This is not what you need. Yet again, the IT folks and consultants are at odds and you are stuck in the middle.
You are the business leader in charge of redefining the way your company performs its back office functions. You have been with the company for many years and worked in a number of roles — both field and corporate — with some level of acclaim, you might add. You have always worked hard, but are finding that working in field operations is a breeze compared to getting this transformation project launched. The last 365 days have been spent in a series of non-stop meetings, debating, disagreeing, and trying to decide what needs to be done and how to do it.
The IT department as a whole doesn't get much respect, but the VP assigned to you has gained a good deal of credibility during his short tenure by pulling off a project that few believed could be done. He's also a great guy...but becoming less so as the decision date on how to approach the transformation effort draws near.
The consultants are recommending a logical, 3-year approach consisting of a beginning (requirements), middle (development), and end (transition and change management.) The timeline is long, but expected, given the scope of the effort.
Unfortunately, the IT VP says he can't support the "big bang, waterfall" approach to the project and wants to break it up into a series of smaller, iterative steps - where scope is narrowed, concepts are tested and refined, and rolled out when ready. The overall timeline and costs will be the same, but the approach seems much more complicated since integration, testing and training occur throughout the project and, once parts of the new processes go live, the team has to be split to cover support as well as development work.
During "team" meetings, the consultants take digs at IT's track record of delivery. In response, IT asks unanswerable questions (e.g., "How will you ensure that the requirements that are defined in year 1 still make sense in year 3?") and refuses to go along with what is being recommended by the consultants.
You have to decide how to break through this logjam. The consultants were hired because they have the deep expertise that you, your company, and IT don't have. At this point, you are tempted to leave your IT people in the dust. The only thing holding you back from moving forward is a feeling, deep inside, that the IT VP may be right. He is earnest and articulate about the risks associated with "big bang" transformations and has forwarded some interesting information about the risks of IT-enabled projects and how to ensure success.
If you agree with IT, it will cause a big kerfuffle with the consultants and result in another series of endless meetings to decide how to break up the big program into a series of small ones. If you agree with the consultants, your relationship with IT will be severely damaged. You don't think they have the nerve to escalate the issue, but they might. Best guess is that IT will reluctantly agree to go along and you'll spend the next three years waiting for them to say, "We told you so."
What do you think? Why is this leader in this pickle and what you would do in her place?