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?

Travel is supposed to broaden the mind. Regrettably, after more than 21 years of writing this column, my mental ruts seem to resist travel’s broadening impacts: Everything I see turns into guidance for running businesses, IT organizations, and all points in between.

And so, following a couple of weeks touring in Rome and exploring bits and pieces of Sicily …

> The Romans built the Colosseum in eight years, with no project management or CAD software to help them. It’s about 2,000 years old and still standing. That should worry us.

> The Colosseum’s construction depended on two innovations: concrete, and interchangeable parts built to standard specifications. If any Roman architects, artists, or engineers suffered from change resistance, those who embraced the innovations apparently drowned them out.

> The Colosseum’s standard program was executions in the morning, followed by slaughtering exotic animals, followed in turn by gladiators trying to hack each other to bits.

I think this means we have to give the Romans credit for inventing standing meetings with standard agendas.

It also suggests they were early victims of the consequences of bad metrics. Because every day started out with executions, the Roman courts had to convict enough suspects of capital crimes to fill out the program, whether or not a sufficient number of capital crimes had been committed. I presume the parallels are obvious.

In any event, combining the morning executions and gladiators who got the old thumbs down, a million corpses exited the Colosseum’s fabled arches during the years it was in session, although the pace slowed a bit when Rome became Christian and did away with the gladiators.

I guess that was progress. Speaking of which, for the Roman Empire, conquest was what you did if you could. Now, it’s frowned upon. That’s progress, too, I guess.

> While walking through the Pantheon our guide pointed out a row of headless statues. They weren’t, he assured us, early examples of Dr. Guillotine’s work products.

It was due to Roman parsimony. Coming from a practical society, Roman artists figured out the average statue would greatly outlive the person it had been carved to honor. And so, they designed their statues to have replaceable heads.

In IT we call this “modular design.”

> We didn’t spend all of our time in the Colosseum (and Pantheon and Forum). We also toured the Vatican, where, in the Basilica, we saw evidence of St. Peter’s tribulations. As it happens, visitors rub St. Peter’s feet for luck. No, not St. Peter himself but a bronze statue thereof. Bad luck for St. Peter. After centuries of this his feet are being rubbed right off, toes first.

I’m pretty sure we in IT have parallels to muster. If not, elsewhere in technology land I’ve read we’re running out of helium, one birthday balloon at a time.

Sicily has been more relaxing, at least from the perspective of spotting IT parallels. I’m hopeful this might mean I haven’t completely lost my ability to disconnect from the world of information technology. But there is Mount Etna, an awesome and awe-inspiring site.

> On the not-a-parallel-at-all front, shortly before its recent eruption, data integrated from a variety of sensors reported a 10 centimeter increase in the mountain’s elevation (about 3 inches if the metric system isn’t your bag; also about 3 inches if it is your bag only you don’t need me to handle the conversion for you).

Where was I? Oh, that’s right, 10 centimeters, and I hope you aren’t so blasé that you aren’t awed by our ability as a species to measure such things with such precision — a precision that allowed geologists to warn everyone potentially in harm’s way so they could get out of harm’s way.

> On the back-to-parallels front, Mount Etna doesn’t have just one crater, although the main caldera is enormous.

It has hundreds of craters. That’s because, when pressure increases and the old eruption paths are plugged, the magma doesn’t metaphorically say to itself, oh, gee, I guess I’d better calm down and head back to the earth’s mantle.

Nope. The pressure is there, the result of physical forces that can’t be eliminated and physical laws that can’t be repealed.

The result: The magma has to go somewhere, and where it goes is the path of least resistance, culminating in it pushing through the side of the mountain, resulting in a new eruption and new crater from which it spews out.

The business/IT parallel is, I trust, clear: Good luck trying to stamp out shadow IT, which is also the result of pressures that won’t go away just because you want them to.

It’s time for me to head back to the beach. The IT parallel? None.

Ahhhhhhh.