The New IT: Driving Business Innovation With Technology

Andi Mann, chief technology advocate at Splunk, sees major changes afoot in how IT and business are aligning.

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I believe that Business Leaders don’t want Organizational Project Management (OPM,) they want the benefits which OPM can provide. Andi Mann, chief technology advocate at Splunk, provides a 4 minute blog which through our project management lens provides validation of the value of OPM without using our language. Big Takeaway – Talk the language of business & innovation and don’t force executives to translate our project management language.

First Andi Mann indirectly defines OPM: “Connecting IT delivery directly with business goals is enabling the company to make data-driven technology decisions, creating measurably better business outcomes.”

Second Andi combines both technology and business approaches. He states “To stay competitive:
– organizations need to drive innovation, not only with their products and services, (for example Cloud and common Data Fabric) but
– also in business approaches and finding new strategies to exceed business goals.” (for example Dev Ops)

He also indirectly summarizes OPM benefits. “Aligning IT with business goals from the get-go gives companies a competitive edge and sets the standard for success.”

Great short read for any project management professional.

Visualizations That Really Work

HBR Articles by Scott Berinato on Data Visualizations Best Practices for Presentations

Know what message you’re trying to communicate before you get down in the weeds.

Original Source: Data Visualizations   and and an updated Effective Visualizations. 

As a project manager, have you ever stared at your screen and asked yourself “how do I present this data?”  Yeah – we have all been there.

Focusing on data presentation is the wrong way to talk to yourself or your team. The important data visualization mindset is not about data wrangling, graphics or powerpoint, it is about the business message you want to share and what is the impact.

This article has great insight on 4 types of messages, and suggests which visualization tools or models work best. Great insight when you need to either motivate team members or defend choices for presentations!


How to present data

Best Practices for Data Visualizations

Idea Illustration. We might call this quadrant the “consultants’ corner.” and these “illustrations clarify complex ideas by drawing on our ability to understand metaphors (trees, bridges) and simple design conventions (circles, hierarchies). Org charts and decision trees are classic examples of idea illustration.”


Idea Generation. “Managers may not think of visualization as a tool to support idea generation, but they use it to brainstorm all the time—on whiteboards, on butcher paper, or, classically, on the back of a napkin. Like idea illustration, idea generation relies on conceptual metaphors, but it takes place in more-informal settings, such as off-sites, strategy sessions, and early-phase innovation projects.”


Visual Discovery.  “This is the most complicated quadrant, because in truth it holds two categories…..This article divides exploratory purposes into two kinds: testing a hypothesis and mining for patterns, trends, and anomalies. The former is focused, whereas the latter is more flexible. The bigger and more complex the data, and the less you know going in, the more open-ended the work.”


Everyday Dataviz.  “Whereas data scientists do most of the work on visual exploration, managers do most of the work on everyday visualizations. This quadrant comprises the basic charts and graphs you normally paste from a spreadsheet into a presentation. They are usually simple—line charts, bar charts, pies, and scatter plots.”


Very good food for thought as you are leading project teams in communicating with your stakeholders and leadership.

HBR article is written by Scott Berinato is a senior editor at Harvard Business Review and the author of Good Charts: The HBR Guide to Making Smarter, More Persuasive Data Visualizations, forthcoming from Harvard Business Review Press and available for pre-order.

Again check out his article on effective visualizations. 

Note:  I live in California and get no affiliate money for book recommendations. If I post, it means that I like the book.  You can use the code BUSINESS20 to get 20% off any plan at


PMI® Report on Benefits Realization

How to create a benefits realization plan

Benefits Realization Planning

Benefits Realization Plan

PMI has published an new report on Delivering Value: Focus on benefits during project execution. Report available for Free Download.  PMI provides a tremendous amount of industry insight and transparency by stating “ At a time when the 2016 Pulse of the Profession® report indicates that project results are not only failing to improve, but may even be deteriorating, there is a clear need to help answer question(s) for executives.

Innovators Insight
Pg 12 of this report provides a thoughtful case study written by Dave Davis.  He is a sought-after project manager working in innovation industries. Several observations about the Benefits Realization Initiative Case Study:

  • Utilized iterative cycles
  • Used Change Management techniques to introduce Benefits Realization
  • After 3 years, the initiative may be incorporated into portfolio process.

This is an excellent case study yet business leaders are impatient for change.

Report Headline Buried in Appendix on Page 19
Journalists have a nose to look for the important stuff; the stuff we can change today. The stuff which busy leaders care about. This is report is a well written Call to Action. ” Yet project managers needs a clear Plan of Action.

How to Have both Project Success and Benefits Realization
I’m a project manager that works on innovation projects. I want to help teams accelerate project and outcome success. How? Print out this reports of benefits on page 19.

  • Circle which benefits apply to your project.
  • List benefits in the Agile Project Charter
  • Propose KPI’s which tie to the top benefits
  •  Review Project or Solution Process which enable these top benefits
  • Understand how your customer uses your product or solution.
  • Understand how the roadmap features helps or hurts these customer touch points
  • Create plan to capture data capture around these touch points
  • Create risk plan

By following this checklist, Project Manager can drive teams to successful execution and provide leaders an action plan for how to continue to measure benefits after project launch.

Data Generation Gap: Younger IT Workers Believe The Hype – InformationWeek

There’s a growing generation gap when it comes the promise of revenues from data-driven projects. Where younger workers see the future, older workers may only see another cycle of tech hype.

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Project Managers can help bridge the communication gap when new Big Data and Analytics initiatives are launched.  According to an IDG Enterprise  study younger staff generally believe the transformational project benefits while seasoned employees have been through many hype cycles & may have more questions about project value.


Why is this discussion important?   There are a lot of data-driven transformation projects in the works! IDG Enterprise states that 53% of companies surveyed are currently implementing, or planning to implement, data-driven projects within the next 12 months. Data-driven projects as those launched with the goal of generating greater value from existing data.


My thoughts are that Project Managers can work with key Team Members to ensure that projects are:

  • linked to strategic objectives

  • the value chain of activities or the customer touch points are identified

  • understanding of how project features will help these challenges are clearly identified in the roadmap

  • user education and socialization of the technologies used is part of the project plan


All these actions drive understanding of the project value & transparency of benefits. This ensures non-hype communication to all stakeholders, regardless of age, geography, and role.