The word ‘value’ has too many meanings and sometimes it masks a real problem. 

I had a conversation with a very smart customer recently, where their IT division is going through a transformation to help their business compete.  I asked if their transformation has the purpose of making IT cost less or increase business agility.  Their answer: It’s less about cost and more about value.

To me, an answer like that is vague.  It sounds good, but what kind of value is IT supposed to deliver? 

And that is the core question we should always ask of the business.  We shouldn’t be asking IT to deliver “generic” value.  We should be asking IT to deliver specific value, to make changes that will meet specific business goals.  And that requires that the business describe their strategies in terms of specific business goals.

Getting alignment to “generic value” is like having a teenager tell you that their room is clean.  Too many definitions of the word.

Alignment without specificity is not possible.