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  • Role definition Archives - Page 3 of 4 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    manner in other words you can t afford to let them languish Problem is it s relatively easy to fall into a rubber stamp mode scribble a quick signature and move on to the rest of your busy day Multiply that by dozens of invoices a week 52 weeks a year A few thousand dollars here a few thousand there as the saying goes pretty soon you re talking about real money Careful scrutiny of each and every expense takes time and effort but my view is that it s one of the major responsibilities of the job The amount of company expenditures that flow through IT places an important onus on you the head of technology to constantly be thinning the carrots so to speak Read more Tweet Filed Under Financial Role definition By Peter Kretzman Leave a Comment Skills that have mattered to me as a CTO CIO Tweet This time on a more personal note I ve been reflecting lately about the various specific skills that helped propel me in my career and how I picked those up These are mostly metaskills rather than specific technical capabilities A number of technologies that I spent a long time becoming expert in are not listed for example in the interest of emphasizing the broader lessons the mindsets the core understandings that have molded my outlook Are these skills applicable to you and to your path Only you can be the judge I offer them up simply as a catalog of things that I feel have boosted my career Writing The ability to express one s thoughts and plans in clear logical well formed language is I feel the single most valuable skill to bring to the workplace particularly in an executive role Writing is not easy and the result is by no means always perfect But this skill is definitely top of the list Read more Tweet Filed Under Personal Role definition By Peter Kretzman 1 Comment Nightmares before Halloween bad dreams of the CTO CIO Tweet In honor of the season I thought I d share a few recurring nightmares ones that unfortunately don t seem to confine themselves to the fall time frame All of these are chronic worries that have truly kept me up at night most of them stem from actual real life situations I ve encountered 1 Your CEO calls you and asks you why the web site is down and you didn t know it was When the company s web site or any other mission critical system is down escalation mechanisms need to inform you and inform you fast Of course the site should rarely never be down other than for scheduled maintenance so putting yourself in that notification loop subject to calls in the middle of the night shouldn t be too common and painful If you re not informed of these situations I d argue that either your team isn t sufficiently on top of detecting them or they re

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/role-definition/page/3/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Role definition Archives - Page 4 of 4 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    exhibit in order to succeed These augment the Five Pillars by lending them some philosophical background The Five Pillars are categories for your personal To Do list as it were the models I m about to discuss come closer to being questions about the meaning and purpose of it all In one job I used to put the following two points into each and every department presentation I did as CTO because I felt that they re useful insights for every worker not just executives They boil down to these two questions Read more Tweet Filed Under Role definition By Peter Kretzman Leave a Comment The Pillars of Purview of the Successful CTO CIO Tweet So as we ve now discussed you the CTO or CIO brought in to oversee the technology areas of your company are paradoxically not really there predominantly for technology Even if you like to think of yourself as a technogeek and most of us do frankly if you want to be effective in the overall role of this chief information technology officer you ll need to broaden your approach Then what is your purview as CTO CIO Call it marketecture if you want but I ve found it useful to separate my role into five major areas all of which happen to begin with P I call these the 5 Pillars of Purview and they represent for CTO CIO responsibilities in general a model or framework that I ll be referring back to in this blog People Career path evaluations coaching hiring firing compensation public relations to the rest of the company communicating motivating rewarding Process How are projects spawned and prioritized and appropriate resources allocated Is the way that you bake and release software clearly understood and fully under control How is your quality assurance What do your internal users think Product How are you progressing your company s products or services What s around the corner that you ll need to deal with Projects Which projects are on track Which are lagging Why and what can you do Performance How are your systems performing Response time Bugginess Stability How do you know Read more Tweet Filed Under Pillars of Purview Role definition By Peter Kretzman 1 Comment The title issue CTO vs CIO and why it s the wrong question Tweet CTO has got to be one of the most overloaded to use a development geek term titles around Depending on the industry the company and the individual in the position the Chief Technology Officer may have entirely different responsibilities and purview from other similarly named positions And what in heaven s name is a CIO anymore In many companies the CTO title seems to have supplanted what ten or twenty years ago would have been referred to as the CIO which sadly tends to spoil the old joke that CIO stood for Career Is Over As an article in ComputerWorld pointed out ask what a CTO does and you re likely to

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/category/role-definition/page/4/ (2016-04-28)
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  • A technique for preparing IT presentations to management
    to be direly depicted straw men that are so unpalatable as to be not worth the time to discuss Executives and board members have a nose for being oversold and an often extreme wariness of it It can get ugly The best way I ve found to mentor IT staff in these basic precepts and thus avoid presentation calamities is to serve as a senior management proxy in our preparation sessions prior to presenting And that means channeling I intentionally become in those meetings the voice of the CEO or the CFO or the VP of Sales I know from working with those people what their hot issues and pain points are likely to be As I play the proxy I go out of my way more than frequently in an exaggerated fashion to look at things from their admittedly sometimes parochial perspective while I put my own biases aside My goal is to force everyone to consider this are we fully answering the basic questions that everyone always wants to know Have we thought out what the opposing viewpoints might be and why Do we have a planned response If we haven t well we re just not ready My point is that everyone in IT needs to do this Incredibly often I ve seen people prepare for a key meeting and not think through what they re likely to be asked either in terms of the basic questions above or the pet peeve questions that they should be already anticipating Just like the act of writing which requires that you assume the eyes and mind of the reader in order to communicate your points successfully the act of presenting a proposal needs to do a lot of this kind of behind the scenes questioning and answering Channeling in other words So let yourself be invaded if not by a spirit entity at least by your stakeholders sensibilities and biases as you prepare to propose solutions to them I promise you not only will it not hurt it s bound to save you pain down the road Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication Trackbacks We don t like that estimate Change it says September 8 2010 at 1 54 pm answer from IT can t be these are our estimates so you just have to accept them Just as with making any management presentation you need to anticipate the obvious questions adjust your plan to accommodate them where possible A rational CapEx purchase and tracking process for IT says September 20 2011 at 10 16 pm and analyzes only one proposed solution has a right to be intensely skeptical astoundingly that single minded approach seems to be typical at many 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 seems you

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  • "ASAP" considered harmful
    or from long accepted industry best practices It usually comes hand in hand with impatience with anything that might make the effort more complex and or slow things down even though there s usually merit in considering those things up front A common and especially dangerous use of ASAP in IT circles revolves around something I ve mentioned before the much ballyhooed immediate follow on release following a major launch Oh we ll do that in the follow on release people are heard to promise Don t worry that ll be fixed right after launch No problem we ll have a catch up release within the first couple weeks after launch I heard a Big 5 partner level executive promise repeatedly any time a gap or error in the software they were developing was pointed out How often does such a release really happen in the first couple of weeks after a major launch The answer is next to never at least when it comes to fixing anything other than the most dire of problems And when it does the short list of included items typically driven by what s been uncovered in production use is usually far far different from what s been promised all along the line In the case of these piled on promises ASAP has been used as nothing but an empty palliative for concern about real problems If you really want something ASAP then ASAP should actually mean this is more important than anything else But it doesn t Almost never anyway Launch the new system ASAP never of course means ignore any failures of all of our other systems in the meantime Where s the balance Well that s where the due diligence and planning come in So along those lines here s what to ask for and consider as an executive rather than just dropping an easy ASAP as a knee jerk directive What s a plausible defensible plan where we can expedite this initiative What are the trade offs and risks of doing so What are the alternative approaches with pros cons and probable timeline listed for each What am I specifically willing to give up and or risk to get what I need ASAP Then when the results of such analysis are gathered you get together and soberly discuss those alternatives make tough but informed choices collectively and then settle on an appropriate and achievable target date Now that s being a leader that s being an executive Anything less is not much more than strutting Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Anecdotes Pillars of Purview Projects Strategy Comments jfbauer says November 11 2010 at 3 07 am Peter very sound advice thanks for taking the time to share One does wonder why Mr Mrs ASAP doesn t look back at the resource plans and time reports to see the devastation they leave in their wake Chris Puttick says

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2010/11/10/%e2%80%9casap%e2%80%9d-considered-harmful/ (2016-04-28)
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  • DWYSYWD: IT and the value of declaring victory - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    the team s accomplishment collectively and also for specific key contributors inside and outside of IT It gives you a forum to recognize the collaboration you ve had with the stakeholders and to applaud their hard work and patience Declaring victory when in the context of an ongoing Do What You Say You Will Do project portfolio management philosophy builds confidence that victory is indeed what s happening in the grand picture It underscores that you ve committed delivered and can now move on to the many other projects in your queue Having to go through the actual step of declaring victory forces the team itself to self scrutinize are we in fact really done Have we met the criteria for success Do our stakeholders themselves believe that we re done or is it just wishful thinking on our part The text of the declaration itself should remind people of what the project actually does at a high level and sometimes what it does not do This is one last place where you can restate the project s goals accomplishments and benefits for the company It s a great place to point people to sources of deeper information functional requirements specifications etc Declarations of victory need to be widespread published to all stakeholders that you deal with not just limited to the project stakeholders Remember that you re operating in a project portfolio management mode where all activities you engage in represent opportunity costs against other conceivable work projects Telling the Finance team that you just delivered a major project for the Tech Support side of the company may seem like a relatively meaningless step but it actually helps everyone start to realize that it s not just about them These lessons come slowly and often hard As Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts recently said one of the most famous umpires in major league baseball history Bill Klem was once asked Was that a ball or a strike and he said You know it s not a ball or a strike until I say it is To the extent possible be your own umpire For your projects to be considered successful make sure that you don t omit the key step of declaring victory Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication Pillars of Purview Projects Comments wheatdogg says December 7 2007 at 8 46 am You know it s not a ball or a strike until I say it is The Uncertainty Principle of Baseball Peter Kretzman says December 7 2007 at 5 56 pm I ve been thinking about this since I wrote it I should have more broadly stated that the major criterion for victory is that the USERS consider it to be such My point though was that even if the users think it until you actually declare the victory it s almost like that victory doesn t really exist But yes I do like

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  • Quantitative approaches necessary in the CTO/CIO role
    take about two months the toss off estimate that too often rules the day and then sinks the ship Instead do you have a process and a model for breaking down a project and coming up with more than a seat of the pants estimate Are you constantly honing that model and evaluating how well it s performed for you There s lots more involved in this category extending to your overall project methodology and development process but the estimation aspect breakdown of tasks amount of time level of resources is the one where rithmetic comes most into play Resource allocation Cousin of the area above resource allocation is as I ve discussed one of the main functions of management Again is yours seat of the pants or based on quantitative factors What s the capacity throughput potential of your factory development and infrastructure related alike once again Are you filling underfilling or overstuffing that capacity with the projects currently on the docket Do you have a repeatable allocation process that is subjected to regular examination and scrutiny as you strive for continuous improvement Some IT departments swear by specific project management tools to do this others have developed spreadsheet allocation techniques for a squint across your thumb way of making sure you know where the large chunks of resource are needed and being allocated Again lots more to follow on this topic Capacity forecasting Servers system memory requirements disk space network database all of these are finite resources and all of them tend to get filled up over time by the nature of our business Are you awake at the wheel on how full or empty the tank is on each of these Are your plans to upgrade them based on quantitative and demonstrable growth curves and system installation upgrade assumptions I stepped into one company where the operations director had simply decided to purchase major server CPU boards twice a year with no quantitative studies supporting that need Performance metrics operations In a nutshell what metrics are you tracking and how are you summarizing and publishing those metrics for your own use and for scrutiny up the management chain to let you know how your systems are performing e g response time stability throughput A distressingly large percentage of internet companies in particular that I ve gone into as an employee or consultant have been unable to show me any methodical tracking and publishing of IT operational metrics beyond the merely financial Performance metrics development Aside from just meeting the targeted delivery schedules and milestones a feat that by no means should be undervalued how are you measuring development and QA Is your factory functioning as well better worse than it was last year Examples here of possible mechanisms include velocity charts function point counts test case management bug counts over time Rithmetic It s your friend It definitely beats mere table thumping when you need to explain just what your department is up to and how well

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  • The flip side of common myths: how some are perpetuated by IT - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    it This one can be especially rankling because of course stakeholders can and do ask for far more things systems improvements features fixes than could ever be done Again hearing this complaint often indicates a breakdown in what needs to be a regular ingrained process and communication pattern How does IT contribute to causing the complaint If you don t have a clear work initiation process or a crystal clear public prioritization mechanism with regularly published results you will always be subject to hearing this complaint The only way really to combat it is to make sure that stakeholders not you are the principal decision makers behind what gets worked on You have to steer them into grappling with the thorny issues of too many demands not enough resources hence we need to choose Then if they haven t gotten something it s generally because they themselves haven t prioritized working on it to the top of the heap how can that be so hard Why can t you just This is a complaint that erupts out of the dangerous mixture of lack of knowledge and high need frustration How does IT contribute to its prevalence Well do you have a Software Development Lifecycle SDLC in place that you can point to Is it a hopelessly opaque and voluminous set of documents or is there a business level management summary of what IT does how it does it and why that defined approach leads to better long term results all around Combating this frequent complaint can only happen through that kind of ongoing education at all levels Don t assume anyone gets it even if they got it last time You have to keep delivering the message at my last company we did that in just names an absurdly short amount of time and it worked really well This one sometimes feels almost impossible to combat Nostalgia and selective memory appear to be common Yet when you drill into these anecdotal gardens of Eden it s almost invariably true that the claim of we did that doesn t actually come close to what you need to do here and now and almost always was done in order to accomplish the whole job anyway over a much longer time frame than what s being touted and or with vastly greater resources I know I ve actually made phone calls delving into these claims and I ve never had a single one pan out to be close to what was idealistically described or remembered Again the take away point here turning around some of these perceptions is forever bound to be an ongoing struggle and may take years of trust building if the starting environment has badly deteriorated But it can and must be done if you wish to achieve true success as well as perceived success Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication Pillars of Purview Process Trackbacks Optimism

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/03/04/the-flip-side-of-common-myths-how-some-are-perpetuated-by-it/ (2016-04-28)
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  • March 19, 2008 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    of all IT projects to determine how to get the most benefit from the dollars invested in technology I can t argue with that But I also like to talk about another major part of IT portfolio management which focuses on juggling which projects can actually be resourced It s unfortunately easy to come up with ten distinct projects with positive return on investment ROI for example in a situation where it s really only feasible to do one or two of these a year In some companies the pressure to do any positive ROI project becomes enormous even if it means the company is biting off too much at once So what to do Read more Tweet Filed Under Financial Metrics Pillars of Purview Process Projects Contact information for Peter Kretzman Ph 425 835 3487 Email peter dot kretzman at gmail dot com Social media Blog post categories Anecdotes 21 Book reviews 7 Communication 23 Education 6 Estimating 9 Ethics 1 Financial 7 General 31 Humor 7 Industry trends 23 Metrics 5 Overview 10 People 12 Performance 1 Personal 20 Personal R D 2 Peterisms 4 Pillars of Purview 43 Process 38 Projects 17 Recommended reading 8 Role definition 29 Stakeholders 15 Strategy 9 Tools 6 Top 25 posts 25 Vendor management 10 Blogroll 10x Software Development Steve McConnell s blog Archimedius Greg Ness always interesting blogs on networking security and virtualization Bridging the Gap Bridging the Gap between Business and IT Laura Brandenburg s excellent blog on crafting business analyst practices to solve business problems CIO Dashboard Chris Curran blogs on IT management issues CTOvision com Bob Gourley s excellent blog looking at things from a lens of enterprise technology E commerce Wisdom Sally McKenzie is a former colleague of mine who writes a great blog that covers

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