We need some help.
“We” is Dave Kaiser, my co-author, and myself. The help we need: Figuring out the best title for our upcoming book.
The book starts with a premise more familiar to members of the KJR community than to the management world at large. The premise: There’s no such thing as an IT project — it’s always about business change or what’s the point?
We use this premise to launch what we think covers the ground of what it takes to achieve intentional business change. We don’t dive to great depths. We’ve tried to write a handbook, not a tome, for three reasons: (1) a tome would be inestimably dreary to read; (2) a tome would be even more inestimably dreary to write; (3) in any event, neither of us, separately or in combination, is remotely qualified to write about this at the tome level.
Nor, we suspect, is anyone else.
Until now, when titling a book, the challenges haven’t been conceptual. My book about IT leadership is Leading IT. When I wrote about the principles to follow in order to run a modern IT organization, Keep the Joint Running — a tie-back to this, my weekly column, seemed reasonable, as it was where I introduced most of the ideas incorporated into the book.
Naming my 54-page project management book was even easier. It presents the bare bones and only the bare bones of the discipline, so Bare Bones Project Management jumped directly from the Introduction to the folder name without any conscious effort at all.
Even The Moral Hazard of Lime Daiquiris, the worst-selling novel Dave and I co-authored (it is, by the way, an outstanding Chanukwansamas gift for everyone on your list who’s (1) a reader; (2) has questionable taste; and (3) wants to read something nobody else they know has read) made some sort of sense, as the trouble all started with two guys ordering lime daiquiris with the hope of achieving a morally questionable outcome, although not as morally grave as it turned out to be.
But now we find ourselves in a quandary. We like There’s no such thing as an IT project: Achieving intentional business change, but especially when separated from its subtitle, the main message is negative.
On the other hand, we find Achieving intentional business change to be, while accurate, a phrase that promises dullness.
It also leaves out the handbook part, which we think is important — we’re trying to identify what matters, all with enough substance to point readers in the right direction but not so much substance that they get stuck in one section for so long they forget what they read in the three preceding sections.
So, we thought, maybe it should be There’s no such thing as an IT project: A business change handbook. Or, if we do lead on a positive note, A business change handbook: Why there’s no such thing as an IT project.
Don’t really like that one? Neither do we.
And so, as we’ve read that crowdsourcing is supposed to achieve brilliant results without our having to work all that hard … how about it?
What’s that you say? You need to know what the book actually covers? Alright — it covers the management culture change needed for intentional business change to happen; redefining the business/IT relationship so everyone focuses on the change instead of who’s to blame for nothing important happening; how to fix Agile so it delivers business change instead of software; how IT and business operations fits into the whole picture; replacing IT governance with business change governance; IT regaining its place of leadership in defining business strategy; and a very brief look at the seven disciplines organizations must master in making intentional change happen.
Please leave your suggestions as Comments, to facilitate the whole crowdsourcing thing — presumably it’s only crowdsourcing if everyone who looks sees all the other ideas already posted.
We do reserve the right to ignore all of you, especially if our publisher disagrees — we do need to acknowledge their expertise in such matters, not to mention recognizing the critical role the fine art of sucking-up plays in our working relationship with our editor.
But if you do submit the winning entry, what you’ll get in return is us telling everyone we know what a wonderful and creative person you are.
Who else would make you a promise like that?