Have you ever said "No" to an initiative or project and prevented it from being greenlit? If so, why?

1.3k views1 Upvote3 Comments

Chief Information Officer in Software, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Because of how the business cases are presented, the ROI is always positive. It's tough for people to say no. I've heard no's in quite a few intake settings, like when we present the business case. Most of the ones that we've said no to were either not aligned with the corporate goals for that year or were something that could be deferred to the following year or quarter.
CIO / Managing Partner in Manufacturing, 2 - 10 employees
The list of projects can be massive, so you have to have a governance in place with some form of scoring model based on strategic fit ROI, legal and mandatory implications, etc. Then it becomes a question of where this fits within our portfolio of projects rather than a yes or no. Instead it’s about whether it’s above or below the line for the next year. If you have an added starter, where does it fit within that list? 

Doing it that way takes a bit of subjectivity out of it. If you're having that steering group with your senior executive team around the table, a scoring model gives you a lot more power as a CIO. Because if you're doing it on your own and for example, the CFO—one of the most powerful people in the room—comes to you and says, "This is my new project, I want you to go do it," then it's difficult for you to say, "No, it's lower priority."

However, if you have a good scoring mechanism to compare it to other things, then the CFO has to justify it to the CEO and their peers, who can then say, "No, that's not as important. We're not going to stop some of the things we're doing just to fit your project in." It's a lot easier to have that group tell them no as opposed to you as a CIO trying to tell them no. It's very difficult for a CIO to say no because in some ways you're adding value; you're a service organization.
Senior Executive Advisor in Software, 10,001+ employees
It's really hard to say no for two reasons; one, we always want to be accommodative. We see the value that everyone is pitching and the passion in every business case that comes out. And the second reason is there's always the possibility that it will be a home run. It could be great and actually improve the organization.

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