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Transparency: The Silver Bullet to Breaking IT and Business Collaboration Gridlock

22 December 2015

Paul Post
Community College of Denver



After only five years of my 15 years leading projects, it became apparent to me that conflicting priorities during a project would remain the greatest threat to its success. Regardless of the type of project, whether technical in nature or not, there remains competition between which influence will have the greatest sway over its success. Will technical or business considerations drive the life of the project?

Business focus

Understandably, the business side of a project is usually made up of nontechnical people who focus mostly on the budget. They understand and care even less regarding the project's technical details. I began with "understandably" because guarding the organization's financial resources is primarily their role. Without revenue and profit, there would be no business.

Technical focus

Technical professionals often concern themselves solely with aspects of the project that are related to the software they use or recommended best practices. While it may appear that they ignore or resist contemplating the concerns of business professionals, this is largely the result of a breakdown of communication between both sides.

Scrum to the rescue

Scrum provides transparency through the function of the product owner — a role within the business community, someone who literally drives the project, deciding which features the team will work on, in which order, and collaborate with the team in a very intimate way largely unseen in most projects. The former distrust suspected between both types of team members in a project — those desiring the product versus those delivering its capabilities — are now collaborating and sharing information weekly in various meetings.

This required transparency breaks down walls and allows for greater collaboration throughout the enterprise. More business leaders gain valuable experience engaging with and building products with technical professionals, achieving synergy between two previously frustrated parts of the business.

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 2 (1 ratings)


Tim Baffa, CSM, 12/22/2015 8:45:39 AM
There are many reasons behind poor or non-existent collaboration between business and IT. The primary cause is a lack of trust, which is at the root of the destructive and dysfunctional "contract game".

Transparency can foster trust, which can help promote a culture of collaboration, but it cannot do this alone. So many other qualities are needed to build a sense of trust between business and IT:

- honesty
- consistency
- vulnerability
- reliability
- responsibility

... just to name a few!

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