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IT Project Alignment: Where Do You Start?

IT Project Alignment is about a return on investment (ROI), where an expenditure of limited IT resources has the greatest impact on the customer.

How to establish it depends on several factors, such as:  

Six Crucial IT Project Alignment Startup Tasks: 

Determine who will manage the process 
  • Will the manager reside in or outside the IT organization? 

Identify IT project governance membership 
  • Membership depends on the level at which IT project alignment needs to occur in the organization 
  • Members need to have enough authority to make decisions but still be involved enough to be knowledgeable on day-to-day activities of the programs sponsoring the projects 

Develop organization business goals 
  • These goals need to align with IT projects.

Create the IT Project Governance Charter 
  • The charter should indicate the purpose of the committee, scope/authority of the committee, and membership.

Design an IT Roadmap
  • Ensure that it includes modernization priorities, such as shared services, cloud migration, and interoperability.

Devise the IT Project Prioritization Criteria IT efforts that allow IT projects to be ranked according to:
  • Alignment with business priorities  
  • Alignment with IT Roadmap 
  • Customer Impact 
  • Cost 
  • Complexity/difficulty 
  • Inventory existing systems including 
  • Age (Nearness to obsolescence) 
  • Included functionality (Identify duplicative functionality) 

Once the project governance entity is established, there are four pieces to project alignment: initial evaluation and prioritization of in-progress projects, prioritization and approval of future projects, and periodic evaluation of in-progress projects to determine their progress towards achieving their intended ROI, and what help they need or whether they should continue. 

Initial Evaluation of In-Progress Projects 

The initial evaluation can be performed by the project and the sponsoring organization using the prioritization form developed in startup but should be reviewed by the governance manager for completeness and consistency. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if the project should continue and what its priority is relative to other in-progress projects and the overall IT roadmap. In addition to assigning an initial prioritization score, the evaluation should identify: 

  • Does the project replace an existing system? 
  • What functionality is included in the project, and does it duplicate existing functionality in other systems? 
  • Is the project aligned with the organization’s IT roadmap? (e.g., use of cloud services, shared functionality, shared data) 
  • Does the project support regulatory guidance, mandates, or laws? 

Prioritization and Approval of Future Projects 

Evaluation of proposed projects should be performed using the prioritization form. The purpose of the evaluation is to determine if the project should be approved and its priority relative to any in-progress projects and other proposed projects. Approval does not necessarily mean that a project will be started imminently; it could mean that it is approved to be added to a budget request or that it is a project that the organization wants to pursue after other higher priority projects. 

Periodic Evaluation of In-Progress Projects 

Periodic evaluation ensures the project is managed well and delivers the intended value. The intent of the periodic evaluation is not to shut down projects but to help them be successful and achieve their intended business value. Periodic evaluation can be accomplished through: 

  • Regular status reporting to the governance body 
  • Gated funding reviews 
  • Scheduled periodic presentations to the governance body 

Contact Public Knowledge® to Get Started  

Unsure of where to start when it comes to your organization’s IT project alignment goals? We’re here to help. Get in touch with PK today to help your organization thrive. To learn more about general IT governance best practices, head on over this post.  

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