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What He Tangata is about

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people
Maori proverb

Once in every few careers, a soup of ideas and influences warms in the bowl of that career before being struck by a bolt of inspiration that ignites the germ of a new idea. In even fewer occasions that germ grows and survives and crawls out of the soup as a book that brings a fresh new idea back to the industry that spawned it.

This isn’t one of those ideas. This is an idea that is so obvious, so fundamental, that it is spoken of all the time. And yet it is an idea that finds little nourishment in technology, especially information technology (IT), so that it is weakened or dies.

It is the people. IT is the people.

IT is about change.

    dynamic business requirements
    + rapidly evolving technology
    + maturing processes
    + unstable economies
    = volatile IT environments

IT is all about dealing with constant change.

At its heart that change is change of people: changing their ABC (attitudes, behaviour, culture), changing their processes and work procedures, changing the tools they use. First change the people (and if you can't change the people then change the people).

The right people with the right approach will fix the processes and keep them fixed. They'll want to improve and find ways to improve. The right processes will identify the right tools to use for best value and impact.

Without people, change doesn't happen. Without their assent, buy-in, cooperation, enthusiasm and effort, change doesn't happen.

It all flows from changing the people. Without effective cultural change, new processes or tools are a waste of money - you do not extract full ROI/VOI.

Of course it is not a serial sequence. You start with the people, then start on the processes, then start on technology. Start in that order, but work on changing them in parallel, and the multiple streams inform and influence each other.

IT folk too often start with the technology, occasionally start with the process, and seldom start with the people.
Once we understand what will and won’t work culturally and what we need to do to get there, only then are we in a position to design and implement processes.
There is a point, well into the process design, when we identify opportunities for tools to help manage the process and in some cases even help automate the process. Once we understand our people's capabilities and desires, once we understand exactly what we want the process to do, then yes, we may build a solid business case to buy a tool.

Technology works where it is a tool to assist people and support process, where it has been selected or designed to suit those processes and people, and where the people and process work with or without it. Technology makes people more efficient and processes more reliable. It seldom makes something possible that was impossible without it.
The primary objective of any IT project must be cultural change: change the mindset, attitudes and behaviour of the IT staff (and to a lesser extent their users).

He Tangata seeks to revive the idea of "People Process Technology In That Order" in organisations where it is weak, and reintroduce it into those where it has died completely.

IT is the people.