Whenever crisis strikes and people enter uncertain and frightening times they close up like a clam. They do not take on new risks like new cars or houses, instead they find comfort in life’s little pleasures. Macaroni-and-cheese, tomato soup, and meatloaf seem to sooth the troubled mind and are the perfect accompaniment to the theater of financial meltdown. IT has it’s equivalent of comfort foods, short (less than one budget cycle) projects with easily measurable gains. Projects which enhance core business functionality and projects which increase visibility are usually easy wins.
Projects like “Let’s Outsource All IT”, “Let’s Go to the Cloud”, or “Let’s Move to Open Source, Oracle, Microsoft, etc. to Save Money” are not Comfort IT and elicit the image of someone running down the hallway with their hair on fire screaming (does not look comfortable to me, let’s skip this one). These projects will have their time in the sun when the Great Wheel turns again and risk is the entree of the day. It will be fun to see how fast the major vendors morph their tune to a new reality; they are already shifting from guppy sales representives to bonafide sharks via the layoff lever (I am ever thankful for Email, Voicemail, and Spam Filter Purgatories).
If your organization is light on legacy projects and issues, now is the time to start some (ha ha ha!). All joking aside, this period is a breather in the steady march of technological leverage of the corporation. Companies can leapfrog past the painful pioneering process inherent in most technical innovation, at a bargin price. Just about every hardware, software, and services vendor will have capacity to sell. It is a buyer’s market , which gives the most comfort of all.
This is the perfect time to review projects. Determine cost-to-complete, or can it be completed. Will it enhance the business process and ultimately be welcomed by its users, or is it a statue to political personal vanity (or an ediface to technology). Sacrificing projects on the altar of the crisis is considered a statesman-like action and a career-saver for both the guilty and innocent. For the fearful, consultant priests are available to both identify and cleanse corporate IT sins for a small fee in these times (put another project on the fire!). Nothing like a second opinion to sooth the soul, a true IT comfort food.