Are You Lying To Get Your Projects Funded?


This is a curious post, in part because it's based on a paper published in April 2006, and in part because it attempts to sex up the uncontroversial statement that IT projects derive their value from the business benefits they enable.

But it does raise a deeper question, discussed here: would you lie about the business benefits of a project to get it funded?

Related: The Case Against Business Cases.

"Lie" is such an ugly word. "Best case scenario" is much nicer.


4 Comments for "Are You Lying To Get Your Projects Funded?"

  • Ernest Lilley December 05, 2008 10:34 am

    I disagree with Steve, not that there's no reason to be deceptive, but that IT is only a support function and hence rated on its effectiveness. He's right, so far as he goes...but he doesn't go far enough. IT is under pressure today to act as a strategic player, not just a support one, and to demonstrate its ability to provide opportunities for new revenue streams or to impact revenue streams outside its traditional venue. This pressure naturally creates the incentive to bend numbers upwards, though I'm of the opinion that the IT mindset has a native tendency to resist this temptation. In business, though, as in all spheres of conflict...resistance is futile. Ernest Lilley Sr. Editor TechRevu.com

  • Steve Wolfe December 05, 2008 9:06 am

    There is no reason to be deceptive. Deriving the business value of an IT project is about the same as deriving the business value of the logistic branch; both are 'support' functions of which the revenue units rely upon to operate. I haven't said anything above revelatory. I believe the business value of IT or any support 'cost center' based function should be derived from increased productivity of a revenue center. Then a cost/benefit ration could be performed on the cost center's effectiveness. Stephen Wolfe Data Services Manager, 6th Medical group

  • Technically_less December 05, 2008 8:19 am

    Normally, less is better but when planning an IT project unexpected expenses and last minute changes means slightly overstating the need (within reason) will help to avoid a project that doesnt meet expectations. When the project is finalized its easier to explain coming in under budget then to have to explain why you are over. I prefer our team to be a valued expense rather than a necessary evil

  • Andrew Zeiger December 05, 2008 12:36 am

    In the past I have witnessed IT providing a Low-Medium-High scenarios to the CFO and executive team regarding proposed projects in order to provide the appearance of high value, while also prepping for what will be likely, the low end. The reality has often been the Low end of the spectrum turning out to be somewhat realistic to a slight reach. Medium has been unlikely and High would take something close to a Christmas miracle. So far, their has been some exaggeration, but not a direct lie. This is where the executive team lies to themselves by ignoring all but the highest number for possible roi. They get "happy eyes" thinking about the bottom line and so in their own minds, it is set in stone. If/when and analysis is done, people feel lied to and depending on the temperament of the CEO/CFO...

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