Just before going on vacation last week I managed to meet with a few middle managers on the business side that I should have met with formally years ago. Building my team and their capabilities always trumped meeting with the business to discuss higher level strategy. I’m just as guilty as the next IT manager about talking about working with the business and then living within the walls of IT. Oh, sure I met with the business side many times in the course of projects I delivered for them, but rarely did we ever discuss strategy.
Scrum and other agile methodologies assume that you have close contact with the actual customers. It also brings organizational problems to the surface quickly. In our organization there’s not a lot of strategy discussion between the business and IT. Without much discussion IT often assumes that the business doesn’t have a direction and makes assumptions that they should drive the process. The business often assumes that IT doesn’t have capabilities to deliver solutions and searches for silver bullets in package solutions.
Exploring potential strategies by just sitting down and talking to the business appears to be a reasonable first step.