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  • Using feedback loops to improve IT department service - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    quantitative answers ones that will let you accumulate metrics over time And you ll need to be prepared for some harshly stated criticisms so get used to that idea Here are some sample questions I ve asked in such surveys 1 Compared to other companies you ve worked at how would you characterize the overall level of service of IT at this company Choices Not good Could be better OK Reasonably good Quite good Couldn t be better 2 Of the following areas of responsibility of the IT department which ones would you say most need improvement pick all that apply Choices Communication on progress Cohesive strategy and direction Internal systems development Overall service ethic Business reporting Alignment with business needs Responsiveness to emergencies Internal help desk PC hardware software issue handling Project management Other please specify 3 Of the following areas of responsibility of the IT department which ones are currently being handled especially well in your view pick all that apply same list as above 4 Compared to six months ago assuming you were here at the company then would you say that the IT department s overall service to the company is Better Worse About the same Not applicable 5 Please give the IT department an overall rating on a scale of 1 10 in each of the following areas with 10 being perfection Choices Service Efficiency Timeliness Business orientation Attitude General competence 6 What other general comments do you have regarding IT interaction with your team and department etc free form entry field Send out the link to the survey in an email explaining your purpose and goals in doing so Give your stakeholders hopefully at least 20 people across the business don t arbitrarily limit it at least a week to respond and nudge them every few days with reports on how many have filled out the survey so far When the survey finally closes thicken your skin a bit OK maybe a lot and take a good amount of time to look carefully at the results and to compose a report to the people who responded By doing so you ll be showing that you take the feedback seriously and have focused on specific action items as a result Then you ll want to send out the survey again in no more than six months your subsequent report there can talk about the specific actions that you took in response to the last survey The good will generated by this service oriented approach should not be underestimated Face it it s the right thing to do and people will instantly recognize that As Mark Twain famously said Always do right This will gratify some people and astonish the rest Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Communication Pillars of Purview Process Role definition Top 25 posts Trackbacks The title issue revisited CTO vs CIO says September 1 2009 at 3 06 pm posted

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2008/04/15/using-feedback-loops-to-improve-it-department-service/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Novels of IT, Part 2: Haunting the CEO - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    and ultimately helps him both to achieve greater insight into what he needs to change in his own behavior as a leader and to take concrete action to turn around IT in general at the company You can tell this novel was written by someone who s been there done that This novel of IT distinguishes itself enormously from FruITion in particular in one main way you can tell it was written by someone who s been there done that rather than delivering an abstract solution from on high John Hughes foreword directly admits as much discussing his 30 year career he writes my mistakes are woven throughout the stories characters and events you re about to immerse yourself in True to one of the core leadership traits he espouses in the book humility the author s own words here foreshadow CIO Brian s own path to learning what he needs to change and leave behind in himself and in his staff as he turns around IT for the greater benefit of the company Haunting the CEO is filled with small and large insights about leadership in general and IT leadership in particular As with other small business books with great wisdom Kenneth Blanchard s The One Minute Manager comes to mind it s easy to pick on its occasional oversimplification of complex issues or to quibble about the vagueness of the necessary steps to follow in order to echo Brian s success But above all the book reasonably and accurately depicts in broad brush ways the necessary mental transformation to use its own words required for an entrenched technologist to become a true business leader Personally I would have preferred that the book show much more of Brian s changed interactions with his business peers and would point out the unfortunate aspect that in the end the changes Brian effects appear to come mostly through his firing of about 10 of his IT staff For that reason and more I d be a little leery of whether this book fulfills the criterion I established up front wanting to be able to hand this book to my CEO so that he or she can get deeper insight into IT and its interrelationships with the rest of the business The danger behind doing that with Haunting the CEO is that the standard image it paints of the CIO as the entrenched technologist is fading so to some degree the book may be making points that reinforce and thus risk perpetuating a near obsolete and damaging stereotype All that said this is a fine novel of IT and well worth the time spent reading it and absorbing its many lessons Next time I ll talk about the last of the three novels of IT on my initial list Adventures of an IT Leader by Robert D Austin Richard L Nolan and Shannon O Donnell Lagniappe Caron Carlson A novel look at the CIO s need to lead Elliot Ross Book Review Haunting

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2011/07/04/novels-of-it-part-2-haunting-the-ceo/ (2016-04-28)
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  • CMO outspending the CIO on technology: "so what?" Here’s what. - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    us that CMOs unlike today s CIOs will be able to avoid vendor lock in as well How do you market your next product if your last one created the problem you re now trying to solve As CMOs assume more purchasing responsibilities they are unlikely to want to buy from poachers turned gamekeepers This is again quite idealistic and unaware of what drives technology related decisions in the real world Does the writer really believe that CIOs today aren t just as much in that same position of wanting to avoid poachers turned gamekeepers There are actually many real world reasons compatibility capability scalability etc why CIOs often continue to buy teeth clenched from certain providers yes even when the last product created the problem we re now trying to solve The author for no clear reason believes that CMOs will magically avoid vendor lock in perhaps simply through force of will equally she intimates that CIOs have fallen prey to such lock in because of what sheer ineptitude indifference venality or lack of spine Please The common thread in that piece then is to oversimplify the role of the CIO everything tends to look easy to the Monday morning quarterback The author fails to take into account the CIO role in its entirety Contrary to what the author thinks the CIO is not just the guy who runs the data center vs her view of the CMO the guy who helps run the business The role has been far far broader than that in many most companies for a number of years As I wrote last year People who see the CIO s role diminishing or IT even vanishing altogether don t seem to understand the full range of the CIO s responsibilities and the importance of more not less technology stewardship as system access broadens They somehow seem to view the CIO and IT predominantly as the folks who keep the servers running If we have no in house servers etc they reason why do we need IT But as someone recently and eloquently said that s like viewing the job of the parent as being the one who drops the kid off at school every day Gaps in the business stakeholder mindset There are many critical aspects of acquiring or building enterprise technology systems long familiar to technology executives that usually escape the focus of even tech savvy business stakeholders such as the CMO Those aspects consist of the boring messy ongoing details that nearly always rear their heads with complex intertwined applications Among these are collecting and integrating data with other corporate resources evaluating information integration and interface requirements maintaining and migrating data as business needs evolve and change staying on top of data security and regulatory compliance issues again amidst constant change To miss not to mention ignore such factors when acquiring technology solutions is to expose one s company to major problems down the road if not before Some may indeed argue that

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2013/06/22/cmos-outspending-cios-on-technology-so-what-heres-what/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Novels of IT, Part 3: Adventures of an IT Leader - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    and why projects fall prey to scope creep and become runaway Why IT resources views and recommendations are often ignored in favor of promises made by external vendors How technical complexity tends to increase over time resulting in risks growing ever higher Why depending on ROI alone as a project selection criterion results in limitations for the business How issues can arise with developers working on their personal side projects even while major project deadlines loom and why the answer on what to do about this isn t obvious Readers see quickly that the authors goal isn t to provide definitive answers on what precisely to do on any of these instead the lines of the pro and con arguments emerge naturally in each case as Barton wrestles with it and the reader comes away realizing that the answer any answer will necessarily involve trade offs risks downsides Running IT often consists of placing bets as it were not determining the one true path that is the right answer Even the chapter ending Reflection sections provide genuine and thoughtful open ended discussion questions not framed with a predetermined agenda The book would work well as a set of case studies for group discussion in fact The reader comes away realizing that the answer any answer will necessarily involve trade offs risks downsides As with any CIO not all of the decisions that Barton makes or the ones that he inherits turn out to be successful bets as events transpire In fact the company is thrown into crisis when a production outage occurs due in part to a security update that had been de prioritized How Barton deals with that crisis and the ensuing fallout is one of the most compelling aspects of the novel The epilogue of the book looking back on its incidents provides an especially cogent summary of a truth often missed by people who haven t themselves worn the shoes of IT management essentially that much of the devil is in managing the nuances the day to day seemingly trivial details The authors observe The lack of effective IT management decision making on the mundane issues will eventually lead to spectacular and seriously negative consequences Note how that s a far cry from and a much wiser perspective than the stance taken in FruITion which argues that the IT function has become so trivial as to not need an executive at all This book isn t perfect of course and I have a few quibbles with it the patchwork nature of its organization at times for example or the ease with which Barton generally succeeds despite his rookie nature however more than any other novel of IT I ve encountered it is extraordinarily even keeled and insightful on the key issues surrounding IT and IT s role within companies It explodes stereotypes rather than reinforcing them it serves up genuine insight and understanding rather than pat solutions As such of the three novels I set out to

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2012/01/31/novels-of-it-part-3-adventures-of-an-it-leader/ (2016-04-28)
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  • The Practical CIO: Difficulties in project prioritization & selection, part 2 - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    set at 80 to account for meetings sick days administrative duties and the like Remember this exercise entails rough estimates and they won t give you a precise answer or actually do resource allocation Then do a speed chess exercise where you estimate project by project whether it s a S M or L This tends to go pretty quickly Then the fun begins along with senior stakeholders you can play what if games a spreadsheet is a great way to include or exclude projects usually based on your SHOULD do evaluated criteria trying to make as much as possible fit into the bag In this model placing an X in the Include in Final Total column for a given project uses the estimate of hours for that project in calculating the total commitment with all included projects and judging whether or not you re over capacity Here s a look at an example of the most simple model As you can see the included projects create a total of estimated hours based on the T shirt sizing which is compared to the total hours available from the current headcount In the above example the total hours is slightly over what will be available from the current headcount meaning that you should look for a different mix of projects that will be achievable Additional sample templates are included for greater complexity e g more categories 1 5 in the most complex template or providing for component T shirt sizing recognizing that some projects involve little development but intense QA for example Picking any of these is vastly better than just shrugging and thinking you can do it by instinct And it helps all participants understand the undeniable but often ignored tenet that projects really do need to be narrowed to the vital few Lagniappe Project Estimation sample templates Excel spreadsheet Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Pillars of Purview Process Projects Stakeholders Tools Top 25 posts Comments Paul Utting says September 21 2009 at 2 23 pm Whilst I like the spreadsheet of sample models the real world challenge that I always face is that each proposed project requires a variety of different skills Even the yet more complex model assumes that all headcount is equal The projects that we must evaluate typically require 4 or 5 different skills and thus the current commitments availability of each different skill set must be compared with resources required for each project To make things even harder the current commitments usually have different start and finish dates so that although a model may indicate that 2 different resources both have sufficient availablity it may not overlap Have you seen any good tools that address these constraints Peter Kretzman says September 21 2009 at 3 57 pm Thanks for commenting Paul A couple of things to remember about the approach I m proposing 1 these are over the thumb squinting style estimates

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2009/08/14/the-practical-cio-difficulties-in-project-prioritization-and-selection-part-2/ (2016-04-28)
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  • IT transparency is good. But how transparent should you be? - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    going to dig in understand the scope of the falling sky and present some options to keep the sky up where it is supposed to be We ll report back by close of business on the status of the possible falling sky Or some other permutation that conveys the notion that stuff will happen but there is a plan and options on the table to address the stuff as Peter says show you are in control Great post Steve Romero IT Governance Evangelist says November 25 2009 at 12 07 pm Nice post Peter It does a great job of showing the downside of transparency I follow a short list of rules when it comes to transparency Information is used for one thing to make decisions Information should be fact based Information not based on fact should be clearly labeled conjecture assumption estimation gut feeling etc Information must be provided to the folks accountable for making decisions associated with the information As if you couldn t guess this is the essence of governance the processes and relationships that lead to reasoned decision making It all starts with understanding what decisions need to be made knowing who is accountable for making given decisions and collecting integrating analyzing and disseminating the information required to make those decisions Sounds simple but it requires a level of governance and process sophistication few companies possess This leaves the door open to either no transparency or the transparency gone wild that you describe Steve Romero IT Governance Evangelist http community ca com blogs theitgovernanceevangelist Russ Aebig says November 25 2009 at 1 25 pm Great article Having been through these situations myself I can echo your guidance Everyone NEEDS you to demonstrate a steady hand and be the North Star they can set their internal compass by The alternative as you aptly describe is a contagious panic The flip side is equally bad All items on all status report being green with no own issues is lighting the fuse on the bomb which will inevitably go off as implementation date draws near Usually very avoidable with a modicum of awareness and comfort with the measured assessment and response to issues as they arise Great post I look forward to reading what you write Mark W Schumann says December 1 2009 at 9 55 am As is often the case Peter the thing that makes what you re advocating difficult is that it requires judgement and a relatively fine touch A lot of people want absolutes but tell all and let the chips fall where they may is not much better than control for favorable impressions at any cost Yeah Being a manager is hard Any formula that purports to make all decisions for you is a poor formula Complicating this is the fact that many IT directors work in adversarial environments where honest transparency exposes you to an unacceptable level of vulnerability Peter Kretzman says December 1 2009 at 12 37 pm Thanks for commenting Mark

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2009/11/24/it-transparency-is-good-but-how-transparent-should-you-be/ (2016-04-28)
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  • IT consumerization, the cloud, and the alleged death of the CIO - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    Golden points out Consumerization of IT isn t about employees using consumer devices it s about consumers becoming the primary users of internal IT applications The ensuing greater volume and variety of application access as consumers tap into what used to be internal IT systems from every conceivable device and geography and time zone has huge implications for companies their organization their architectures As we face this very real trend and the resulting even greater requirements for system cohesiveness and robustness it is hardly the time to opine that IT leaders are now extraneous Finally let s talk a bit about IT becoming a commodity That s nothing new A company that had a great custom financial system used to perhaps have a competitive advantage until such systems were commoditized by the advent of ERP Commoditization of a technology means that it can no longer provide much of a competitive advantage other than through superior execution But every time something gets commoditized we are able to move up the stack in abstraction we can now focus on reaping value from other higher order things that can t yet be commoditized If you re using technology that s available to everyone off the rack you have no differentiator and no competitive advantage Pundits argue that since some key technologies are now a commodity we no longer need a CIO to handle them But I d turn that argument around that s precisely when you do need a CIO to rise above the commodity level and figure out how to leverage technology for competitive advantage and business value And the way to do that means using something other than the kind of technology that s available to everyone just off the rack You want a differentiator So get rid of the CIO because some technologies have now become commodities You might as well posit that since we now have drugstores there s really no need for doctors anymore Or with a different spin there s an old joke about a small child who observed brightly We don t need the farmers anymore we just go to the grocery store instead That s a true but false statement if there ever was one Ponder those two analogies and consider how IT represents both the farmers and the doctors And that the need won t go away Lagniappe Christina Torode IT consumerization rules in the hands of the business September 11 2011 http itknowledgeexchange techtarget com total cio it consumerization rules in the hands of the business Greg Chase February 15 2012 Pondering at SAP Inside Track Palo Alto Has Cloud Computing Made IT and the CIO Unnecessary http blogs sap com cloud 2012 02 15 pondering at sap inside track palo alto has cloud computing made it and the cio unnecessary Nick Heath January 27 2012 Time to shut up about the death of the CIO http www silicon com management cio insights 2012 01 27 time to shut up about the death of the cio 39748428 Steve Romero February 1 2012 Time to End the Claims of the End of the CIO http www itgevangelist com blog 2012 2 1 time to end the claims of the end of the cio html Alan S Cohen February 4 2012 An Arab Spring for IT http techcrunch com 2012 02 04 an arab spring for it Bernard Golden August 12 2011 Cloud CIO What Consumerization of IT Really Means to CIOs http www cio com article 687931 Cloud CIO What Consumerization of IT Really Means to CIOs Marc J Schiller October 31 2011 The Role of the CIO Why You Deserve to Be Demoted http www cioinsight com index2 php option content task view id 884844 pop 1 hide ads 1 page 0 hide js 1 Robin Johnson November 2 2011 Why Today s CIO Must Foster IT Agility http www cio com article 693052 Why Today s CIO Must Foster IT Agility Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Role definition Strategy Top 25 posts Comments Steve Romero says March 15 2012 at 8 22 am Incredible post Peter Now we just have to figure out how to get every CEO CFO and CIO to read it I m going to start by adding a link to this post to just about every one of my presentations Great post Carlos Ungo says March 17 2012 at 2 56 am Excellent post and totally agree with it A MUST read for all C levels Brian Shea says March 17 2012 at 5 14 am Excellent post You completely turn conventional wisdom on its head At the end of the day IT is responsible for delivering business value through technology A decade or so ago the raw components were in house servers and software More and more the raw materials are cloud services SaaS apps etc But IT s job remains the same put the components together in a way that solves business problems I agree with you Peter as the components become more and more sophisticated it provides more opportunity for IT leadership to build value up the stack Exciting times indeed Great post Peter Kretzman says March 17 2012 at 7 59 pm Brian Excellent way of putting it the raw components change but the basic mission stays the same It s fascinating how many both inside and outside IT itself can confuse the care and feeding of those raw components as representing the real work which is what leads to misguided suppositions about the CIO or IT going away when the raw components themselves change and or need less feeding Thanks for commenting Bill Wood says March 19 2012 at 11 08 am Really great post Along the lines of what I have been writing about for some time I m currently in the process of building a roadmap for the strategic CIO and have been preaching the idea that senior

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2012/03/14/it-consumerization-the-cloud-and-the-alleged-death-of-the-cio/ (2016-04-28)
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  • Yes we can, yes we must: the ongoing case for IT/Business alignment - CTO/CIO Perspectives
    tactical delivery is the ante that gets you to the strategic table It s taken decades to get where we are and I d say given for example the anecdote I cite above that most of us are not really there yet anyway Let s not risk reinstating the ivory tower of strategy devoid of the reality that comes from grappling with the actual pragmatics of implementation So here are MY three tips on how to help convert your CEO s understanding of where IT fits into the bigger picture You ll notice the emphasis of these points is quite different from the similar list in the piece I m responding to here in particular my points stress a healthy balance between strategy and tactics technology and business Make sure there s a rock solid prioritization mechanism for all projects where the priorities are clearly set the tradeoffs carefully examined and tough choices explicitly made and regularly revisited by the group of senior management including the senior technology executive who are jointly responsible for the business success of the company Focus on IT governance Project Portfolio Management etc Speak up visibly and strongly to ensure that roof projects are given appropriate attention and priority Build for the day after tomorrow rather than just for tomorrow You in IT are a key advocate for this sort of basic corporate responsibility you have and need to exercise your equal seat at the table And don t let a misguidedly monomaniacal focus on strategy derail your obligation to keep the trains running on time Nothing undermines the case for IT to be viewed as having a greater strategic role more than if the company is experiencing ongoing crises in basic delivery and systems Be the straw that stirs the drink IT given a leader with appropriate vision and perspective can and should be a natural cross functional leader in the enterprise both initiating business innovation AND espousing tactical responsibility They go hand in hand Let me end by quoting my colleague Steve Romero who wrote Recognize that the achievement of alignment does not mean you re done This is where the journey analogy comes in Think of IT Business Alignment as getting your head above water Once you reach the surface you are not done You need to keep treading water or you sink again IT Business Alignment is something that must be maintained as opposed to achieved Lagniappe Michael Krigsman IT failure Blame your CEO February 16 2010 Steve Romero IT Business Alignment is Not a Meaningless Catchphrase October 28 2009 Michael Pattison Is IT Business Alignment Meaningless November 6 2009 Bob Evans Global CIO Suicide Strategy For CIOs Aligning IT With The Business October 13 2009 Fred Cummins Is Business IT Alignment Suicide for the CIO October 21 2009 Mary Nugent The Four Phases of IT Business Alignment December 10 2004 Paul A Strassman What is Alignment Alignment is The Delivery of the Required Results Cutter IT Journal August 1998 Tweet Share this Twitter Google Facebook Email Print Previous Post in Category Next Post in Category Filed Under Anecdotes Communication General Stakeholders Strategy Tagged With business alignment IT IT governance project portfolio management Stakeholders Comments Sally McKenzie says March 18 2010 at 6 52 pm Peter this is great thanks for a terrific discussion of the issues Speaking from the business side I think that one of the key things we can and must do is be willing to learn more about IT The problem I frequently see goes beyond the language barriers business folks are intimidated or are simply embarrassed to say to their IT partner I don t understand what you re talking about please explain it The lack of back and forth learning is what leads to the perceived arrogance you mention and worse the inability for anybody to call BS on someone in IT if needed Thanks again for the good food for thought Matthew Schmitt says March 18 2010 at 6 58 pm Definitely speaks to how a good IT department has a finger in every slice of the pie so to speak Building a solid strategy that truly aligns with the business driving those initiatives is fundamental to IT success I wrote about that topic here http bit ly dhZtkQ Well written keep it up I ll be back for more Matthew Schmitt http matthew schmitt com http twitter com matt schmitt Chris Curran says March 22 2010 at 10 21 am Peter Nice job summarizing among other things and interesting set of Twitter conversations on the business and IT This distinction is so silly do we talk about the business and HR but a reality because of the mystery that IT represents to many in other functions Just ask someone with a business degree about their single programming class if they even require it anymore As we discussed a few weeks ago the Weill Ross book IT Savvy does a great job of discussing the business IT alignment issues from a business or dare I say neutral perspective I agree that prioritization is a top if not the top aligning capability that if done right drives alignment explicitly It is however something that few companies do consistently well It usually takes a large investment to drive a detailed prioritization discussion of the functionality waves and phases The medium and smaller investments often go where the wheel squeaks the loudest On the flip side I think that governance is often misused as an alignment generator Instead a core work process like prioritization is a much better way A complete system would also include aligned processes like enterprise architecture planning and multi year roadmapping Thanks again for an on point and practical as always article Chris CIO Dashboard PS As I was getting ready to Submit I saw the latest Tweet from Matt Watson CIO CTO of VinSolutions Check it out he s the first listed CIO Twitter Dashboard jfbauer says March 22 2010 at 5

    Original URL path: http://www.peterkretzman.com/2010/03/18/yes-we-can-yes-we-must-the-ongoing-case-for-itbusiness-alignment/ (2016-04-28)
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