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  • The perils of a new CTO position - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    the examples there s actually a plausible and defensible reason that things were built that way Things that appear at first glance to be crazy sometimes aren t The second trap is to assume that people long standing veterans key contributors articulate spokespeople of the status quo do know what they re doing Often they do but quite often and with all due respect for these individuals they really don t Sometimes you ll discover that they ve been operating without much coaching without full training or experience without even a solid definition of success and that they re justifiably and usually fiercely proud of all they ve accomplished despite these odds Things that at first glance appear to make sense sometimes don t All you have to do is figure out which situation is which Simple eh Your closest perhaps only friend in this endeavor will be facts I worked for a while with Jim Barksdale I still remember him drawling to a roomful of ornery regional executives for our company the following If we re going on opinion then mine is the one that counts On the other hand if anyone has any facts that s a different story You ll be presented with a lot of opinions during this heady honeymoon period Expect people s expectations to be completely unrealistic Your job is to play whack a mole with those expectations without coming across as an Eeyore That tap dance that balancing act is by far the most important thing you can do in your first 100 days Here are some specific approaches you can and should take while juggling Define publicly how you intend to measure success rather than have it be defined for you by instinct supposition and that old stalwart hope Set up incremental achievable milestones rather than go for the whole enchilada on your important projects Get especially close to IT s most prominent and or influential critics in your new company This is usually sales and marketing and sometimes customer support They need the ear and you will need them as an ally as much as possible You will be pushed and you will be tempted to abandon many current projects and start from square one Sometimes doing so will in fact be appropriate but keep in mind that you re thereby eliminating any head start on actual delivery that you may have had Don t be rash Above all don t succumb Don t let the euphoria and sense of acclaim cajole you into the dangerous and adjacent emotions of machismo and chutzpah where you start to believe early on that you ll be able to accomplish just about anything in six months It s highly unlikely that it s that simple and you ll only be hurting yourself by signing up for too much But you re a seasoned professional You already know that right Lagniappe John Kuypers What s Important Now Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/07/25/the-perils-of-a-new-cto-position/ (2016-04-28)
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  • The Pillars of Purview of the Successful CTO/CIO - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    not specifically separated out in the above other than in the last all of the first four areas pertain equally well to software development and to technology operations In fact another peril of the CTO role is if he or she focuses on development to the neglect of operations or vice versa I ve come to realize that a good deal of the discipline of the job involves a careful and intentional balancing of all these aspects Most of us will naturally gravitate to one or two or three of them with an equally natural tendency to let the others slide or at the very least to take them for granted which will eventually lead to a slide I ve found it useful to set up clear and regular mechanisms for myself so that I can avoid this trap These mechanisms differ for each of the Pillars and for the situation they can be regular meetings specific forms of progress report with the self commitment to read these carefully and respond to any yellow and red alerts they contain informal but frequent walking around sessions to touch bases with internal customers surveys etc Yes I ve learned the necessity of having to manage by exception dealing swiftly and strongly with areas that are out of whack but I ve also learned not to descend into constant firefighting either Proactive ongoing work what I like to refer to as showing up every day tends to stop fires from breaking out in the first place I ll be talking a lot more in this blog about these sorts of proactive and balanced measures and will point back to this article as the overall framework the 5 p p p p Pillars of Purview They don t cover absolutely everything a CTO CIO needs to think about it s just a model after all but they come pretty close Lagniappe You ll see me cite seminal books in the field fairly regularly across the spectrum of IT related concerns Here is the first batch Although all of these merit close reads I ve starred the ones that I have found to be personally indispensable books to the growth in my thinking Peopleware Productive Projects and Teams by Tom DeMarco and Timothy Lister Rapid Development by Steve McConnell Creating a Software Engineering Culture by Karl Wiegers Quality Software Management Anticipating Change Quality Software Management by Gerald Weinberg Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Pillars of Purview Role definition 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 have Javascript disabled in your Browser In order to submit a comment to this post please write this code along with your comment d9ee8873321ffe5962fd7a193535af40 Contact information for Peter Kretzman Ph 425 835 3487 Email peter dot kretzman at

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/07/14/the-pillars-of-purview-of-the-successful-ctocio/ (2016-04-28)
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  • CTO/CIO Perspectives - Page 14 of 15 - Intensely practical tips on information technology management, by Peter Kretzman
    or proposal to upper management keep in mind the following Read more Tweet Filed Under Communication People By Peter Kretzman 1 Comment More tips for dealing with IT vendors Tweet Now that I ve covered the more humorous and hopefully the less typical side of dealing with vendors I d like to present some lessons learned for developing and maintaining positive relationships with hardware software and service providers After all we all need to use vendors products and services and I ve learned in my own experience that there s a great deal that the technology executive can do to make a vendor relationship a positive experience for all concerned Here are some general tips tips for during the sales cycle and then tips for after the sale is over Topic of a whole separate post in the future will be negotiations this post will focus on relationship building and value determination Read more Tweet Filed Under Vendor management By Peter Kretzman 5 Comments Watch out Top 10 statements by IT vendors Tweet Enough serious posts for the moment it s time for a little bit of humor hopefully with a moral or two in tow About 15 years ago when I was still a director and not a C level executive I worked a great deal with vendors providing services project management software development and so on In particular my company chose to enter an extended and extremely expensive relationship with a well known large consulting firm which was given near total management control over resource allocation meaning their own resources and an apparently unlimited budget For the next three or four years I worked closely with them Biedermann among The Firebugs working to maintain a semblance of integrity and direction for the project and for my company s financials In the course of all that I heard certain earnest promises repeatedly and came to regard such statements as canaries in the coal mine when dealing especially in the early sales cycle with new vendors At the time finding some strength in humor I dashed off the following list which I m repeating here with some commentary If you hear any of these statements from a vendor not to mention several such utterances strung together in an elevator pitch my strong advice is FAV Find Another Vendor In true David Letterman style here s the Top 10 List of Vendor Statements with annotations Read more Tweet Filed Under Humor Vendor management By Peter Kretzman 6 Comments tanstaafl An Introduction to IT Portfolio Management Tweet I ve already written about how the most important task of management is the proper allocation of resources By that I don t just mean figuring out that Joe and Bob need to work on Project X this week At a higher macro level the issue of resource assignment deals with how the company as a whole plans and spawns its suite of projects Much of what I ll have to say in this post

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/page/14/ (2016-04-28)
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  • CTO/CIO Perspectives - Page 13 of 15 - Intensely practical tips on information technology management, by Peter Kretzman
    though and an important part of project delivery doing what you say you will do that occasionally gets lost is declaring victory when the project is successfully launched This declaration should be a relatively formal executive penned announcement of the launch usually delivered via a broadly disseminated e mail Insisting on declaring victory has a number of important purposes Read more Tweet Filed Under Communication Pillars of Purview Projects 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 Rock and a hard place why estimating turns into a squeeze play Tweet I wasn t ever a very good bridge player and it s been decades since I played Hence using this analogy may be stretching matters but as is typical I took away some key metaphors from my time with the game One is the squeeze play where you force your opponent to discard a vital card It s similar in a way to what s called Zugzwang in chess which describes a situation where one player is put at a disadvantage because he has to make a move and by doing so any move in other words will force himself into a weaker position How does all this relate to CTOs and CIOs Consider the case of having to estimate how long a specific project will take particularly early on usually before any kind of detailed requirements are even remotely fathomed Note that this kind of estimating is among the most critical activities that you and your organization will do because it feeds into the organization s whole prioritization and costing process as a whole Unfortunately it gets you into exactly this kind of squeeze situation If you say a project is going to take what s considered to be too long you ll get beaten down about why you can t do it faster If you blithely sign up for doing it too

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/page/13/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Fits and starts: staying "tech savvy" as a CIO - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    a senior IT leader is not that of a doer but one to best enable my team of doers to do what they do best To be the best that I can at doing that I need just enough in the trenches experience as context From activity with my blog to volunteer work as webmaster and technology denizen staying relevant is non negotiable jfbauer says November 10 2009 at 6 34 pm Perspective much appreciated it gave me pause to look at my approach to this topic and I must say I ve really reduced my hands on to my blog and at home putterings and have neglected more work related challenges I ll need to improve my balance and challenge myself more at work to dip into things a little deeper Thanks for the post Peter Kretzman says November 10 2009 at 8 08 pm Well I didn t say so directly in my post but I do basically ALL this dabbling at home If it starts to bleed over into work then I ve usually gone too far and my belief is that I can t be an effective worker bee while also wrestling with the management concerns of strategy approach administrivia etc Thanks for commenting Fibol says January 6 2010 at 11 49 pm I do agree with your recommendations Peter Practice and doing some field discovery is certainly a way to get back to reality In my case as a CIO I must admit that I digged more these past two years in the user collective experiences of technology I spent roughly 5 to 10 hours per month on making me more fluent on how this social media things makes the workingplace a little bit different Everyday I m finding out new insights that I can experiment with my team internally Goof luck Peter and Happy new year Fibol Alex says January 8 2010 at 7 54 am Hello Peter Kudos for staying hands on I wish more CIO CTOs did Unfortunately software is definitely a contact sport Enjoy your posts Alex Tony says November 17 2012 at 4 48 am I am happy to hear that some CIO s are prepared to get involved in the real mechanics of their departments It is something that I have always advocated but unfortunately most senior managers pretend they are too busy to get involved Fortunately for me I have been working overseas for the past 8 years and had the opportunity to advise CIO s and senior IT managers on how important it is to be able to have a basic understanding of the work within all their departments and to be able to understand what their engineers technicians analysts are telling them It is amazing how well recieved these CIO s are by their subordinates when they are able to join in the conversation in a meaningful manner If more senior managers adopted this approach I am sure that it would have a very positive impact

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2009/11/09/keeping-a-semblance-of-staying-tech-savvy-as-a-cio/ (2016-04-28)
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  • books Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    t purely technical I am ever more convinced that t he greatest difficulties are presented by psychology of IT issues the human factors in how software and systems are conceived built tested deployed maintained and eventually decommissioned Here are just a smattering of the eternal non technical questions that go far beyond the computer language du jour or the latest hot methodology How do teams actually create and complete information technology projects What works what fails and why Why are some software developers supposedly ten times as productive as others Why do some software teams gel and others don t Why do small companies with very few resources often beat out large well funded efforts in the marketplace How technical should managers be So starting with this post let s embark on a multi part survey of the groundbreaking timeless books on such issues I m going to pick what I consider to be the top three books from each decade starting with the 70s Each of them deserves not only a place on your bookshelf but to be read and reread every few years And contrary to what one might think their insights remain not only valid after all these years but have become all the stronger by having been confirmed by the history of the industry since their publication Read more Tweet Filed Under Book reviews Education General Overview Recommended reading Tagged With books classic human factors IT must read mythical man month 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

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/tag/books/ (2016-04-28)
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  • mythical man-month Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    factors in how software and systems are conceived built tested deployed maintained and eventually decommissioned Here are just a smattering of the eternal non technical questions that go far beyond the computer language du jour or the latest hot methodology How do teams actually create and complete information technology projects What works what fails and why Why are some software developers supposedly ten times as productive as others Why do some software teams gel and others don t Why do small companies with very few resources often beat out large well funded efforts in the marketplace How technical should managers be So starting with this post let s embark on a multi part survey of the groundbreaking timeless books on such issues I m going to pick what I consider to be the top three books from each decade starting with the 70s Each of them deserves not only a place on your bookshelf but to be read and reread every few years And contrary to what one might think their insights remain not only valid after all these years but have become all the stronger by having been confirmed by the history of the industry since their publication Read more Tweet Filed Under Book reviews Education General Overview Recommended reading Tagged With books classic human factors IT must read mythical man month By Peter Kretzman 16 Comments No silver bullets Really Tweet Fred Brooks wrote a seminal essay in 1986 No Silver Bullet Essence and Accidents of Software Engineering a model of clear and cogent thinking that I consider to be required regular reading for anyone involved in information technology Despite the essay s brilliance and despite its wide promulgation and deserved fame the phenomenon it describes seems to have only broadened in the last twenty three years Brooks argues as follows with bolding added The familiar software project at least as seen by the nontechnical manager has something of this character it is usually innocent and straightforward but is capable of becoming a monster of missed schedules blown budgets and flawed products So we hear desperate cries for a silver bullet something to make software costs drop as rapidly as computer hardware costs do There is no single development in either technology or in management technique that by itself promises even one order of magnitude improvement in productivity in reliability in simplicity So this basic tenet has been convincingly articulated by a leading IT thinker for almost a quarter century Yet the trend continues new technologies pop up every couple of years and the hype cycle begins Evidently hope springs eternal Read more Tweet Filed Under Industry trends Top 25 posts Tagged With agile cloud computing design thinking fads governance hype itil lean mythical man month project portfolio management ruby scrum soa theory of constraints 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

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/tag/mythical-man-month/ (2016-04-28)
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  • experimenting Archives - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    his or her hand in by doing some hands on work and experimentation with new technologies Your purpose in doing this hands on work is not to become a viable technical resource in the area but rather to get some deeper understanding than you d obtain by just reading an article or two As mentioned in the article I estimate that I spend 5 10 hours a month doing this kind of hands on dabbling sometimes with more success than others Let s look at the kinds of things I do large and small Read more Tweet Filed Under Education Personal Personal R D Role definition Tagged With CIO Education experimenting new technologies Personal self learning 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 what we ve seen heard and learned about e commerce and

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/tag/experimenting/ (2016-04-28)
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