A marketing consultant recently called to complain that his client needed a special customer-oriented program done in the next six weeks and that the client's IT department insisted it would take six months. I could sympathize with him. I have been in every possible IT-marketing situation--often several situations at the same time. Finding the right balance between supporting the often-unrealistic timelines of marketing and the often-inflexible timelines of IT has long been a challenge.
In this case, three of Chris Murphy's eight warning signs were flashing red. The IT department was overly concerned about security; it did not have the appropriate computing capacity; and, worst of all, IT and marketing weren't talking. Flashing yellow was the absence of IT in discussions about new product development. I told the consultant that I suspected marketing was asking for far more than it really needed and that IT was padding the time it would take to roll out the program because of its bad experiences working with the marketing folks. I told him to tell both parties that the six-week/six-month gap was too large to be cleared simply by refining the requirements. Both groups would have to compromise and develop a joint plan.
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