Executive Responsibilities

Ultimately, the core functions of executives are to craft, implement, and execute strategy. Period. They craft strategies in order to (1) shape their company's course of action and (2) coordinate a company-wide game plan. Project managers should obtain the approval and "go-ahead" of the executive team for all IT project engagements, thus ensuring that the appropriate processes for the delivery of the business and IT have been scrutinized, reviewed, and prioritized. Executives and project managers should agree on the following objectives:

■ Alignment of the proposed IT investment plan (i.e., projects) with the company business objectives;

■ Commitment to delivery of measurable business benefits within schedule, cost, and risk that are realistic and appropriate to the business;

■ A shared understanding of the responsibilities for delivery of the project between system users and the IT specialists;

■ A plan to benchmark the performance of existing processes in business terms and to track improvements;

■ Risk management that recognizes the need to accommodate change.

It is common practice in many companies to appoint both a business project manager and a marketing manager to deliver the business benefits and to appoint an IT project manager to deliver the information system or solution. These managers should be held accountable to the company for the success of the project. In companies with an on-going IT investment program, the executive team should ensure that these processes are being systematically planned, executed, and reviewed.

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