The Art & Science of Turning Around an IT Department

IT Turnaround

The first thing to say in an article about the art & science of the turnaround of an IT department is that there’s no way to write a single article describing exactly how it should be done. Every situation is unique, and every organization has its own strengths and weaknesses; for that reason, turning around a technology group & platform looks very different every time. Having said that…

In our consulting practice, there are common patterns we look for in our assessment of an organization’s IT, and general approaches we take to developing and executing a turnaround plan as interim CIO/CTO, and there are aspects of turnarounds which apply frequently. Those themes form the basis of this summary article. Of course, our plans for any specific IT turnaround end up needing dozens of pages to articulate after weeks of analysis, but we hope this high-level summary is useful in explaining our general 14-step approach:


1. We build trust with the organization’s leadership

Technology is the bedrock on which today’s businesses are built. But when that foundation cracks or crumbles, a focused, swift, and thorough turnaround is desperately needed. None of this is possible without a collaborative, transparent, and most importantly, trusting relationship with the organization’s leadership. Trust isn’t just a nice-to-have; it’s the secret sauce that enables together any successful turnaround strategy.

Aligning with Leadership’s Vision

Understanding the leadership’s vision for the company is paramount. This is the north star that guides everything from operational nuances to strategic direction. We don’t just assume or extrapolate from company-wide memos or vision statements. Instead, we engage in candid conversations, asking poignant questions that allow us to dissect and grasp the leadership’s ultimate objectives. This is important for any IT leader, but especially for one overseeing a turnaround initiative, since it is guaranteed in that context that the trust between the organization’s leadership and IT starts out extremely low.

Explaining the ‘How’ of Our Strategy

Understanding the vision is one thing; getting the leadership to buy into our approach is another. They’re not just investing in a plan; they’re investing in us – the team tasked with pivoting the IT department from peril to promise. We break down our strategy into digestible, actionable pieces. No corporate jargon, no technobabble. Instead, we paint a picture in bold strokes, punctuated by milestones and defined by timelines. And let’s not forget the bottom line – the financial implications. By offering a clear but flexible blueprint, we give them a reason to trust not just the plan, but the planner(s).

The Currency of Consistent Communication

Trust, once gained, has to be maintained. It’s a delicate relationship that requires nourishment in the form of consistent, transparent, and collaborative communication. Frequent check-ins serve multiple purposes: they keep both parties aligned, provide the opportunity to share preliminary successes (or setbacks), and continually solidify the mutual trust. Even if the news is not always good, the act of transparent sharing strengthens the belief that the plan is in capable hands.

The Unseen Power of Trust

Once trust is built with the organization’s leadership, it serves as an invisible but powerful tool. It allows for smoother decision-making, quicker approvals, and most crucially, provides the political and organizational backing when the turnaround plan hits inevitable bumps. Think of it as a form of corporate social capital; invaluable yet intangible.

Trust is the cornerstone, the first step in our 14-step journey to a successful IT turnaround. It’s not just the starting point but also the recurring theme that will weave through the narrative of our transformational endeavor. Without it, the most meticulously crafted strategies and well-intentioned implementations are like ships without a compass, destined to drift aimlessly in the unforgiving sea of corporate complexities. With trust, however, the path ahead, no matter how challenging, becomes a journey we undertake together, fortified by a shared vision, mutual respect, and the collective aim for success.


2. We set a trustworthy foundation with the IT department & vendors

Just as the keystone in an arch transfers pressure and provides structural integrity, a trustworthy relationship with both the IT department and its vendors acts as the critical link between intention and success. In particular, in order to gain an accurate view of the current state of affairs, we need those who are committed to the organization’s success to feel safe sharing an accurate view of IT’s current strengths and weaknesses.

The Power of Honesty

When a new leader arrives on the scene, the IT staff is likely on “high alert”, understanding that leadership has taken this action in order to improve things, and that initiatives like that sometimes create turmoil, re-organizations, and layoffs. Depending on their own confidence in their performance and value, they may feel anything from relief and optimism to skepticism or outright fear for their job security.

We strongly believe in being open and honest from the outset. We can’t promise everyone job security, but we do promise them that we want to hear from everyone, that accurate/detailed insights will be appreciated, and that we’ll see those who help us see clearly as being committed to the turnaround effort and to the organization as a whole. Our aim is to create a safe space where honesty isn’t penalized, but rather appreciated – and more importantly, utilized to make things better.

Vendor Relations: A Delicate Dance

When it comes to vendors, the relationship can be even more delicate. Vendors may be external entities, but their products and services are often interwoven into the very fabric of the organization. They may hold the keys to critical elements such as software functionality, hardware performance, and support services. Building trust with vendors means establishing clear lines of communication, setting mutual expectations, and negotiating in good faith. Honesty here serves a dual purpose: it allows vendors to understand the broader organizational context in which their products or services operate, and it encourages them to be forthright about the capabilities, and even the limitations, of their offerings. We assure them that the turnaround effort is aimed at better IT performance generally, not blind/arbitrary cost-cutting.

The Human Firewall

It’s too much to expect that all of the staff and vendors (or even the organization’s leadership) will trust our consultant fully right from day 1. Trust takes longer than that to build. Our goal is that they will trust our professionalism, and the integrity of the turnaround process we are leading. Sufficient trust in this form serves as a human firewall against failure, false positives and false negatives in our assessment. Insights and help from those trult committed to the organization can help identify potential pitfalls before they become crises, and they may offer solutions that are both innovative and practical.


3. We obtain as clear a view as possible of the current state of the IT organization, culture, platform, and processes

Just as your GPS needs its current coordinates in order to produce driving directions, we must understand IT’s current capabilities, strengths and weaknesses before we can chart a roadmap of improvement. Drawing this map involves a delicate interplay between speed and accuracy, and a grasp of the fact that haste is not the same thing as progress.

Finding the Balance: Speed vs. Accuracy

Time is of the essence, especially when dealing with underperforming IT departments that might be hemorrhaging resources, negatively impacting their organizations, or suffering from systemic inefficiencies. Yet, there’s a marked difference between expedience and recklessness. Speed is very tempting, especially when immediate results are being pressured by leadership stakeholders. However, a hurried approach could lead to mistakes and an inaccurate grasp of the issues at hand. Mistakes made at this stage can reverberate throughout the turnaround process, undermining the credibility of the entire effort. So move at the quickest pace we can which still enables a reasonably accurate view of the current situation.

The Four Pillars: Org structure, Culture, Platform, Processes

We perform an analysis of each of these four key aspects of the IT organization, looking for strengths as well as weaknesses, redundancies, gaps, and bottlenecks. There is a real asymmetry of strengths vs. weaknesses in the performance of all IT departments: any of the four aspects on their own can create havoc for the other components, but none on their own can overcome weaknesses in the others.

Bottom-up, top-down, outside-in, and inside-out

Looking at multiple angles is critical for the accuracy of the assessment. Not only are specific insights valuable from the staff & stakeholders interviewed and materials reviewed, but the differences between those sources of information can be just as enlightening.

When we consider the Platform, specifically, we look at all of the organization’s infrastructure & cybersecurity components, systems, data, and analytics. Are some components of the infrastructure easy for the IT group to support, but underpowered for the needs of the business? Are some systems “stable” but lacking features, causing workarounds & inefficiencies for business processes? Disparities in these opinions across the organization are critical insights.


4. We identify personnel we will want in the future IT org-chart, and personnel who have critical knowledge

We believe in beginning a turnaround plan with the human side of the equation. There is some iteration needed between this process and the triage of key systems (below), as those decisions change the scope of skills & knowledge which are key to retain. But in general, developing a view of the future org-chart, and determining potential skill-set & knowledge gaps, is upstream of the technical decisions to come, as this will determine who we’ll want to involve in those various technical discussions.

Building the Future Org-Chart

Our first task is to envision the ideal future state of the IT organization, complete with roles that are essential for future success. Who are the leaders, the implementers, and the maintainers in this future state? Where do we have gaps that need to be filled through training or hiring? We also identify who among the current staff has the critical knowledge that makes them indispensable for transitional or future-state roles. These are the individuals who possess organizational memory, key relationships, or specialized skills that aren’t easily replicated.

Decision Points: Retain, Mentor, or Hire?

We delve deeper than job titles or formal qualifications. Through one-on-one interviews, skills assessments, and perhaps even a bit of “corporate anthropology”, we unearth hidden competencies and pinpoint limitations. Once we have a comprehensive view of the human landscape, we confront the hard but necessary decisions. Who among the current staff fits into the future org-chart? Who could fit, with appropriate training &/or mentoring? And for which roles will new hires be necessary? Importantly, this decision-making is deeply integrated into our broader strategy. The personnel we choose to retain or onboard are not just names in boxes; they are future participants in the technical decisions that will shape the turnaround.

Harvesting the Insights already sitting in the Team’s Brains

Once the determination is made about who will have a place in the future-state organization, a key activity can occur: harvesting the best ideas of this group about what can and should be improved. Insights from people who’ve lived and breathed an environment all-day every day are bound to be more accurate and more complete than any ideas brought to the table by outsiders, (including our consultant!). Once we know who can or already does align with the direction we’re heading, we’ll know whose ideas need real analysis and prioritization.

Engaging Stakeholders in the Process

Throughout this process, we maintain open lines of communication with all stakeholders. We consult the leadership team, taking into account their insights and expectations about key players in the IT organization. Because successful partnership and collaboration with business groups is a key capability for the future-state IT department, these insights are extremely useful.

In sum, the human infrastructure is not merely a variable in our turnaround equation—it’s a coefficient that can multiply our successes or our challenges. By giving due attention to the people aspect early in the process, we lay the groundwork for a turnaround strategy that is not just technically sound but also organizationally optimized.


5. We triage systems to determine those serving the organization well, those needing enhancement, and those needing replacement

In the high-stakes drama of an IT turnaround, we treat the organization’s infrastructure components and technology systems a bit like patients in a busy hospital emergency room. Some are stable, requiring only monitoring; others are in acute distress, desperate for immediate intervention; and then there are those who, sadly, are beyond help. It’s a matter of triage, an exercise in judgment and prioritization that aims to allocate our limited resources where they will do the most good. Just as a medical team must quickly assess patients to decide on the best course of action, so must we evaluate all of the aspects of IT to understand what to keep, what to fix, and what to replace – and with what urgency.

Categorizing Systems

The first step in our triage process is a comprehensive evaluation of each existing platform component and system’s performance, reliability, and fit with organizational needs.

  • Good Health (Keep as-is): These are our “green” systems – efficient, reliable, and perfectly aligned with our objectives. They don’t require immediate action and can be earmarked for routine maintenance.
  • Needs Attention (Enhance or Upgrade): Then, there are the “yellow” systems – still functional but not optimally performing. These might be platforms that are beginning to show their age or custom solutions that have been patched over the years and are now a labyrinth of workarounds.
  • Critical Condition (Replace): Lastly, we have the “red” systems – these are the legacy monoliths, the tangle of spaghetti code, or the out-of-date platforms that are more of a liability than an asset.
IT turnaround triage
Technical and Business Metrics

The criteria for these categorizations go beyond mere technical performance. It also involves a sharp look at business metrics. Is the system supporting the KPIs we care about? Is it agile enough to adapt to future requirements? How much does it cost to maintain versus replace? These business-centric considerations are as vital as uptime statistics or bug counts. These judgments require a collaborative effort involving IT professionals, business analysts, and often front-line users who interact with these systems daily.

Financial and Time Constraints

Last but certainly not least, we align our triage exercise with the financial and time constraints of the overall turnaround plan. Some ‘red’ systems might be so integral that their immediate replacement could be too disruptive, necessitating a phased approach.

By systematically assessing our technology stack, we create the raw input that will be used in the next steps to form a strategic plan that guides our subsequent actions. Like a seasoned ER team, we know that timely, well-judged decisions can be the difference between life and death – or, in our case, between a successful turnaround and an expensive failure.


6. We prioritize projects into “cohesive” interim phases based on risk, workload, and the limits of IT leadership’s span of control

The allure of fewer phases is tempting; less complexity, quicker wins, and a speedier route to the final state. However, the desire for expediency must be counterbalanced with pragmatism. Each phase must be designed to align with our resources, both in terms of budget and talent, as well as the risk appetite of the organization. Moreover, each phase should be achievable without adversely affecting the operational stability of the existing IT landscape.

Ensuring Operational Stability

The adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” might be modified in a turnaround to “if it’s somewhat broken, don’t make it worse”. During a period of transition, the worst outcome, aside from outright failure, would be to degrade the level of service that the IT department provides. Such a decline, even if temporary, could erode confidence in the turnaround strategy and sow seeds of doubt among the stakeholders. Hence, it is non-negotiable that interim IT operations maintain, if not exceed, existing performance metrics.

The Span of Control and Capacity for Change

Even the most able IT leadership has its limitations—time, attention, and expertise are finite resources. The span of control is an organizational constraint we must respect; overload the leadership, and you risk ineffectiveness, burnout, or complete failure. Therefore, we align our project phases not just with raw capabilities but with manageable loads for the future IT leadership team. As tempting as it is not to wait on “anything that makes us better”, starting too many projects in parallel is a mistake that has killed many large initiatives.

Stakeholder Perception

Lastly, optics and momentum do matter. Even though the end state might be a dramatically improved IT landscape, stakeholders need to see positive change, or at the very least, no decline in service, throughout the transition. Maintaining this baseline perception ensures that the organization continues to view the turnaround as beneficial, offering the necessary patience and support.

Through a thoughtful approach to phasing, we aim for a cohesive, pragmatic, and achievable interim state – or series of states – that propel us toward our ultimate vision, without compromising our current operational integrity. It’s a complex planning challenge, but one that is essential for a successful IT turnaround.


7. We analyze workload, KPI, and governance needs of the interim phase(s), and of the final-state platform

For each phase identified in the previous step, we estimate the workload and costs involved, the governance which will be needed to ensure successful project completion and interim systems operation, and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure our results.

The Workload Matrix

We begin with workload because understanding the labor and resource demands of each phase sets the stage for every other element of the turnaround. We dissect each project within the phase to estimate required hours, personnel, hardware and software resources. Our aim is not to merely fit the projects into existing capacities but to shape these capacities in a way that they become catalysts for change. It’s not just about having enough hands on deck; it’s about having the right hands, with the right skills, in the right roles.

Cost Implications

Workload assessment naturally segues into cost analysis. But costs extend beyond labor – there are software licenses, hardware upgrades, and change management costs. Our costing model doesn’t just tabulate expenses; it aligns them with the value delivered at each phase, creating a robust ROI model that serves both as a justification and a benchmark for the turnaround. Ultimately, as with all of our strategy & leadership services, we ensure that turnarounds deliver true business results.

Governance: The Invisible Hand

From ensuring accountability and project oversight to managing risks and compliance, governance serves as the stabilizing framework within which the kinetic energy of the turnaround is contained and directed. For each phase, we define not just what needs to be done, but how it will be governed, by whom, and with what checks and balances.

KPIs: Our Compass-heading

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) serve as our compass heading measurements; they guide us through the journey of transition and prove the results we’re seeking. We design KPIs not merely as end-of-phase appraisals but as real-time feedback mechanisms that alert us to both minor hitches and major roadblocks. They include both traditional IT metrics like system uptime and response times, and business-centric metrics such as customer satisfaction, process efficiency, and ROI.


8. We develop a turnaround roadmap, including uplift project phasing, staffing plans, and budget(s)

Once the foundation is laid – a clear view of the organization’s current state, an understanding of the required workload, a governance framework, and KPIs – we unite these elements into a singular, coherent blueprint: the turnaround roadmap. This isn’t merely a timeline of activities but a multi-layered plan that combines workload estimates, staffing plans, and budgets for each phase.

Uplift Project Phasing

The crux of our roadmap is the phasing of uplift projects—identifying what needs to happen, when it needs to happen, and what it will set in motion. As discussed above, these phases are crafted not in isolation but in symbiotic relation to each other. Each phase is a building block in a larger architecture, and a cohesive step forward for the organization depending on the technology, designed to create cumulative momentum. It’s an intricate dance where the success of one phase cascades into the opportunities and challenges of the next.

Staffing as a Strategic Element

We understand that different phases may require different skill sets. We map our staffing plans to the specific needs of each phase, viewing manpower not just as a resource but as a dynamic element that brings specialized skills, ideas, and energy into the turnaround. While we make an effort to even out the resource needs of each phase, there may be some fluidity in order to ensure each phase is a cohesive step forward for the organization.

Calculating the Budget

The financial aspect of the roadmap is not merely a list of projected expenditures; it’s a strategic tool. By aligning the budgets with the specific goals and timelines of each phase, we develop not just a spending plan but a financial strategy. We assess the liquidity required for each phase and the return on investment that we aim to achieve. This granularity helps not just to justify necessary funds but also to set expectations, both within the IT department and the larger organization.

A Unified Plan

Finally, all these elements are synthesized into a unified turnaround roadmap – a document that communicates not just tasks and timelines but the strategy driving the changes. It serves as both a tactical guide for those involved in the day-to-day of the turnaround and a strategic document for leadership, showing how individual decisions and steps contribute to broader organizational goals.

IT Turnaround Plan


9. We confirm with leadership that the roadmap aligns to their vision and leads to “success” as THEY define it

Once our detailed roadmap is in hand, we collaborate with the organization’s leadership to ensure it aligns to their vision. It’s not sufficient for us to merely present a plan which will improve IT; we must ensure that this plan transforms IT into a factor which will empower and accelerate the organization’s strategy.

A Shared Vision of Success

We actively engage in discussions to tightly define the concept of “success” as perceived by the leadership. Whether success is quantified in terms of decreased costs, operational efficiency, or customer satisfaction, it’s crucial that our turnaround plan converges on these focal points. We strive to get leadership’s buy-in not just on our approach but also on the future-state capabilities we’ve designed based on our initial understanding of their vision.

The Dialogue on Future-State IT Capabilities

We initiate a dynamic dialogue that involves walking the leadership through the nuances of the future-state IT capabilities. This often includes real-world case studies, possible scenarios, and tangible benefits that each feature of the new organization, platform, and processes bring. We aim to foster a sense of ownership among the leadership; we want them to see the future-state IT not just as a facet of the organization but as a critical enabler of broader strategic goals – and a factor which may open the possibility of heretofore unseen possibilities.

Finalizing the Roadmap

Once we’ve ironed out the intricacies and aligned our roadmap with the leadership’s vision of success, the document is no longer just a proposal – it becomes our execution plan for the steps to come. Both the team and the leadership understand their roles, the milestones, and how each decision contributes to the organizational vision. This shared understanding ensures that as we move forward, we do so with the collective assurance that each step is a stride towards an agreed-upon definition of success.


10. We bridge gaps to ensure the future org-chart has the knowledge it needs to operate and to execute the turnaround

Bridging the chasm between the present state and the future vision is perhaps one of the most essential parts of our approach to turnarounds. While it’s crucial to have a well-defined destination, it’s equally important to ensure that the journey toward that end-state is navigable. It’s at this juncture that we step back and critically examine our future org-chart, taking stock of the intellectual capital needed to power both the turnaround and the future-state operations.

The Continuity of Knowledge

In any organization, knowledge resides not just in databases and manuals, but in the minds of the people who have been a part of the evolution of the team. Before we initiate any re-organization plans or exit any team members, we ensure that the future team will have the requisite knowledge to succeed in the upcoming turnaround project(s), and in operating the systems on a day-to-day basis in the interim phases to come. This isn’t just a matter of handing over files; it involves walkthroughs, training sessions, and sometimes, extended handover periods.

In essence, constructing the ideal org-chart for the future is not just an exercise in allocation, but a multi-layered strategy of retention, acquisition, and transition. It’s about ensuring that each slot on the chart is not just a name, but a carefully considered component in the complex machinery that drives us toward a successful turnaround. It’s this attention to human capital that often distinguishes a successful turnaround from a less formal effort to improve.


11. We communicate the pending re-organization plans with key staff who will fill key roles on the new org-chart

In the uncertain waters of organizational change, silence is not golden – for the team members involved, it’s precarious. One of the pivotal moments in any IT turnaround is when the theoretical becomes tangible: the re-organization of staff. At this juncture, we aim for transparency, carefully selecting the window of time and the format for these delicate communications.

Timing and Discretion

First, timing is of the essence. Discussing re-organization plans too far in advance risks a protracted period of uncertainty and rumors. Our preferred approach is to have these conversations either the day of or the day before the changes are officially announced. This tight time frame minimizes the churning of the rumor mill while providing key staff with just enough time to prepare mentally and emotionally for the transitions ahead.

The Power of Targeted Early “Heads-up” Communications

We believe in communicating upcoming changes to a few trusted leaders and influencers who will fill key roles in the new organization. This “heads-up” communication is a weighty responsibility and should be treated with the gravity it deserves. It serves multiple purposes, including preparing key staff for the role they will play in the re-organization and providing them an opportunity to be stewards of stability in what can be a tumultuous period right after the announcement of the changes. Trusted leaders can diffuse tension, answer questions, and maintain operational integrity during the turbulent post-announcement period.


12. We quickly implement the re-organization needed – ideally in one step

In the intricate ballet of an IT turnaround, the execution of the re-organization is a defining act. It’s a moment that can either buoy morale or sink it, streamline operations or create bottlenecks. We believe in tackling this moment head-on, with swift action and high emotional intelligence.

The Power of a Single Step

There’s a reason we advocate for completing the re-organization in one decisive step: Clarity. People can adjust to new circumstances more quickly when they’re not burdened by lingering uncertainty wondering whether “another shoe will fall”. By making all staffing changes together, we allow the team to move from a state of anticipation to one of adaptation as quickly as possible. This also enables us to hold an all-hands meeting, ideally on the same day, to clarify everyone’s roles in the new org-chart. Time is of the essence, and the longer it takes to establish the new normal, the more we risk deteriorating team morale and productivity.

IT Turnaround Re-org
The Interim and Future-State

Our commitment to quick re-organization does not mean we overlook the interim staffing needs of subsequent phases. Quite the contrary; we plan for these needs carefully. However, rather than extend the re-organization process or create an extended “off-ramp” for staff whose roles will be eliminated later, we prefer to plan for temporary or vendor staff to bridge the gap. While an extension of some resources for interim needs might save on costs to some extent, the downside is huge: building resentment among the “off-ramping” staff, damaging morale and hampering productivity. Making ALL changes in one step is far better, and we fill interim needs with vendor or contract staff.

The All-Hands Meeting: A New Chapter

Following the announcement of the re-organization, we strongly recommend an immediate all-hands meeting with the retained staff. This can serve as a collective exhale, the moment where we lay out the new roadmap, solidifying the roles and expectations for each team member. This meeting serves as a symbolic line in the sand between what was and what will be. It’s an opportunity to foster collective buy-in and to ignite enthusiasm for the path ahead.

The way we execute the re-organization phase, particularly if layoffs are involved, is not just a difficult day to get through. It’s an opportunity to set a tone for our leadership, and to give an indication of our commitment to a successful, human-centric turnaround. Carried out with decisiveness and empathy, this step successfully sets the stage for the crucial work that lies ahead, shaping perceptions and setting the tone for the entire endeavor.


13. We implement the project phase(s) as planned, keeping the future end-state clearly in view for IT staff, vendors, and for leadership

It may surprise readers that executing the project phases of a turnaround doesn’t appear on our list until step #13 out of 14. One could argue that this is the act that really counts—the part where strategy transforms into action, visions crystallize into reality. It appears this late in our list because the preceding steps are ALL required, to some extent, in order to position us for success in the turnaround itself.

IT Turnaround Phases
The Common Necessity of Short-Term Sacrifices

Let’s be candid: turnarounds are seldom a walk in the park. In our quest for long-term gains, we sometimes do encounter patches of short-term pain. But these are not arbitrary or senseless sacrifices; they are deliberate steps that align with our future state. What we don’t want is for our team to get lost in the fog of the present difficulties, losing sight of the far shore. This is why we make it a point to regularly remind everyone – staff, vendors, and leadership – of the long-term vision, and the rationale of how that destination is worth the journey to get there.

Transparent Communication is Essential

We can’t overstate the importance of clear, transparent communication throughout the execution of each project phase. Keeping everyone updated not only on the “what” we’re doing, but also on the “why”, maintains trust and fosters a culture of collective responsibility. We take this transparency to the level of granular detail where needed: the reasons behind each major decision, the rationale for timelines, and the metrics we’re using to measure success. We achieve this via team meetings, formal announcements, and an open-door policy which welcomes with respect to questions and concerns one-on-one. When people understand the “why“, they’re more likely to commit to the “what“.

The Virtuous Cycle of Validation

Nothing validates a plan quite like success. As we progress through each interim phase, we celebrate our wins, no matter how small. Each success serves as tangible evidence that we’re moving in the right direction and adds another brick to the foundation of trust we’ve been building. Validation brings optimism, and optimism fuels performance, creating a virtuous cycle that propels us closer to our goal.

In essence, the journey through each project phase is not merely a set of tasks to be checked off. It’s a nuanced endeavor that demands strategic foresight, acute attention to detail, and a deep sense of empathy. Our guiding light through this complex journey is the future end-state, a vision we make sure remains vivid in the minds of all stakeholders. By keeping our “eyes on the prize” and our feet firmly grounded in transparent communication and empathetic leadership, we pave the way for a successful turnaround.


14. We measure the KPIs, IT performance, and budget after the completion of the turnaround to ensure the promised value has been delivered, and/or as a feedback loop for future planning

We believe in not just the completion of a turnaround but in its thorough analysis to gauge its real impact. This is where the “aftermath” can really justify the journey, as we measure the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), assess IT performance, and evaluate budgetary outcomes against our initial targets. We believe in the value of a measurement process designed to hold all stakeholders accountable, ensuring we have truly delivered on our promise.

The Power of KPIs

We’re strong believers in the power of KPIs as barometers for success. Particularly in cases where we can measure IT’s performance before vs. after the turnaround, these often tell a story in no uncertain terms. Whether it’s system uptime, helpdesk response times, customer satisfaction, or project delivery timelines, differences in our measurable performance often help rationalize the organizational, platform, and process changes with those who might otherwise be tempted to second-guess.

Tallying the Numbers

Turnarounds usually come with a price tag; hence, a diligent evaluation of budget utilization is an important step. We audit the final expenditures against the initially approved budgets for each phase and for the overall project. Did we operate within our financial constraints? Were the allocated resources sufficient and efficiently utilized? Did the improvements deliver the financial impact expected? Understanding our financial adherence gives us critical insights into the project’s overall management and opens the door for more responsible planning in the future.

The Feedback Loop for Continuous Improvement

Our work doesn’t end with a one-time assessment. One power of measuring KPIs and other metrics is that they serve as a feedback loop for ongoing and future projects. Lessons learned aren’t filed away to gather dust; they become part of our institutional memory, offering invaluable insights that inform our strategy moving forward.

Invaluable Insights for Ongoing Evolution

A successfully completed turnaround positions the IT department for ongoing evolution in the ever-changing landscape of modern technology. The insights gained from our final analysis are not mere endpoints but launching pads for future initiatives. They help us understand the organization’s resilience, adaptability, and capability for change, qualities that are essential for the long-term success of any IT department.