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  • General Archives - Page 3 of 4 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    and less effective ways of going about that sort of networking For a long time I looked to industry conferences to provide this sort of connection and exposure to a wider and wiser set of peers But despite a few positive experiences I ve changed my mind in general about the utility of conferences Aside from technical exposition and tutorials most industry conference sessions revolve around case studies And oh what cases they are according to the presenters Quite typically everything is golden nothing has ever gone awry or possibly could Their own approach is the only one conceivable for success This one goes to 11 seems to be their slogan The presenters seem to think that the more enticingly they portray their project and approach the greater value they ll provide to their audience Read more Tweet Filed Under General Overview Personal By Peter Kretzman 10 Comments Yes we can yes we must the ongoing case for IT Business alignment Tweet How do we IT executives get away from being typecast as technologists unconsulted on core business issues and approaches Face it that s a common situation and dilemma that we all encounter early and often and it s the grist for a constant mill of articles and blog posts and books on business IT alignment Lately though a part of that mill has started insisting that focus on technology should be avoided altogether by what they usually cast as the next generation of CIO So I m going to again be a bit of a contrarian here it s possible for the pendulum to swing too far in the wrong direction I think that we can at times go overboard in our desire to avoid being seen as the geek with the pocket protector Examples some preach outright denial that there might be such a perception problem don t even think of using the terms IT and business they urge and they recommend against ever discussing alignment as a goal Stop referring to the business as something separate they recommend IT is just as much part of the business as anything else Similarly their advice is avoid discussing the technology itself As if a mere shift in language could solve the perception problem and automatically propel the CIO into the inner circle of decision makers Here s the gist of how I see it though in many I daresay most companies the path of IT from high priesthood to strategic key playerdom has not really been fully traversed in other words greater alignment IS still needed of IT with the business Read more Tweet Filed Under Anecdotes Communication General Stakeholders Strategy Tagged With business alignment IT IT governance project portfolio management Stakeholders By Peter Kretzman 5 Comments Must read books on the human factors of IT part 1 the 70s Tweet What is it that sets apart a top notch IT executive from others of his calling To my mind one mark of today s true professional especially

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/general/page/3/ (2016-04-28)
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  • General Archives - Page 4 of 4 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    Filed Under General Overview By Peter Kretzman 4 Comments Mantra for IT Participate in the process rather than confront results Tweet Let s sail into a stretch of a metaphor this time You probably know by now how much I embrace metaphors as a way to impart often via a concrete example ideas and concepts that are hard to grasp So let s go way back and talk about a metaphorical influence from long ago When I was in early high school we would occasionally spend English class watching and then discussing a variety of short subject films many of them from the fertile minds at the National Film Board of Canada Some of these films described by the NFB as socially engaged documentary bordered on or transcended the bizarre they thus spurred all sorts of avid arguments among teenagers easily as much as Ethan Frome or Wang Lung the more literary staples of the curriculum that I can remember from that year There was one such film in particular in fact that has stuck with me for decades After some digging I ve finally been able to identify it by name and origin The researchers at the NFB have now kindly confirmed for me that the film is titled I B M and that it was directed by Jacques Languirand When I reflect on it the film s staying power with me makes sense since it not only features IT elements but also serves admirably and in multiple ways as a metaphor for IT issues As I recall the five minute film it features an unchanging close up view of an automated keypunch machine punching out a series of IBM computer punchcards with a mysterious and incomplete common message The film shows the cards sliding into place and getting punched one at a time then rolling off into the output hopper Only parts of the full message can be read at first since some of the letters of each word are omitted or obscured Little by little though over the course of the film s duration each successive card that is punched contains more and more of the message until it becomes clear at the end of the film that the text reads Participate in the process rather than confront results Think about the wisdom and depth of that line Participate in the process rather than confront results Three ways come to mind of relating this metaphor to IT to its role across the enterprise and even to effective IT management of staff They share a common aspect the duty and the reward of emphasizing participation over passive observation Read more Tweet Filed Under General Personal Pillars of Purview Process Stakeholders By Peter Kretzman 2 Comments Hot stove lessons part II development and operations Tweet I noted last time once again that IT is hard In fact it s so hard that it seems most people have to learn certain core lessons by themselves It seems like everyone needs

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/general/page/4/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Three IT behavior patterns seen in the wild - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    facts rule the day Other than a healthy drive towards high quality work and integrity and kindness in our interactions with others we should allow nothing to become a fixation for us There you have it three syndromes three IT behavior patterns seen in the wild Any of them sound familiar to you too Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Anecdotes People Comments jfbauer says January 28 2011 at 10 05 am All three behaviors resonated with me indeed As I was reading one behavior kept coming to mind that I think is a blend of the all three It probably could have a catchier name than the other guy s stuff is junk but it revolves around the notion that the technology I am familiar with is flawless and blameless where as all the technology around me that I am not familiar with is inferior and thus a target for blame It seems to reflect an emotional attachment to familiar versus unfamiliar technology It seems to be very prevalent in n tier technology My Java application code is running fine it must be that middleware messaging system that is broke Or My web services are passing transactions just fine it must be that security product that is junk The words escape me but these flippant statements reflect a deeper internal emotional loathing for the unfamiliar technology integrated dependant on the technology of which one has comfort The theme is familiar avoid emotion and focus on facts Very interesting and thought provoking post Peter Kretzman says January 28 2011 at 10 37 am Yes indeed that s a good one and it s one that seems to occur almost everywhere in just the manner you describe In its older incarnation it was hardware people blame the software and vice versa Excellent contribution to the discussion thank you John dmmaxwell says January 31 2011 at 3 51 am I ll respectfully disagree with the first two but agree on the third In my experience saying I don t know or It could be that causes many a manager to question your competency What do you mean you don t know Aren t you the IT guy What do I pay you for is the reaction I usually receive Managers want answers not speculation and are seldom satisfied with less Anything near a guess makes you look incompetent Also in my experience being in favor of the best of a series of bad choices means you were in favor of a bad choice Remember that in IT your reward for hard work is quiet How many of us hear from our bosses when we re doing well Few if any I suspect So all you re going to hear about is the downsides of a particular choice Distancing yourself from that by complaining about the downsides is unfortunately necessary self defense I would like to say that these experiences were

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2011/01/27/three-it-behavior-patterns-seen-in-the-wild/ (2016-04-28)
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  • IT, States of Denial, and more Peterisms - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    it but that s usually done in tunnel vision without a full look at the competing functions that would merit potentially higher prioritization than what tends to be picked through such a seat of the pants approach There indeed may be no real substitute for this sort of tedium but that s still not an excuse or justification for liking it you re still obligated to do everything you can to reduce the amount of tedious overhead you go through in a continuous improvement manner In the case of bug lists for example you want to make sure that you insist on testers entering accurate pithy bug descriptions so that you don t spend precious minutes repeatedly rediscovering what the real issue is before you can decide how large an impact the bug has You want to make sure you get adequate neither understated nor overstated assessments of each bug s severity so that you can operate in rapid triage mode If you want to make an omelette you ve got to break some eggs I actually stopped using this one for a while ever since I heard it was attributed to Stalin Fortunately it now appears that attribution was untrue was it Taft Robespierre Chamberlain so I can use it again in clear conscience Just as the main point of the first two sayings is nothing comes without a bit of hard work the point of this saying at least in terms of how I use it around IT situations is that nothing comes without some downsides or impacts Changing a system to be more functional may make it less usable or elegant Automating a process may offend or threaten people who are responsible for the way the current process is manually handled Downsides All of these must be carefully analyzed openly discussed and courses of action deliberately chosen while taking their impact into account The alternative Denial thinking that there s a Shangri La alternative out there that has no downside where there won t be any negative impacts and where there is no risk When it comes to IT whatever your role you need to be ready and willing to accept that it s going to entail some hard and often tedious work And you need to be mindful of the ever presence of downsides to whatever alternatives you painstakingly choose Otherwise you re destined to be one of those people existing in a State of Denial And nobody wants that Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication Peterisms Comments Andy Brown says July 23 2008 at 3 24 pm I m a QA guy and I just wanted to pile on a little about your no substitute for tedium point We QA get squeezed all the time at the end of a project when the deadline still has to be hit even though everyone else has come in late with their part We then

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/07/15/it-states-of-denial-and-more-peterisms/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Optimism, resilience, stamina: the make-up of the CTO/CIO - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    is like a toaster you get it or make it plug it in and you re ready to roll Maintenance shouldn t take much of anyone s time Most changes to systems e g to accommodate new business rules are simple Stakeholders role is to say what they need IT simply has to deliver all of it Collaboration and careful prioritization isn t all that necessary and boy it consumes a lot of time We should keep all data forever disk space is cheap Industry best practices don t matter especially if it means things will take longer We can ignore best practices and we ll be successful anyway I could and probably will in future posts write in detail on each of the above myths but for now I ll tell just one illustrative anecdote that demonstrates the kind of world view I m discussing here Quite some years ago I worked for a company that was bought by a much larger entity At the time we were pushing hard to finish the construction and deployment of a revolutionary for its time CRM like system for use in the company s call centers One of our stakeholder meetings featured the following statement from a newly hired VP of Marketing Well we just got bought by company X they have call centers Hey why don t we just snag some of their code Everyone needs to be wary of any systems related statement that includes words like just and only Of course the notion of reusing other companies software when possible isn t something to dismiss out of hand hence the subsequent rise of ERP packages But the word just combined with the artful word snag revealed an amazingly dismissive world view about the complexities of building and integrating systems We had a long discussion with that executive about how the word snag pretty much didn t apply to the level of systems we were discussing So again it s hard being in IT and it s hard being the leader of IT You need a large dollop of resilience optimism and stamina as your psychological armor It s definitely possible indeed necessary to break these myths down but it takes coming in fresh every day ready to work hard and ready to face the same kinds of misunderstandings of the basics As is my frequent practice I m going to follow up on this post with another that talks about the flip side the ways that IT itself can unfortunately perpetuate some of the myths I ve been discussing Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under People Pillars of Purview Role definition Trackbacks Hot stove lessons in IT part I says August 27 2008 at 6 04 pm QA and project management in other words the whole spectrum As I ve observed before IT is hard In fact it s so hard that it seems most people have

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/02/24/optimism-resilience-stamina-the-make-up-of-the-ctocio/ (2016-04-28)
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  • The agony and the agony: firing an employee - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    Examples spreading bitterness gossip negativity or frequently manipulating others out and out HR worthy behavior sexual harassment anger towards fellow workers behavior unbecoming their position Many times it turns out in these cases that it s usually something affecting them outside the workplace in their personal life Every case here is different and all of them touchy your HR department should be your closest ally as you work through the nuances A word of warning for the first two categories be especially careful of the devil you don t know syndrome In your own executive urge to shake things up make sure you re not focusing on symptoms rather than root causes In other words does the reason for the employee s lack of productivity possibly lie elsewhere in the organization Perhaps they re being whipsawed by conflicting stakeholders and themselves don t have the seniority or perspective to recognize or fix that It s easy to make almost anyone fail if the organization consistently neglects to give them fertile ground to succeed Do some soul searching here is there anything that you could do to help this employee succeed The key point I d like to make philosophically is that firing someone should never be done lightly It should always be tough it should always cause you to lose some sleep before and after I ve worked in companies where I ve seen executives almost strut with pride at their own toughness as exemplified by the number of people they ve fired and I reject that kind of attitude Firing people should never be a source of pride a notch on one s belt type of thing Citing as rationale that we re Darwinists here at this company is not acceptable It s possible to strive doggedly for excellence while remaining aware of the huge responsibility that stems from being responsible for others livelihood The danger you see is that for some people firing an employee just comes easier than having to actually manage that employee to produce good work Yes it s necessary to terminate people from time to time But termination absent any unambiguous for cause grounds should always be after solid attempts to work with the individual on whatever gaps are causing the concern This means coaching counseling frequent talks Doing so isn t just a way to avoid lawsuits it s simply the right thing to do Lastly expect ripples no matter what no matter how justified Every one of your staff has friends and allies in the company Even if everyone already knows that there was a problem situation with the person you ve terminated there will inevitably be some element of staff upheaval concern even paranoia Stay on top of it Lagniappe Chris Musselwhite How To Fire an Employee eHow com How To Fire an Employee Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under People Pillars of Purview Trackbacks The wisdom to learn

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/10/24/the-agony-and-the-agony-firing-an-employee/ (2016-04-28)
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  • A team-oriented approach to making good hires - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    the members of your interviewing panel Get written feedback from each interviewer and do not have the interviewers discuss their impressions with each other The written feedback should c onsist of three important areas pros for this candidate cons for this candidate and a single hire no hire recommendation about this candidate That recommendation is abstract meaning could the candidate fill the position and work out effectively here It s not for example a recommendation with respect to the other candidates It s possible in an interviewing cycle like this for every candidate to receive a hire recommendation from everyone and kudos to your screening process if that happens When all the interviews are complete reconvene your interviewing panel with you the hiring manager as facilitator moderator Ask that each person independently rank the candidates in order of choice from 1 to n Write up the results in a matrix on the board candidates as rows panel members as columns Note that this is why you asked the panel members not to discuss their feelings in advance with one another it s best to have independent assessments rather than the kind of groupthink that tends to emerge when people collude on their impressions Most often you ll see a clear consensus emerge for the top one or two candidates of the bunch Occasionally but rarely the results will be all over the map and you ll find utterly invaluable and revealing the resulting discussion as to why that s so In the end it should be clear that you re the hiring manager and it s your call The panel is there to help you and to provide input not to make the decision itself This process is no silver bullet no guarantee no automated recipe You may have to override the panel or certainly one or more members on it Make sure going into this process that everyone understands that reality The best hire I ever made was an example of my having to override the no hire recommendation of my chief lieutenant about the candidate and by no means did I do so lightly Go through this process methodically and without fail and if your results resemble mine you will discover that bad mishires while not impossible are few and far between You ll also reap the many benefits of having taken a solid team oriented approach to hiring Hiring may be the most important thing you do besides resource allocation to be sure it s really just a species of resource allocation one could argue Invest the time and care it deserves Lagniappe The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under People Pillars of Purview Process Speak Your Mind Cancel reply Name Email Website you MUST enable javascript to be able to comment Notify me of follow up comments by email Notify me of new posts by email Notice It

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/10/11/a-team-oriented-approach-to-making-good-hires/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Process Archives - Page 3 of 5 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    ve done them and I ve had them done for me Before entering into such an assessment it s worth considering some of the surrounding issues and common pitfalls Read more Tweet Filed Under Pillars of Purview Process By Peter Kretzman Start simple a corporate desktop laptop refresh model Tweet Here s a topic that frankly shouldn t even merit a post it s that much of a no brainer if you think about it Yet in the real world I ve found that it s anything but a no brainer at both small and large companies What I m referring to is the need for organizations to track their laptops and desktops Shockingly many most organizations don t do even close to a satisfactory job at this The U S State Department recently made the news for losing track of as many as 10 000 laptops OK chalk that up to government perhaps But admittedly in any bustling active enterprise keeping tabs on machines and who s using what isn t a cakewalk Even Microsoft has its issues in this arena and turns to rolling its own applications as a stopgap Astonishingly most organizations I ve observed Don t know how many machines they actually have Don t know their current penetration of laptops vs desktops Tend to budget by the seat of their pants for replacements for the coming year Can t tell you precisely where a specific purchased asset has been deployed Don t know the aging profile of their population of desktops and laptops e g how many are more than a year old Don t relate the actual handling of the asset e g replacement after three years to the financial handling e g spreading the capital expense over three years from an accounting perspective Replacement tends to be demand driven meaning usually crisis driven Don t have a solid process or any process for decommissioning a machine that is past its useful life Don t have the ability to tell a given employee when his or her machine will be replaced Read more Tweet Filed Under Pillars of Purview Process Tools Top 25 posts By Peter Kretzman 1 Comment Executive questions IT answers pizza parlors and speed chess Tweet Let s mix some metaphors today and attempt to relate them all to the world of information technology and project management I have a good friend and colleague one of the top IT consultants I know He s able to execute crisply at the detail level while keeping the big picture in mind he s especially good at balancing on the fine line separating necessary diplomacy and straight shooting directness For reasons I find simultaneously admirable and unfathomable this indefatigable person whom I ll call Gunner here is planning on opening a pizza parlor as a sidelight and is currently embroiled in the process of threading the various bureaucracies and logistics to make his vision happen We talk about this regularly since I am a

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/pillars-of-purview/process/page/3/ (2016-04-28)
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