Examine the external environment and assess which of the Emery and Trist causal environments that is operating

The following is a checklist of the theories that you might like to apply when analysing any IT Management related issue. This may be particularly helpful to you in formulating your assessment assignments but will also be useful if you want to analyse an IT or business related issue.

  • Examine the external environment and assess which of the Emery and Trist causal environments that is operating
  • Look at how far ahead in time the main decisions makers can predict and what flexibility they have to respond to changes (Schutzenberger)
  • Are the decision makers assuming a fixed or an emergent strategy for the topic in question?
  • Is the controller complex enough to handle the requisite variety needed as per Ashby’s Law?
  • Look at Jenkins’s definition of quality and see if it applies to the topic
    • Is there a Qd problem or a Qc problem?
    • Are they using the right development approach? (agile v waterfall)
    • How does the Oakland model apply?
      • Are they assuming that quality will improve without doing projects?
      • Are volumes increasing?
      • Is there a capacity issue?
    • Are they even measuring the service? (Telcos don’t guarantee quality of service)
    • Are initiatives being justified through Economies of Scale? If so has anyone assessed whether they are at the point of Diminishing Returns?
    • Can you get a handle on fixed and variable costs?
    • Is it digital where the Law of Increasing Returns apply?
    • Does the Oakland Model as applied to development apply?
    • Are projects well controlled?
        • Remember PRINCE 2 stands for Projects in a Controlled Environment 2!
        • Is good project governance in place?
        • Are there several project/programmes managers?
    • Is there good business involvement in specification, development and implementation?
    • Who is accountable for delivering benefits
    • How are the four blocks of the IT Function affected by the issue?
    • Is there good supplier management in place?
    • Good overview of contracts
      • Good proactive management of the supplier
    • What model of IT are they assuming?
      • Is it the plumbing model as advocated by Porter or the investment model as advocated by Potts
    • What is the mindset in operation?
    • Do they view systems as primarily Newton or Darwin?
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