How do you make sure that your team is focused on your strategic goals (Kai-Zen)

One of our continuous improvement goals is to make sure that all of our IT resources are utilized by our associates to push forward our strategic IT goals. One can spend a lot of time and effort to communicate IT strategic goals, but when the rubber hits the road strategic goals will compete with common “keep the lights on” tasks and unplanned break-fix work. We found out that to make sure that IT is focused on strategic initiatives, which will move the company forward, there are some measurements and corrective actions that needed to be taken on a weekly basis.

First and foremost you need to ask your team to capture their tasks. We are using TFS (Microsoft Team Foundation Server) to capture tasks in the following hierarchy : Project, Release, Feature, Story, Task. This structure enables the team to capture their time per project and to see the progress that they are making in each sprint.

Every week we are using TFS cube to generate a report that gives us the ability to know how many hours each associate spends in each project (as you can see in the example below):

Kai-Zen (focus on strategy)

This report summarizes all the effort that has been invested by a team, group or entire IT per week. Since we capture keep the light on (KTLO), Admin and break-fix as projects, we have the total time that a given group invested in a week. This report translates the hours spent on each project into the percentage of total given group time in a week, and compares the percentage to the priorities that we gave to each project. Project priorities actually translate IT strategy into actual sprint tasks and you should expect a correlation between time invested in a project to the project priority.

This report is very helpful to see the gap between project priorities and time spent on the project. This gap can sometimes be explained, but most of the time it’s an alert for management that they need to understand the gap and to work with the team to be more focused on strategic work.


About friedkin companies CIO

Friedkin Companies CIO
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2 Responses to How do you make sure that your team is focused on your strategic goals (Kai-Zen)

  1. Chris Kar says:

    That is a great system for tracking both KTLO work and project work when using the same resources (which is key if you want to not divide your teams into project and KTLO teams, which demoralizes each team and leads to greater turnover and less skills). It theoretically allows you to adjust priorities… but my experience has shown that most companies rob the KTLO pools in favor of projects (not the noticed items like break/fix but the silent killers of documentation, log reviews, periodic testing – BC/DR, security, etc., etc.).
    Do you plus up resources for one-time projects (staff augmentation with contractors) or rob the KTLO cycles (assuming you do not maintain extra people on the bench (payroll) for unplanned projects)?

  2. We are using staff augmentation with contractors.

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