

School Classroom by Bogdix via Flickr (Creative Commons)

In 2008 Business Week reported that Kimberly-Clark had run a charm school for its pared-down IT workforce. The consumer packaged goods giant had recently outsourced almost 80 percent of its technology staff, and there were high expectations for the survivors. Improving communications with the business constituency was a priority. Hence the techie finishing school.

There’s a great Dilbert cartoon in which Dilbert asks a user for his business requirements. The user suggest that instead Dilbert just build the system, “and then I’ll tell your boss that it doesn’t meet my needs.” Welcome to a new era of shared accountability where the business is—or at least, should be—as much on the hook for IT project success as IT is.

As we’ve formalized business requirements gathering processes and even adopted new tools to help us automate them, business users can no longer simply finger-wag at IT. They’ve got skin in the game, too