In a recent article in Information Week, the issue of business managers bypassing IT managers to get things done is discussed. This is an interesting piece and something that I have also witnessed, and got me thinking. It seems to be a trend that is happening more often - but I question whether this is right, wrong or neither.
Part of the reason that we have arrived at this situation is that development teams/departments are seen to have consistently under-delivered on business expectations. This is sometimes true, and very often a perception.
However, there is the counter argument, that business heads have unrealistic expectations of what it takes to build software, which leads to even more negative perceptions.
My belief is that both of these arguments are true, but this situation is not going away any time soon. If IT departments cannot better meet the needs of the business, then look at the reasons why - I have seen strategy or architectural choices choke the ability of programmers to deliver anything. Of course the business manager doesn't care why so he's not going to wait for an explanation, he just wants his projects now!
Conversely, when business departments choose a poor IT partner to bypass internal groups, it can be a lottery - partner with the wrong guys and its going to be a nightmare. Integration may be impossible, maintenance very costly etc.
It's incumbent on managers on both sides to meet in the middle to get things done. Technology managers could be much more effective and take on more of a coaching and advisory role. Business managers need to be more open minded to work with people who understand how to make IT work - the trouble is, they may not have such a people in their organization - and business manager wouldn't know either way.
This is a tough one - opinions anyone?