all about it
By Michael W. Goetz
Improving Your Information  Technology Effectiveness
pitfall to not having your IT leader in the loop—he or she may plot his or her own course and agenda. For any function that can impact your operating departments the way IT can (and which can consume the resources that IT can), do you really want to take that risk?
Idea #2: Institute an Enterprise Wide IT Project Governance Policy. This is just a logical extension of Idea #1, since a major gray hair generator for your IT leader is understanding what is most important. You see, there is no shortage of ideas for new things (systems, services, software, etc.) in the IT world. How many operating departments or divisions do you have? Ten? Fifteen? Twenty? Let’s say you have 15, and each has three or four ideas for improving their services (or cutting their costs, or enhancing their operations) that require information technology in some fashion. This is not an unreasonable scenario. Well, your IT leader now has 45 to 60 ideas to respond to, and they are all probably good! Your IT leader needs your help. There must be one enterprise wide process that everyone follows to make decisions and set priorities for where your IT dollars are spent and for what your IT staff works on. And, by the way, the local government leader must be the enforcer, and your overall budgeting and spending processes must recognize and include your IT project approval process—at least for the largest projects. I know some localities whose threshold for IT project governance and approval is $1M; here in Lynchburg, it is a mere $50K. Regardless of dollar limits, you need a project governance process—driven by your office, not your IT leader.
Idea #3: Institute a Performance Based Pay System for Your IT Staff. This is an issue of being competitive in the workforce market place. Just ponder for a second: is there any discipline in your entire governmental organization that is more “like” the private sector than IT? I doubt it. Even in professional disciplines that are readily transferable (accounting, engineering, law), there are frequently government specific nuances or specialties. Outside of emergency communications (E911 and the like), I can think of no IT area that has
a unique governmental focus.
As such, your IT staff has the most inherently transferable skill set in your organization.
The author is a guest columnist
who is the director of the Lynchburg IT Department.
   re you a local government manager, or someone in a leadership position who sometimes wonders if you are getting the most out of your information technology (IT) investment? Or, maybe IT is just a mysterious black box to you, something that you intuitively know your organization needs (even if you really don’t understand how the stuff works), and that you assume is working just fine, as long as your IT leader is not knocking on your door. If your organization is like many that I know, you are putting a tremendous amount of faith and trust in your IT leader—
often blindly, since you probably have the least amount of understanding as to how IT works, when compared to other support functions like finance, HR, and procurement.

As an organizational leader, would you like some insight into how to make your IT organization more effective? From inside the IT black box looking out, let me offer five ideas to enhance the effectiveness and the value of your IT function to your overall organization—and, at the same time, make your IT leader’s life a little less frustrating.
Idea #1: Give IT a Seat at “The Table.” If yours is a forward thinking organization, this is a no brainer. Assuming you have one IT organization serving your overall organization, your IT leader’s largest frustration is probably just trying to keep up with what everyone wants, and then sorting through the priorities. If your IT leader is not at the table and involved in the discussions where major decisions are made, especially those that affect multiple departments, then his or her life will be miserable. He or she will probably be left to his or her own devices to determine the greatest needs of the enterprise. Of course, there is a parallel