by Michael Cattanach | 4 Minute Read

Peanut butter and jelly, while different standalone substances with many uses, are often paired together to achieve a synergy loved by millions of people: the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

This recipe reminds me of the tug of war played between business and technology organizations. Often, one or the other is looking to take control of large programs, corporate funding, and ultimately just try and be the best sandwich they can be without the other. We think this is a huge mistake. With our clients, we have found that, when effectively managed, the combination of Business and Technology at the table provides the perfect sandwich, and ultimately creates a win for internal and external customers. Let us look at the why:

Standalone delivery. We frequently see organizations try to bite off a large project without their partners, perhaps just the peanut butter, so what happens?

  • Requirements are not fully defined, or are missing key insights from additional stakeholders that sit outside the controlling team.
  • One team has holistic financial accountability, which can put stress on financial budgets or cause other stakeholders to disengage.
  • Timelines established by the controlling partner may or may not align with other stakeholders (we see this all the time).
  • Stakeholders’ teams without direct ownership may not be willing to repurpose their top talent or have otherwise committed resources elsewhere in places they own funding.

These challenges are just a sampling of issues we see that tend to stress organizations and encourage individual sandwich building inside the organization, which we believe can lead to unhealthy practices, which then silos organizations and creates anti-patterns for transformational delivery.

Joint delivery. When we can get Business and Technology to come to the table together for funding, execution, and shared resourcing, we find that:

  • Drives joint accountability from the boardroom to the delivery team(s).
  • Shared financial accountability between business and technology teams provides for teams to tell a comprehensive story of financial benefits.
  • Creates a shared timeline, based on perceived business delivery desires, with input from technology for a realistic delivery timeline.
  • Creates a shared environment for leaders and teams to succeed.

While every organization is unique, we repeatedly see that teams who operate in a "best of both" approach win more frequently- just like the infamous PB&J. Make time to explore your current delivery models, and you might be surprised in finding ways to help your teams win together.

*Cornerstone Agility uses this example as illustrative and does not suggest that people with peanut allergies consume or try and make PB&J sandwiches.