Technology Budgets: Be Proactive, Communicate, Plan
It was top of mind for me when Forbes recently asked how tech leaders like myself handle budget competition between company departments.
We just started a new year, and for many businesses, that means a fresh budget to work with. At my company, we just finished setting our budget with a new layer of complexity. This year, we are aligning our company goals, plans, and budget with those of our new parent company.
However, even with more factors to consider in our 2020 budget, my approach was still the same: Be Proactive, Communicate, and Plan.
I never wait until the last minute for anything. Budgets are no exception. I am continually thinking about my company 10 steps ahead of where we are.
Part of being proactive is to know what you want to achieve and where you want your company to go. I have goals in mind for each department of my company for next week, next month, next year, and years to come.
I’ve spoken previously about not working in a silo. Communication with my team is important. I try to surround myself with the most competent people I can find, so in budgeting, as with anything, I talk to my team. I search out what they are seeing that I might not have visibility into. I keep channels open so they know they can share critical information right away.
One way that I am proactive and communicate with my organization is to have a plan. In my technology company, that plan is what I call a “Technology Roadmap.” In the roadmap, we identify our core technology and our core competencies. We spell out where we want to grow that technology and then chart a path forward.
The technology roadmap is a critical tool. Every time a new project presents itself, it is evaluated based on how it fits into the roadmap. If it fits, we do it. If it doesn’t, we don’t do it. It makes the decision-making process much simpler.
The roadmap especially helps when setting budgets. Each department in my company has a role in executing our roadmap, however indirect. Departmental initiatives are budgeted based on how their initiatives fit into the overall plan. The more central to the plan the initiative is, the larger the budget leeway granted. Then we repeat the process by proactively prepping for the project, communicating on all aspects of the project, and planning out how we are going to execute it.
Read My Commentary on Forbes.com
I’m honored that Forbes.com published my thoughts on this topic. Read my comments, along with responses from other tech leaders, here:
August 17, 2020
May 29, 2020