Leadership for Results


How can I tell if a technology project is being technology driven rather than stakeholder driven?

Our current "hot topic" urges that technology should not be the driver of technology implementation. So how do we identify whether or not a project is technology-driven, and if it is, what can we do about it?

Corrective Action

It is likely that there are people in every organization who understand the three steps for successful technology implementation (as described on the Hot Topic page) but they may be in a minority and unable to make their voice heard to senior decision-makers who are sometimes enamoured with technology. The approach of the leader in such a circumstance should be to show the situation for what it is. Following the Letts example in Leadership for Results, we need to create a data table and a conclusions table.

Create a Data Table

A key source for the data table is the project documentation. Review the purposes expressed and check these against the intended actions. As in the Letts example, it's likely that taken one by one the signs we see are small, almost trivial. But taken together, in the light of the best practice embodied in the three steps (given on the Hot Topic page) they indicate a high level of risk.

For example the strategic purposes may be

Hence the organization shows a clear intent to follow the 3 steps. Yet a comparison with later documents may reveal that the project is no longer focused on this intent.

Conduct a Data Comparison

As a simple data comparison exercise we could compare the frequency of certain key words and phrases, important in steps 1-3, between strategy documents and implementation documents.

The words or phrases used for comparison could be:

A comparison of word counts gives us a data table:

Key Word Frequency in Strategy Documents Frequency in Implementation Documents
Customer 27 0
Staff 0 11
Processes 16 10
Requirements 1 7
Systems 6 1
Contact Centre 9 25

Draw Conclusions

Such a comparison shows a clear shift away from a purpose of improving customer service towards a purpose of implementing technology. While this is not guaranteed to turn the tide of opinion, as the Letts example shows, it can be a powerful tool in the right context for getting decision makers to step back and take another look.


"Purposes tell us when we are off course, like a lighthouse beacon that guides ships safely through rocky places."


Tom would love to hear your comments and questions. Email him at: