Concept Development Skills

Gartner and IBM tell us that 60 per cent of IT projects still fail in terms of timeframe, budget, and/or scope / functionality. They recommend that IT gets a better hold on clients’ functionality expectations earlier on (before they have set their hearts on specific solutions).

McKinseys go further: Software projects regularly miss cost and schedule, while Non-Software projects do better on those dimensions but fail badly on realisation of benefits. They recommend a much stronger focus on (business) strategy and on stakeholders.

This has proven difficult when line-of-business executives do not believe IT are interested in or capable of real business consulting and problem-solving, and thus no not involve them until detailed requirements are required. IT, on the other hand, has long recognised the dangers of being rushed into building a substantial solution to an as-yet ill-defined business ‘problem’, but the pressure to deliver has usually become enormous by the time that IT are formally involved.

The Concept Development Skills programs provide the techniques and confidence for IT and other professionals to proactively engage with the line-of-business earlier in the Software/System Development Life Cycle – Phases 1 (Initiation) and 2 (Concept Development) - in order to create greater value via business problem identification and solution prototyping. This will lead to better business cases, clearer requirements, better solution designs, and more cost-effective outcomes.

CDS I essentially asks the question: “Do we really understand the problem or challenge we are attempting to “solve” with this requested solution?” Investment in these earlier phases will prove invaluable in more expensive later phases … working rather like an insurance premium.

Participants could include IT Business Analysts, Architects, Client Relationship Managers, and even Operations Team Leaders, as well as Corporate Analysts, Strategists, and Planners.

Topics will include:

  • Commercial / academic best-practice research and problem-solving methods;
  • Designing, estimating, proposing, and negotiating consulting engagements;
  • Quantitative and qualitative data gathering and analysis, and solution synthesis;
  • Reporting, presenting, and influencing multiple stakeholder groups; and
  • Positioning and representing ourselves as ‘consultants’, and competing to win.

The CDS programs are based on the highly successful Internal Consulting Excellence program of a few years ago when more than a thousand IT and other professionals across Australia, New Zealand, and South East Asia (including several groups at a major government department and 200 at a major Australian transportation company) completed the original 3-day program. The program was often rated “the best training I have participated in”, and many participants noted the integrated case study as a major factor in their satisfaction and learning.

Formal qualifications are now available across Foundation, Practitioner, Leader, and Master levels via the Global Certification Institute – in line with SFIA and BCS frameworks - and the CDS I Foundations program is available both in-class and on-line. Materials provided include slides, workbooks, handouts, bibliography, examinations, and on-line Help.

The CDS I Foundation program and certification is available for A$990+GST or US$690 for non-Australians. The Public in-class equivalent – initially in Melbourne on 21,22 April and Sydney on 5,6 May - will cost A$1590+GST (or (US$990) per participant, including the examination, workbooks, and catering. Of course we are open to enquiries regarding in-house multi-person in-class programs.

Who is the program’s author? Greg Lee is the Principal Consultant at GMCL & Associates, and has over several decades been a programmer/analyst, vendor account manager, GM of IT services, IT consultant, trainer and coach of consulting / communication skills, and doctoral researcher.

Outcomes / deliverables / benefits from this/these program(s) include:

  • Increased awareness and understanding of business/organisational issues
  • Techniques and skills in consulting and problem-solving
  • Increased confidence, credibility, and proactivity
  • Better IT project outcomes
  • Enhanced IT image and perception of value contributed to the organisation
  • Greater ability to attract and retain IT and corporate staff.