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When "Does your dog bite?" is right and wrong


I recently was reminded of the old gag "Does your dog bite?".  In my mind I remember it first as a Pink Panther bit, but the line sounds like it would be from the vaudeville era.  Let's see what a Google search brings up...

My mind isn't lost yet, I can still remember back.

The point of this is that we often ask the right questions, but in the wrong order.  If the inspector had thought to first ask "Is this your dog?" the scene may have ended quite differently, but not as funny.  When it comes to collaboration- IT is often asking the right questions, but they're first asking technical questions instead of business questions.

Instead of starting with "How do we make these technologies work together?", IT should not even consider the technology.  Rather, they must start by having conversations with their stakeholders regarding their business needs.  The first question directed to the business unit stakeholders should be "What do you need to do and how are you measured?".  The second question should be "How are you meeting those goals today?".

Once IT has the answers to these questions, they can then ask "How do we help our stakeholders better meet their goals through an investment in collaboration?".

To further complicate things, when IT asks the right questions in the right order, they may hear answers that aren't relevant.  Asking a simple question about a process will often times result in how the technologies don't integrate or how they must integrate and which technologies should be used.  This is the opportunity for business leaders to identify and talk about gaps in process that can be optimized or even reengineered with technology.

When IT asks the right questions in the right order to the right people and the right people provide relevant answers to those questions, everybody is now in a position to leverage the collective expertise to define the solution that will deliver the greatest impact.  Impact that isn't measured in technology, nor in process, but a combination of the two that isn't project measured, but rather business measured.

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