Personally, I’m no great fan of committees.  Oh, they go by many names.  Virtual teams, cross functional teams, functional groups, even alliances.  At the end of the day, though, a group of people with no common management held together by someone’s vision of a goal is still a committee.

In the world of IT Simplification, where you examine the portfolio of applications in an area and decide which ones will survive and which ones will be phased out, you need someone to own the decision rights for this process.  There will be hard choices to make.  Someone’s favorite tool will die, and some tool that someone hates will become the corporate standard.

Traditionally, the area of simplification has been ad-hoc.  Teams have been created out of stakeholders in a specific area, and perhaps that is the only way that it works.  What I’m considering: how much of that team should be ‘standing.’  In other words, should specific organizational roles be automatically identified to be part of a group of people responsible for Simplification in a specific area?

The problem with this is that applications skewer the organization in ways that no heirarchy can predict or defend against.  One app can have implications to marketing and sales, another to marketing and operations, another to R&D and support.  It is possible, nay LIKELY, that an application’s reach will end up drawing two or more people into a committee to simplify, where both have the titular responsibility for Simplification.

And when you invite two chefs into the kitchen, an argument is inevitable. 

On the other hand, if you don’t identify roles to automatically be part of the group, you run the risk that no one will actually own simplification for a heirarchy.

Perhaps Simplification should ONLY be owned at the CIO / Corporate IT level.  Heck, I don’t know.  It’s a puzzle at the moment.

If anyone has opinions, please share.