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  • A rational CapEx purchase and tracking process for IT - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    ensure that the appropriate corporate guidelines for capitalization are being adhered to Note that often a given project will end up having its cost split over several expenditures e g multiple hardware purchases made in different months so assigning each project an arbitrary but immutable ID is useful to help track back to the original plan As a project gets actually kicked off during the year there needs to be a deeper analysis and planning phase during which the expected costs and timing get solidified and of course written down Here it s critical to document the alternatives to the proposed CapEx expenditure including the risks and cost of staying with the status quo rather than going with the proposed approach A regular process needs to be instituted and expected by all a monthly formal review with the CFO or the CFO s delegate using the following tracking document an itemized list of expenditures planned for last month expenditures actually incurred expenditures deferred expenditures cancelled expenditures upcoming for this month The purchase order mentioned at the beginning of this post That PO should come to the signing executive with predictable standard attachments the analysis document for the project the CapEx plan of record and the current monthly CFO review showing the expected expense What this is an emergency and we don t have those OK but emergencies had better be rare and explainable as exceptions In any case the PO should appear at least a week before it has to be signed No surprises Side notes The analysis document for each project That s an excellent place to make sure that all the costs are taken into account including non capitalizable elements such as maintenance Again no surprises Any CFO or CEO who is being presented the justification for a technology project that lists and analyzes only one proposed solution has a right to be intensely skeptical astoundingly that single minded approach seems to be typical at many companies Here s a key and often misunderstood basic tenet just because a given expense is in the budget doesn t mean that the amount is right or that the purchase should be made at all A budget is simply the bare bones of a plan made with limited information at the time for nearly all projects a detailed investigation with multiple vendors is necessary to get true pricing and timing The annual budget your initial plan of record should be regarded as a mere best faith estimate If I were walking into a company as a new CIO CTO or CFO I d immediately want to see the current CapEx plan and the solid record of monthly reviews occurring as plans gel and change What that isn t all there That tells me a lot And if you re feeling that doing all this is a lot of work Well if you want to be able to spend the money you should be more than willing to put up with a

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2009/05/19/a-rational-capex-purchase-and-tracking-process-for-it/ (2016-04-28)
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  • More timeless, still-relevant information technology jokes - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    prefer Hell he tells St Peter Fine retorts St Peter as you desire So Bill Gates goes to Hell Two weeks later St Peter decides to check on the late billionaire to see how he s doing in Hell He finds Bill shackled to a wall screaming amongst hot flames in dark caves being burned and tortured by demons How s everything going he asks Bill Bill responds his voice filled with anguish and disappointment This is awful This is nothing like the Hell I visited two weeks ago I can t believe this is happening What happened to that other place with the gorgeous beaches and the beautiful women That was a demo replies St Peter This joke has much in common with the first joke in that it plays on something universally recognizable the high energy enticing sales pitch this time in the form of a glossy seductive demo that sets expectations that are of course invariably dashed by eventual delivery and harsh reality The joke is made all the funnier for many by its featuring Bill Gates as its poster child How many of us in IT raise expectations in this manner only to see the disappointment that occurs after actual delivery 3 Prepare three envelopes An incoming CIO replaces a recently fired CIO On his way out the former CIO hands the new CIO three envelopes and tells him when you reach a crisis point open these envelopes one per crisis Things go well for a while but then along comes the first real crisis The manager goes to the drawer where he keeps the three envelopes and opens 1 It reads Blame your predecessor He does this and the crisis is resolved More time passes and a crisis looms again and the manager dutifully opens envelope 2 It reads reorganize Again following his predecessor s advice works like magic and things settle down But sure enough a few months later troubles are mounting once again more than ever This time though the manager knows for sure that help is just an envelope away So he turns to the drawer one last time and opens 3 It reads Prepare three envelopes The degree to which that this joke mirrors actual real life situations is actually somewhat eerie I ve seen various organizations throughout my career and a number of new IT executives in particular where this exact pattern happened first the blaming of the predecessor then the reorganization and then well floundering Let s examine one common thread to these three jokes Basically it s rank cynicism cynicism about empty promises from IT in the first two jokes topped in the third joke with some equally cynical gallows humor about both the classic hackneyed approaches and then the ultimate inexorable outcome for the hapless CIO But here s a more succinct common thread that represents a key takeaway for those of us in IT there are no easy answers Instantly recognizable glibness often stemming from spouting

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2012/07/17/more-timeless-still-relevant-information-technology-jokes/ (2016-04-28)
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  • The Practical CIO: Difficulties in project prioritization & selection, part 1 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    see wildly optimistic assumptions by zealous stakeholders baked into the resulting number The process must incorporate fitting the chosen set of projects to factory capacity See Part 2 for more details on this The process must recognize that there will still be a judgment based component to project selection and focus on standardizing the input information to ensure that judgment is maximally informed Recognize that biases and politics will play some role in project selection and seek actively at all times to mitigate the effects of such bias Again the most important check and balance Not to take on too much despite whatever urgency politics or potential ROI may exist that would be nuts The process must be balanced in outcome across time rather than tending to favor one type of project to the exclusion of others If roof projects are never approved for example that indicates a lack of balance and a probable bias towards short term revenue projects The process must not be overly complex for practicality and again in recognition that it s going to be largely a judgment call in the end The outcome of the process must be clear and unequivocal a set of approved sanctioned projects for the given time frame with all other projects considered as NOT approved at this time Ambiguity here can render the whole effort moot Clearly such a process requires an able active and respected facilitator There s no one answer for who that should be since it depends on the personalities and the culture I ve seen it work with the head of the PMO as facilitator or the CIO or the COO I do recommend that it be a fairly senior individual with the ability and cajones to tell people when they ve stepped out of line with the above guidelines More coming next time on specific ways to right size the project portfolio to what can actually be accomplished Lagniappe 1 Frank Hayes Time to PONI Up http www computerworld com s article print 76504 Time to PONI Up taxonomyName ROI taxonomyId 74 December 9 2002 2 Joshua Greenbaum The Paradox of ROI Do ROI studies really help organizations make better buying decisions http www intelligententerprise com 021115 518enterprise1 1 jhtml November 15 2002 Link and article no longer available 3 Sai Machavarapum Prioritizing IT Projects Based on Business Strategy http www cio com article 22976 Prioritizing IT Projects Based on Business Strategy July 15 2006 4 Are you ready to analyze the demand for your 2010 portfolio Part II http www chiefportfolioofficer com utm source Twitter utm medium twit utm campaign Twit Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Pillars of Purview Process Projects Stakeholders Comments Yang Lu says January 25 2011 at 2 31 pm Hi I stumbled onto your blog when I was doing some research on competition I really enjoy your blog I wanted to make a comment about point 2

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2009/07/31/the-practical-cio-difficulties-in-project-prioritization-selection-part-1/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Introduction and goals - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    to inspire a certain quantity of quality dialog on the topics I cover but that will probably have to wait for a bit of traffic to build Whether you agree or disagree with my stances please consider chiming in with your own personal experiences regarding the topic And remember I m new here to the blogging world so I ll be learning tools and tips as I go Lagniappe Other CTO CIO oriented blogs I was aiming for relatively generalist not product specific blogs of this nature ones that are still being kept current with typically at least three posts a month As I noted though I didn t find very many of these so not all of the ones below fit that criterion These are not listed in any particular order and were updated in November 2009 for a more accurate look at current top CTO CIO blogs consult my blogroll SoCal CTO by Tony Karrer http socalcto blogspot com Candid CIO by Will Weider CIO of Ministry Health Care and Affinity Health System http candidcio com CIO Mind by Felix Enescu http ciomind biz CTO Blog from various authors at CapGemini http www capgemini com ctoblog CTO 2 0 by Antonio Chagoury http www cto20 com CTO blog by Lars Struwe Christensen http www giritech com int Giritech CTO Blog CIO Blog by Peter Birley http www cioblog co uk Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Next Post in Category Filed Under Overview Personal Comments Duane Bedard says July 10 2007 at 10 43 am Peter glad to see you out and blogging I think your plan to focus primarily on things non technical is wise We in IT tend to be more comfortable dealing with technology but as you point out technology is a very small part of what makes an IT organization run In my 15 year consulting career I ve been immersed in over 20 organizations large and small In many cases consultants were called in to solve a perceived technology problem Without exception technology was not the primary roadblock preventing the organization from delivering successful systems Lack of leadership focus good appropriate processes communication and teamwork were most often the issues Many in the technology industry are uncomfortable dealing with these topics but if we want to make significant improvement in the productivity of IT organizations or any other organization for that matter these are the issues with the most potential for impact I look forward to hearing your take on these and more topics Peter Kretzman says July 12 2007 at 12 43 pm Spot on Duane And as you can see from my subsequent post I m in full agreement We all love technology but that s almost never the part where companies fall down Thanks for commenting Antonio Chagoury says April 1 2008 at 8 21 pm Hi There Thank you for the plug I had never noticed that you had found my website to contain useful information Thanks

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/07/06/introduction-and-goals/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Must-read books on the human factors of IT - part 1, the 70s - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    ring familiar to any long time IT practitioner The titular essay introduces the concept of the mythical man month his adage that adding manpower to a late software project makes it even later But there s much more such as plan to throw one away where Brooks points out that the first system built is barely usable there is no alternative but to start again I can t say enough about this book As with the Weinberg book the anniversary edition now being sold includes extra material Brooks later 1986 equally seminal essay No Silver Bullets see my post on this No Silver Bullets Really as well as some added chapters that revisit the assumptions of the first edition Weizenbaum Computer Power and Human Reason 1976 Ultimately this is a book about the limits of computers and software Weizenbaum a noted computer scientist in the early days of Artificial Intelligence research wrote a program called ELIZA featuring a script that enabled it to parody the responses of a nondirective psychotherapist in an initial psychiatric interview In other words his test subjects would converse with a software program that emulated a therapist Weizenbaum became horrified by how many people forgot that this was just a machine they were talking to and that the dialog was really just an illusion Many insisted to his amazement and despite his explanations that the computer actually understood them IT professionals today can be just as swept away to a fault with the potential ultimate power of software and systems as Weizenbaum describes I m inspired and reinvigorated every time I read his sobering methodical discussion of the nature of programming the limits of its scope and the need to consider the social implications of technical projects The next time I ll be on to the key books of the 80s I ve already picked the books I tentatively plan to write about but I welcome your suggestions Lagniappe Here are a couple of books that didn t quite fit in my theme and chosen time frame but which are still worthy of mention Thomas Kuhn The Structure of Scientific Revolutions 1962 Nobel Prize winning physicist Steven Weinberg wrote that this book has had a wider influence than any other book on the history of science This book is not about information technology directly but its influence has been monumental across all scientific disciplines and it is a book that any technologist should know well Ted Nelson Computer Lib Dream Machines 1974 This was a self published book in the early 70s by influential industry visionary Ted Nelson the man who coined the term hypertext It s probably different from just about any book you ve ever read Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Book reviews Education General Overview Recommended reading Tagged With books classic human factors IT must read mythical man month Comments jfbauer says January 7 2010 at 9 34 am Great

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2010/01/06/must-read-books-on-the-human-factors-of-it-part-1-the-70s/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Valuable vs. fun: learning to love IT Asset Management - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    not paying enough attention to the thorny details of IT asset management and resolving each case caused a great impact financial and otherwise on the company Do you like crises Then just ignore IT asset management for a year or two A practical source of help Each of those crises could likely have been averted had the IT executive followed the overall philosophy and specific tips contained in Reducing Risk and Maximizing Investment Through IT Asset Management After a short introductory chapter covering overall concerns such as negotiation vendor relationships competition etc the bulk of the book delves into great detail on three areas platform vendor and professional services hardware leasing and software license management I ve been at this for many years and I still garnered new insights useful information practical advice and improved understanding of ITAM nuances The section on leasing for example is mindnumbingly thorough on the details and pitfalls while also providing the very accurate big picture foundational insight that the leasing companies are in the business to make money off of companies who cannot purchase money as cheaply as they can They also count on the lessees not being able to properly manage their leased assets Through little fault of its own the book isn t exactly gripping however and I found myself frequently having to slow down and reread sections in order to fully absorb the many insights it contains There s clearly a natural limit to how much a dry topic like this will be able to keep any reader glued to the page In fact I was as susceptible to this topic fatigue as anyone despite my substantial interest in the subject I have had this book on my list to review for a year and a half and have read it cover to cover twice in that time yet still not managed until now to codify my thinking into a blog post Nonetheless the book s content is generally spot on in its relevance and usefulness to the practicing IT executive and it would be a serious mistake to pass it up simply because it promises to be a bit of a slog In fact one of my favorite quotes from the book is when it dryly notes about its own detailed explanations of leasing nuances that each item you skip over is a potential money making opportunity for the lessor Room for growth The interesting thing This book could easily be five times its size What it covers it generally covers well but I see it quite potentially as release 1 0 in nature since there s so much more to the topic I d like to see additional in depth sections on such things as specific asset management tools with pros and cons negotiation approaches capacity planning There s a lot more to the ITAM story than can be fully covered in the current 138 pages Take for example just the relatively new topic of cloud resourcing with such

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2012/07/31/valuable-vs-fun-learning-to-love-it-asset-management/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Novels of IT, Part 1: Turtles All The Way Down - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    about whether he s about to be sacked and the strategists are constantly making subtle and not so subtle references as to whether or not he s getting it and whether he ll even be around for the next go round It s us vs them in other words in spades Ironically one character presented as particularly insightful is introduced positively as being fed up with the us and them and we know best attitudes of some IT people towards the rest of the company Yet IT is presented mainly in the negative indeed with disdain at every turn Yet IT is presented mainly in the negative indeed with disdain at every turn characterized repeatedly and triumphantly as delivering no value on its own and it s emphasized that no one values what IT does Everyone else in the novel sees things clearly except for the IT people who execute their strategies at arms length from everyone else rather than by collaborating In one characteristically heavy handed moment in the novel Ian s IT Strategy Manager views with excitement the chance to participate in a key software vendor s new beta release It could change our whole strategy he enthuses not realizing how narrow that statement shows his notion of strategy to be Face it we ve all known people in IT that exhibit those small picture tendencies But I don t believe that it s useful or accurate in this day and age to trot out such stereotypes and thereby blast the entire discipline One strategic character in the book even tells Ian we want you to break loose join the gang help us turn the tables on those bastards in IT In the end Ian escapes ascends into this strategic realm away from IT but all the future pesky technical decisions are then relegated to a Technical Services Manager whom they elevate to CTO and whose stated job it is to get the IT we wanted to use delivered reliably well economically at an acceptable level of risk and with economies of scale and synergies Nothing else Simple eh Note the amusing similarity of this new CTO role to what the role of the CIO was also thought to be way back when As the old joke has it from here it s turtles all the way down In essence it s technology bad strategy good this novel presents an overly simplified frankly offensive and ultimately detrimental dichotomy The book seems quite intentionally to consider current day IT as a mere exercise in procurement All in all our people now know enough about IT and how to use it not to need an executive to make those decisions for us All we really need is someone who can source the IT services we want to use Really We know what we want IT just needs to get it for us Order takers How many years decades ago did we all collectively figure out that that s a counterproductive

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2011/06/16/novels-of-it-part-1-turtles-all-the-way-down/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Novels of IT: The Phoenix Project - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    projects taking on new work that doesn t have a prayer of succeeding Why Because you have no idea what capacity you actually have You re like the guy who is always writing checks that bounce because you don t know how much money you have and never bother opening your mail But for all its strengths there are notable irritations about the book as well first the entire action of the novel takes place in an incredibly unrealistic mere three months taking the company of Parts Unlimited from unmitigated IT disaster to essentially a fine tuned machine and even seeing its IT protagonist Bill Palmer elevated to the position of being groomed to be COO due to his success in turning IT around Granted that s part of what Nabokov called the easy swing of a well oiled novel but here the extreme time compression can foster the false sense that the answers to the IT crisis are simple and quick if only people would wise up Second when it comes to wising up a lot of the insight and enlightenment that brings Bill to his success emanates from the wise guru influence of the elusive and eccentric Erik Reid described as little more than potential new board member and technology hotshot who pops up at sundry key intervals in the novel to pose some Socratic questions and then disappears while Bill puzzles over their answers and stumbles his way towards solutions This isn t an uncommon technique in these novels of IT FruITion of course is the most annoying and unrealistic case its IT characters are little more than dolts and there the external wisdom comes from the sage and apparently infallible strategists elsewhere in the business who chortle at being able to turn the tables on those bastards in IT But Haunting The CEO does it too it features Carol Lee as the wise and seasoned CIO advisor guiding embattled CIO Brian Kagey to enlightenment on IT management issues Adventures of an IT Leader has the enigmatic kid in the bar regularly offering new CIO Jim Barton advice over drinks The kid of course then turns out to be a zillionaire board member of Jim s own company Of course Hey I m as much in favor of mentoring and seeking solid advice as anyone but the suggestion in such novels implicit and explicit that there are people out there if only one would listen to them with ready made fluid answers to the very real complex dilemmas confronted by IT is ultimately absurd and insulting It s turning messy thorny IT leadership issues into little more than a parable of Mr Miyagi In the harsh reality of IT business trade offs things are rarely that simple and never that quick In fact one of the criteria I ve evolved for these novels is that I look for nuanced presentation not pat answers that amount to a one true way advocacy In The Phoenix Project the one

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2013/01/28/novels-of-it-the-phoenix-project/ (2016-04-28)
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