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  • Mantra for IT: "Participate in the process rather than confront results" - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    to asking questions that are essentially equivalent to oh do you want fries with that and obediently scribbling down the answers That approach of course seems cooperative and agreeable but in truth treating requirements gathering that way is actually a form of neglect of one s responsibilities to the greater good of the enterprise Ironically it often leads to long term failure rather than success Don t let this happen Instead IT people need to be there at every juncture going full throttle to challenge and to help mold requirements towards greater viability and cost effectiveness Few people in the enterprise are in as good a position as IT staffers to drive out the appropriate balance between long term and short term considerations User requirements often come in without context or without practical weighing of consequences and ripple effects or with a failure to consider plausible alternative approaches Molding and fleshing out those key requirements is a long arduous process commit yourself to participate in it The duty of leadership Think about how you behave as an IT leader towards your employees Here too do you participate in the process or do you tend to just confront the results As an IT leader it s my obligation to resist falling into the rut of sitting back and mainly evaluating my staff on how well they re executing Instead I have to make sure that I stay actively and regularly involved in coaching trend setting and occasional course correction all of course without drifting into micromanagement either In other words I need to focus on being a collaborator more than a critic helping to further our collective agenda If I see something that isn t working for example I can t just ding my employee for the gap instead I need to work together with him or her to figure out the best way to regroup and move ahead We re in this together after all Not fully understanding or following through on this key duty collaboration over critique is in fact a frequent way that I ve seen IT leaders fail But back to the film Of course its main gimmick is that the message that it s communicating isn t clear at the beginning it emerges into full clarity only upon successive efforts at articulating and perfecting it Who in IT can t relate to that Think about how user requirements constantly evolve for example or management expectations or even industry standards of success The message also reminds us of the benefits of continuous improvement Incremental and tiny improvements end up creating whole scale shifts over time and drive everyone to new levels of clarity and achievement Finally thinking about this film helps me realize anew how far we ve come with all those incremental technological improvements over the years After all I don t know anyone who works with punchcards anymore Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/11/04/mantra-for-it-participate-in-the-process-rather-than-confront-results/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Climbing the ladder to CIO/CTO: a biographical sketch from eWeek - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    points about some pet subjects such as IT needing to be a service organization the importance of being a partner to the business and so on Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Personal 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 43d6547ca71b2cc37652c9d2a91dc661 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 cross channel retail IT Project Failures Michael Krigsman s must read

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/04/30/climbing-the-ladder-to-ciocto-a-biographical-sketch-from-eweek/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Einstein and the care and feeding of upper management - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    you may need to communicate the nuances of a technical situation obliquely and through creative use of metaphor rather than through mind numbing technobabble laden directness At the early age of 13 I learned that some things were best expressed in parables especially if they were difficult to express or comprehend To that point I read a fascinating anecdote back then that reverberates in my mind decades later It came from page 49 of a slender red volume of mathematical and scientific anecdotes yes I was a strange child called The Other Side of the Equation by Howard W Eves c 1971 Prindle Weber Schmidt This book is now available as part of a larger volume that includes material by Mr Eves Here s the anecdote and in the spirit of my advice above I ll let it speak for itself Einstein and his blind friend Not long after Einstein s arrival in Princeton he was invited by the wife of one of the professors of mathematics at Princeton to be guest of honor at a tea Reluctantly Einstein consented After the tea had progressed for a time the excited hostess thrilled to have such an eminent guest of honor fluttered out into the center of activity and with raised arms silenced the group Bubbling out some words expressing her thrill and pleasure she turned to Einstein and said I wonder Dr Einstein if you would be so kind as to explain to my guests in a few words just what is relativity theory Without any hesitation Einstein rose to his feet and told a story He said he was reminded of a walk he one day had with his blind friend The day was hot and he turned to the blind friend and said I wish I had a glass of milk Glass replied the blind friend I know what that is But what do you mean by milk Why milk is a white fluid explained Einstein Now fluid I know what that is said the blind man but what is white Oh white is the color of a swan s feathers Feathers now I know what they are but what is a swan A swan is a bird with a crooked neck Neck I know what that is but what do you mean by crooked At this point Einstein said he lost his patience He seized his blind friend s arm and pulled it straight There now your arm is straight he said Then he bent the blind friend s arm at the elbow Now it is crooked Ah said the blind friend Now I know what milk is And Einstein at the tea sat down Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication People Comments wheatdogg says October 1 2007 at 10 50 am My boss is a Harvard grad and earned an MBA from a prestigious university She knows little about tech however so my

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/09/22/einstein-and-the-care-and-feeding-of-upper-management/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Getting an IT assessment: pitfalls to watch for - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    weight carried by an outsider s opinion ironically will be stronger than yours Be careful of hiring someone with an axe to grind specifically with services to sell For this reason I recommend steering away from engaging the big consulting companies for such an assessment or even smaller consulting companies and suggest going with an independent Often a larger firm will regard an IT assessment as simply a foot in the door on the road to longer and more lucrative engagements Steer the effort from its inception in the direction of looking at IT business interaction as a holistic issue I ve often seen such assessments unearth fundamental flaws in non IT areas most commonly in how the business played their role or didn t play a role in project prioritization Stakeholders across the business need to be prepared for such a finding No matter what level of involvement you have during the assessment you need to realistically expect that more negatives will come out of the study than you think are accurate or justified After all the company is not paying the assessor to discover that everything is fine and most will tend to err on the side of exposing every possible blemish they perceive My advice once again is to cultivate a thick skin in yourself and your staff Equally the findings of the assessment will often serve to confirm the points that you and your internal staff may have already been making to others at the company but which were not being received well by stakeholders It s easy to have your staff if not you yourself feel some disgruntlement about that To repeat have a thick skin and lead by example Insist that the assessment be useful not simply voluminous and abstract It should sketch out some concrete plans of action with possible timelines and a careful discussion of tradeoffs What s not effective is for you or the company to simply put the resulting document into a drawer and do nothing about its findings I ve actually seen this happen fairly frequently By the same token don t just merrily add the findings as new initiatives to the already teeming pile of things you have to get done As with all efforts you need to weigh the tradeoffs see how the internal pressures from above may have changed and proceed accordingly Expanding on that last point no assessment will substitute for what you need to do every day as part of the basics of running an IT department So returning to those basics as the CIO how can you improve your IT department The major elements of your answer shouldn t be much different from what any external assessment will tend to cover measure the various areas development operations QA project management etc over a reasonable period of time so that you re dealing with actual data prioritize the issues that are most injurious to the company and to the department s perceived effectiveness and

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/07/21/getting-an-it-assessment-pitfalls-to-watch-for/ (2016-04-28)
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  • IT anti-patterns: reverse behavior lessons from Steve Jobs - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    can feel as if their edge is slipping away At its most extreme this syndrome means they can t let go of any detail however small Example when I opined on Twitter that successful IT management meant having to leave a lot of the details behind and embrace a certain level of ambiguity at least one respondent told me flat out that such ambiguity was unacceptable and that IT leaders need to know the details in order to make informed decisions So the snowballing legend of Steve Jobs bolstered both of these IT anti patterns unfortunately Don t consult others as you design or tweak your products At its worst I ve seen IT people embrace that notion in full hubris and even reject polling users about system requirements we already know what they need after all far better than they do And the frequent result is and we ve all seen this happen a system gets launched that users reject instantly because it doesn t fill their needs Our instincts for most of us are anything but Jobsian Stay on top of all technical detail as an IT leader In any but a very limited arena that s simply a recipe for leadership failure Leaders are there to handle the big picture issues the politics the prioritization It doesn t matter what your skill level or degree of experience with technology is when you focus on the big picture items any reasonably large and complex environment will quickly outstrip your ability to keep up on the technical details and sooner or later you re going to have to rely on your people to handle those details promptly and correctly Here again legend outstrips reality Jobs of course didn t stay on top of every technical detail he picked the ones that mattered to him and over time proved to be right in his instincts more often than not Let s remember that Jobs was an outlier Citing him as a role model for all business decision makers needs to take that into account You might as well cite the musician who s never taken a lesson and can t read music the orator who never rehearses his speech the athlete who doesn t practice the writer who never does rough drafts Those outliers exist are noteworthy and even admirable but they re not something to directly aspire to So the lessons from Steve Jobs can be taken way too far especially in IT People can start to think that all it takes to mirror Jobs success is to insist on having things your way go with your own instincts watch every detail no matter how small and dismiss the notion of seeking out customer input Unfortunately for every Jobs out there with magical instincts about what will work and a track record to prove it there are thousands of us lesser souls creating products without such infallible insight into what customers really need We actually gasp have to ask

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2011/12/02/it-anti-patterns-reverse-behavior-lessons-from-steve-jobs/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Why the CIO should air the dirty laundry - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    they often persist in well sweeping them under the carpet It s time for you the IT leader to be directive and to put the following sort of written policy into effect Policy All unplanned outages must be reported immediately to the outages email distribution list The communication should provide the information listed below in this document In the event not all the information required below is available at the time the outage message is sent indicate that a follow up message providing all of the required information will be sent within 4 hours during normal business hours M F 8 5 If an outage is not resolved within 30 minutes a follow up communication must be sent with an updated status Such updates must continue every 30 minutes until the outage is resolved Unplanned Outage Communication Format Issue Action what is or will be down from a user perspective when the outage began and for how long or an estimated restore time if the service is still down Customer Impact what was will be noticed by the customer Internal Impact what was will be noticed by internal personnel Resolution What was done to restore the service Root Cause What was the true cause of the problem This should be identified whenever possible as soon as possible Preventative Measures Process Improvements What steps are being taken to ensure this type of problem does not recur or to allow quicker response if it does Once you put this policy into effect expect to spend a fair amount of time fine tuning the communications The most common problem you ll see is difficulty in crafting the language to be business oriented e g don t do things like include traceback logs and in the drilldown to identifying the true root cause of the problem Equally expect at some point to hear the observation from your peers that gee the system seems to be down a lot more lately Increased visibility of system problems can get interpreted as an increase in frequency You ll need to stave this off from the start by making sure that your business stakeholders are aware of what you re mandating and why It ll be potentially be a battle to recalibrate your team s mindset towards greater notification but it ll be worth it in the long run Remember what matters focus everyone on the search for root cause and identification of process improvement on every outage Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication Pillars of Purview Process Trackbacks Canaries in the coal mine Why your IT department may be in worse shape than you think says May 1 2009 at 12 02 pm There s no published record of system uptime and failures IT departments that don t monitor measure and publish their operational success rate probably Hot stove lessons part II development and operations says September 18 2009 at 3 50 pm next

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/01/15/why-the-cio-should-air-his-dirty-laundry/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Most popular posts on this blog - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    1 introduction and common sense Complexity isn t simple multiple causes of IT failure Career tips for the CTO CIO path One CIO s lessons learned in managing others Hiring and firing an example of a stellar employee Nuts the biggest trap of all for IT stakeholders Using feedback loops to improve IT department service Novels of IT Part 2 Haunting the CEO CMOs outspending CIOs on technology so what Here s what Novels of IT Part 3 Adventures of an IT Leader The Practical CIO Difficulties in project prioritization selection part 2 IT transparency is good But how transparent should you be IT consumerization the cloud and the alleged death of the CIO Yes we can yes we must the ongoing case for IT Business alignment A rational CapEx purchase and tracking process for IT More timeless still relevant information technology jokes The Practical CIO Difficulties in project prioritization selection part 1 Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print 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

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/most-popular-posts-on-this-blog/?shared=email&msg=fail (2016-04-28)
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  • Skills that have mattered to me as a CTO/CIO - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    PDP 8 and NOVA instruction sets way way way before the advent of the personal computer Public speaking In another life I was a teacher for several years but it didn t come easily I had to get over the all consuming sense of nausea that would hit me before and after I taught After years of teaching though this stage fright phenomenon simply disappeared Executives need to be able to present If you don t feel comfortable talking to groups I d recommend that you hone this skill SQL I m not putting specific computer languages on this list although each language tends to expand one s mind in a slightly different direction from before SQL though is a non procedural data driven very different way of thinking and I believe that it is so crucial to today s systems that anyone in IT should understand the basics of how it works Unix piping It s not the syntax it s not the specific OS it s the mindset that matters here simple small single purpose independent tools chained together creating magic Also rans source code control object oriented programming and yes a specific language the best Swiss Army chainsaw around Perl So what skills do I wish I had that I haven t been able to acquire A couple of key ones come to mind Visual thinking The old cliche about a picture being worth a thousand words That just doesn t work for me although I certainly recognize that I m in the minority on this one Give me quality prose over often incomprehensible diagrams any day But when diagrams and pictures do work they elicit a kind of startling clarity and focus that I wish came to me more naturally See the Lagniappe section for a couple of references Glib persuasiveness I m not great at selling in situations where I can t feel a deep personal conviction I ve met people over the years whose powers of persuasion stunned me Without any tinge of prevarication these people were able to spin difficult situations or product aspects into total non issues Some call it selling ice to Eskimos Me At the extreme it s kind of like the old joke that HP would tend to market sushi as cold dead fish Some days I feel that I could have worked for HP Lagniappe Edward Tufte The Visual Display of Quantitative Information 2nd edition Aside from the content itself this is also among the most beautiful physical books I ve ever seen Malcolm Craig Thinking Visually Business Applications of 14 Core Diagrams Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Personal 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

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2007/11/19/skills-that-have-mattered-to-me-as-a-ctocio/ (2016-04-28)
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