7 things you can do

You might be thinking that your technology problems with your people. And they are people problems, but replacing them isn’t likely to help. These are things that you can do to save time, money and get the competetive edge you are looking for from your technology investment.

1. It’s people, not technology

Posted by on Apr 7, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

1. It’s people, not technology

It’s the people. You think you can buy technology … you can’t. You can only buy the time and attention of the people who can get it for you. Business technology is not a commodity or a product you can buy off the shelf.  It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to get your technology from your internal IT department or from outside vendors.  Ultimately it is selected, built, customized, integrated and supported by people, craftspeople. And the quality of your relationship with them determines whether you get what you really want. Imagine that you want to build a custom...

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2. New people, same problems

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

2. New people, same problems

It’s not the people. You think that your tech people are your problem, and new people are the answer.  You hire and fire a hire someone new with high hopes that magic will happen. Before long, the same old problems come back, and hope gives way to disappointment, followed by despair, and eventually disgust.  Last year’s hero becomes this year’s putz.  So you sack him and get someone new. You think you are making a series of  “hiring mistakes,” and if you keep trying, you’ll find someone to make things work. Not only is this approach based on faulty assumptions, but it...

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3. Safety First

Posted by on Apr 5, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

3. Safety First

Make it safe. To get the most from your technology dollar, create a safe place to work. For geeks, the most important feature of a work environment is safety, not physical, but emotional.  While fear may be a great motivator for some people, it’s not for people who do technical work.  You want them to focus their entire creative potential on their work.  But they have limited creative energy and if geeks feel unsafe, they will focus on protecting themselves rather than on getting the technology you want. You’ve probably already experienced this in the form of: Reluctance to commit to...

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4. Listen carefully and patiently

Posted by on Apr 4, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

4. Listen carefully and patiently

Listen patiently. Like it or not, you need to invest some of your scarce time and mental energy in listening to your geeks. For non-technical people, listening to geeks is often frustrating.  They: Speak in incomprehensible jargon Don’t seem to understand what’s important to you Talk down to you Focus on details Won’t get to the point But, I’ll share a little secret with you.  They often find talking to you just as frustrating.  They feel that you: Dismiss their ideas and opinions reflexively Don’t want to understand what’s important to them Talk down to them Focus on vague...

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5. Learn to speak a little of their language

Posted by on Apr 3, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

5. Learn to speak a little of their language

Learn a few word of Geek. When you are speaking English with another person, you don’t often stop to consider that you might both be speaking a different language.  A word means what it means, right? Nope.  People with scientific or engineering training use some very common words in extremely different ways, and this can be the source of some very costly misunderstandings. Here’s a small sample of words might hold vastly different meanings for the geeks: Estimate – an approximation, a best guess given existing uncertainty.  Most often, estimates are for time, cost or labor. ...

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6. Repair damage

Posted by on Apr 2, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

6. Repair damage

When it breaks, fix it. Chances are that you’ve experienced numerous breakdowns in your ability to get the technology you want.  Some were a big deal, like a multi-million dollar project going off the rails.  Others were small and personal, like a corporate policy preventing you from using your iPhone for email.  Either way, you likely have experience being frustrated with the technology itself and the people who get it for you. In each case, you learned something from the experience, something about working with technical people.  Maybe it was that “geeks are inflexible” or that...

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7. Show up, make time, answer questions

Posted by on Apr 1, 2011 in 7 things you can do | 0 comments

7. Show up, make time, answer questions

Simply show up. There’s one simple thing you can do to build relationship that leads to results.  Invest some of your time. I know you’re a busy person, but if your business needs technology to run, then you’ve got to make this relationship a priority.  You need to show up to meetings and answer the questions that need to be answered.  Your actions and attention matter. From a practical point of view, many technical projects fail because of lack of attention from business people.  They grind to a halt because key questions remain unanswered.  Or, perhaps worse, in the absence of...

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