With fewer projects on the horizon, will there still be a need for go-between teams? Absolutely, experts say. “The danger with slashed budgets is that they’ll be cut across the board: ‘Let’s whack 10 percent off everything!’” says Bobby Cameron, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. While that may seem fair, it can lead to less-than-optimal results. “It can mean expectations aren’t met and quality isn’t delivered,” he says. “The right way to do it is to work with a relationship management or demand management team and have a conversation about what changes IT should make. Everything that IT does affects some aspect of the business, so it’s important to create changes in IT based on adjustments the business is willing to make.”
Cutting a go-between team is likely to reduce project efficiency. “A business unit with five projects can interact with either five project teams or one liaison office,” Adam Nelson, director of management and IT consulting at Keane, explains. A smarter way to cut, he says, is to combine relationship management for two or more business units in one liaison team.
And a go-between team can help in making wise choices as to which projects to cut in the first place. “If you have IT/business liaisons in place, and they’re working well, they can help in deciding what to scale back and what to maintain,” says Andrew Horne, senior research director of the CIO Executive Board. “With so many companies taking a new look at budget plans, the liaisons are absolutely critical to those conversations,” he adds.