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Sue Johnston

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Sue Johnston is an IBRS advisor who focuses on strategy and governance of private and public enterprise ICT. She is an accomplished and innovative strategist with more than 25 years’ IT and business experience across the public and private sectors. Sue has held a number of senior executive positions with IT vendors and major management consulting companies and provides coaching to IT teams looking to change the conversation with their customers, their executive and each other. As a CIO, she has led the ICT function through significant transformation for organisations such as Department of the Premier and Cabinet, Auscript Australasia and TriCare Limited. Sue has also run a successful software development company and transitioned the company through an acquisition process. Sue chaired Innovation Committee in State Government which was responsible for generating, developing and funding innovative ideas and improving the skills and capabilities of public sector staff in pitching ideas and successfully executing innovation projects.

Conclusion: Project management principles and frameworks are now implemented in the majority of organisations, including public, commercial and the not-for-profit sectors across Australia. While project delivery metrics indicate an improvement in successful project execution there is still a concerning level of project failure (approximately 35 %). Project failure is extremely costly and while focus is on the project execution elements, many failures can be traced back to poor governance and decision making. Project boards set the tone and show the way forward for projects by helping to resolve challenges or to provide alternative actions. Their behaviour will be reflected whether the tone is positive or negative and has enormous impact.


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Related Articles:

"Bite the bullet – stop failing projects sooner not later" IBRS, 2016-09-02 05:06:18

"PMO – Models and structures" IBRS, 2018-05-04 18:33:08

"Tips for improving and monitoring ICT project governance" IBRS, 2018-07-05 03:12:50

Conclusion: Organisations either recognised early that digital transformation was essential to meet the competitive demands of their respective markets or accepted that general community expectations had increased where digital transformation of traditional business operations, processes and services was no longer expected and demanded. Digital transformation became the next big thing in organisations and initiatives were launched in earnest everywhere. While there are always success stories, many more have been less than successful and their stories have some very common themes. To make digital transformation work for the long term it is critical to avoid these mistakes.


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Related Articles:

"Agile: The other considerations" IBRS, 2018-03-31 06:46:04

"Digital transformation will fail without capable leaders" IBRS, 2018-09-04 13:40:06

"Digital transformation: More than a technology project" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:04:24

Conclusion: Organisations undertake strategic planning activities on a regular basis, whether it be every three years or a rolling review every 12 months, to establish goals for the following three years. However, a review of many strategic plans and more specifically the resulting programs of work are often developed from the perspective of the project rather than the business benefits being sought. Understanding each investment and plotting that investment within an investment matrix will provide executives with a perspective about the balance of their ICT investment portfolio. Strategic investment goals such as planning an allocation for innovation will support execution of plans and achieving strategic goals.


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Related Articles:

"Benefits management: Keeping it real" IBRS, 2018-07-05 03:02:17

"Is your organisation addressing the three dimensions of IT planning?" IBRS, 2017-11-02 04:14:17

"Project review: Active assurance" IBRS, 2018-03-06 07:02:37

"Tips for improving and monitoring ICT project governance" IBRS, 2018-07-05 03:12:50

Conclusion: Innovation is top of mind for many CEOs across Australia. In fact, more than 86% recognise that they need to invest more in R&D and innovation as part of the company strategy. However, there is a significant gap between the aspirations of organisations and the reality of innovation within these companies and entities. Knowing what behaviours should be demonstrating and having a plan will improve the alignment betwee.g.als and achievements. Most CIOs are being asked to drive innovation for the business, yet innovation is still more rhetoric than substance.


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Related Articles:

"Digital transformation: More than a technology project" IBRS, 2018-06-01 04:04:24

"Know how to sell ideas and support the digital strategy" IBRS, 2018-08-01 09:46:03

"Running IT-as-a-Service Part 39: Keeping digital transformation alive" IBRS, 2018-03-06 06:50:51

Conclusion: Benefits management relating to technology investments is widely recognised in importance and is quantified and articulated in business cases but not managed. However, often these benefits are stated as expected by governance groups to gain investment, knowing that they are either aspirational or it is collectively accepted that they will be difficult to harvest and are therefore not pursued. Implementing a more pragmatic approach by project teams up to governance groups will provide an opportunity to improve this key area of IT investment governance.


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Related Articles:

"Achieving Benefits Management – It’s in the Tail" IBRS, 2015-06-30 22:59:05

"Benefits Management is Not IT's Job" IBRS, 2005-03-28 00:00:00

"Why it is important to actively harvest the benefits" IBRS, 2015-10-03 00:09:45

Conclusion: Organisations everywhere are thinking about, planning or undertaking digital transformation activities. While good progress is being made, there is still a tendency to view digital transformation as a technology project or series of technology projects which will provide some value but will not result in an organisation being digital.


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Conclusion: Project management in organisations is commonplace. Organisations then seek to establish a Project Management Office (PMO) as a more permanent centre for project coordination. PMOs may start in the technology division and expand or may be established outside the ICT area. Knowing what the various models and structures are is important. Knowing how to assess the maturity and environment within the organisation and selecting the appropriate approach with empathy and common sense is critical to success.


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Conclusion: Organisations everywhere are implementing Agile as a dynamic approach to speed up the creation of value and improve development of new and improved services and products. Adopting a best practice such as Agile is more than learning a new process and skill and then applying it in a project environment. Implementing Agile in an established organisation means that there are often a number of other frameworks, best practices and procedures that will need to co-exist with Agile. It is critical to consider these elements and adjust them to ensure that Agile is effective in delivering the value and benefits expected and is not another “best practice” fad.


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Conclusion: Project management in organisations is commonplace. Reviews are often undertaken at the end of the project to gain learnings for future projects. Project reviews completed during the life of a project need to ensure that they are inclusive of appropriate stakeholder groups and assessment is targeted at the appropriate focus areas. Active and inclusive review and assurance activities need to be well understood and supported within the organisation so that it is not viewed as an exam that needs to be prepared for and passed. Applying reviews and assurance as a process checkpoint only is ineffective and will not ensure quality project delivery.


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Conclusion: Most organisations today understand that business change requires the effective management of stakeholders. Whether they be internal or external, the inclusion of their opinions, needs and concerns is critical to the success of the initiative. However, too many projects and change programs still struggle to be completed successfully or to achieve desired outcomes. Change management and stakeholder engagement is too often handled as a linear process and many are under the assumption that working through the activities in sequence will be sufficient. Stakeholders are complex to identify and to assess as their relative power and influence often go beyond the obvious. Effective stakeholder engagement absolutely requires a full and frank appreciation of the power and influence of each stakeholder.


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