The problem of influence in IT program management…
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The concept of power and control.

It is one all of us struggle with at one time or another. All of us seek power. Sans access to power and control we can at times become disillusioned. The reality is that those who are in power keep the power close because just like those not in power they fear losing it.

This is a rather inane blog topic in that all of us know this. Its just something I needed to say today.

In the perfect world things would have a very linear span of control. In the beginning the business or organization would own what was required. From there specialists would step in to own the initial mapping of what was possible to what was already there and what fit into the overall plans for the organization. Wants mapped to needs and capabilities.

Reality is influence messes up every step of the way. The word neutral and solutions are often at diametric ends of the spectrum. Opposed with enough energy separating them that there is no path to connection. First off, its only fair that bias exists. It is a natural and logical process. I learned many years ago people buy things from people they know and people they like/respect. That allows solutions that aren’t neutral to be purchased.

Gaining influence is something companies strive for. If you are selling something you engage early and attempt to influence what happens next. If you are buying something you allow the suitors to propose their solutions. In all cases we as human beings are influenced by what happens next. I’ve read studies over the years that talk about the winning and losing of influence. That in losing influence it can take as much as 5 years to gain it back. I go back to the neutral comment. If things worked as they should you in fact would only lose influence on the project you lost not all projects.

It is an interesting problem to think about.


Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.