I’m referring to the thickness of IT strategy documents and proposals for solutions, and revisit a quotation I picked up from somewhere that sums up the issue we all face as an industry.
So lets break this down. How often have you been confronted with a document – say a bid, white paper, consulting paper or strategic document – that has a table of contents that spans more than one page? You know what I mean. We have all seen them. The document author had a set of scales next to their printer, and was focused on the weight of the document in Pounds rather than the weight of the quality statements they made.
Perhaps the ‘cut and paste’ disease attracts the ‘I will just dump some content from a web page as an Appendix’ or ‘if i put lots of generic pictures in’. Have you ever tried to write a one page document? Or have you ever tried to fit your goal and statement into less than 250 words? Really hard isn’t it.
But this is the point. Whether it is the demand for fast answers to questions or the enormous amount of content people have to read on their travels from a wide range of devices, the days of measuring Good IT Strategy is no longer by the thickness of paper.
The interesting bit is the second part of the thought provoking statement at the start of this post. Read the words again. The degree of business alignment and quality of thought. Now does any of this mean ‘a 300 page document’? No.
Now I’m not going to get into the weeds on how to present a business case. I’m no expert but what I would say is that the modern world is now looking for something different.
Remember that the audience is now changing with regard to ‘signing off IT projects’ and the people making the decisions don’t have the time nor interest to read through big documents. Instead they want Information. This could be presented as a big thick document sure but they wont read it. They want punchy statements that can be measured and understood. They want strategy aligned to what matters to them. They want the costs of doing IT clearly mapped out and set alongside some value measurement. They want the information presented in a way that it can ‘live’ and not just be a point in time statement. And finally they want quality in the thought. So they want originality not something someone else has said but in a different context. Do you know how hard it is to come up with original thought? Really hard but it makes you stand out provided you have the ‘stones to back it up ‘ of course!
The key thing with writing documents or presenting information is the underlying ‘So what’. This refers to the words you have written and whether to the reader or listener the words mean anything.
Have you ever wondered why people have stopped producing big documents and moving to slideware and videos to get their message across? Simple. because they can be so much more effective and have ‘life’ as opposed to the traditional 300 page document. In a fast moving and agile world this is a significant food for thought.
Oops…this blog is a lot of words – i should do videos!!??