The fatal trap of underwhelming functional ownership repeats itself with such regularity across projects of all shapes and sizes that it is safe to say that this list of reasons for it is neither exhaustive today nor final over the long run. Rather than try to list them all, it is probably easier to just assume that you will brush up against some of them again some day. You will be tempted again. There will be that harmless little upgrade or innocuous Web project that begs you to bend . . . just . . . this . . . one . . . time.
In those moments of weakness, try to remind yourself what a beautiful thing a well-owned project can be. Try to think about the best functional lead you have ever worked with and consider this your chance to build a new one. Remind yourself of what a happy functional team looks like on the launch date of a well-owned project. Think of the benefits stream realized and what you did with the money besides sink it into the repair phase of the project. Imagine your project team turning over the project to the support team cleanly, disbanding the project and moving on to the next value-adding activity. Gives you goose bumps!
But just in case none of that works, keep this article. Laminate it. In those moments of weakness, read it again. Accept that the penalties for forgetting these lessons are very harsh. Throw some water on your face and take up the torch again. Your business is counting on you not to forget.
Liam Durbin is CIO at GE Fanuc Automation. He has been with GE for nine years, serving in several roles including sales force automation leader, IT Master Black Belt, and supply chain IT leader for GE Consumer and Industrial. Prior to his GE experience, Liam served as an officer in the US Navy for 12 years. GE Fanuc Automation is a $US1 billion segment of GE Industrial that produces hardware and software solutions for factory automation
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