How Does IBM’s Statement of Values Infuence Projects?


IBM currently does not have an official mission statement and translates company purpose through following values:

“IBMers value:

  • Dedication to every client’s success
  • Innovation that matters – for our company and for the world
  • Trust and personal responsibility in all relationships”

Previously IBM had mission statements, with the last official one in effect until 2003. However, IBM, with direct real-time input from employees, created the values statement above collaboratively.

I can see, with the shifting technology and hardware landscape, how IBM’s strategic position is shifting. However, I find it difficult to fully perform this exercise of determining good and bad projects without some sort of guidance – the guidance that a mission statement provides. As a result, for our purposes here, I am doing some guessing as to the mission.

Good Projects

IBM will, by virtue of its size and reach, favor large projects as well as projects related to big ideas. As a result, I come up with the following short list:

  1. Projects that involve basic research on “big” breakthrough advances, such as Watson
  2. Projects that involve new/novel applications of existing approaches, such as applying Watson to a wide variety of areas
  3. Projects that might enhance IBM’s ability to deliver new solutions reliably and effectively – and on a large scale

Bad Projects

  1. Build software and solutions for small markets
  2. Increasingly, manufacturing of hardware, unless there is a special advantage or market situation

IBM has a very extensive customer base, portfolio of technologies, and broad expertise across the workforce – competitive advantages that they want to emphasize.

What do you think? What kinds of projects do you think align most closely with the IBM’s mission statement, and which not?