IT Governance Rule #3 of 3 - Deliver Value to the Business

In this last installment on IT Governance (for now), let's discuss the need for a "closed loop" system for IT Governance. So, far in rule #1 (make sure we are doing the right things) and rule #2 (make sure we are doing things right), we have set up business and IT to deliver successfully on the key needs for their respective company. But, how do we know that the results were actually achieved? It takes more than "earned value" or "customer satisfaction". As change leaders, I suggest that we need an audit level of detail and proof that the business value was delivered and change was achieved. I recently heard a statement like "51% of statisticians can convince their audience of a conclusion because they make numbers mean anything they want them to mean". While this may be humorous to most, there is a thread of truth there. Business cases can contain assumptions, constraints, and goals of all types that are true with rose-colored glasses based on a point-in-time perspective. As projects unfold over time, how do you or your company verify that the results were actually achieved based on a new reality (not-so-rose colored glasses and a new points-in-time). Put your CFO hat on and apply the simple construct of budget, actuals, variance, and forecast across not only costs, but on benefits of a project as well. Try auditing the business case to see if the costs AND benefits (sales, revenue, cost reduction, etc.) were actually achieved, and when. And, don't do this in a vacuum. Consistent with my previous entry regarding agile change management, get the business involved in proving the results. After all, who better then to ensure you are delivering value to the business, than the business leaders themselves.