Computerworld Columns

You have the power. Should you use it?

Posted by on Apr 8, 2016 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

Technological and legal changes over the last generation have dealt employers an increasingly strong hand in setting the terms of their relationships with the people they hire. Regardless of whether you think that this is a good thing or a bad one, it’s hard to deny employers’ clout.  What’s less easy to see is the costs of exploiting that imbalance in power. They are worth considering. First, though, some background.Evidence of the aggregate power shift can be easily seen in the changes to the conditions under which employment takes place today. In the U.S., wages have been largely...

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When the call to management comes

Posted by on Feb 26, 2016 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

Most of us who choose a career in IT do so because we love the hands-on work. We start out on the front lines as a developer, DBA, designer, administrator or support tech. With time, we grow into new roles as our natural drive and curiosity prompt us to learn — about the technical areas we have chosen, the products and platforms we work on, the new technologies we’d like to work on and the roles we have yet to play in technical organizations and projects. At some point along this trajectory, we are likely to hear a question whose implications are more profound for our careers and lives...

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People screw up; don’t make it worse

Posted by on Feb 17, 2016 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

If you want your staff to perform well, one of the most important things you need to focus on is how you respond when they don’t perform well, or when they make mistakes. Why? Because in addition to ability and drive, good performance requires that people be willing to take the personal risks inherent in accepting ambitious assignments. Aren’t people of ability and drive always willing to take risks to fulfill their own ambitions and meet the demands of their supervisors? Not always. Those two things — fulfilling their ambitions and meeting your demands — can come into conflict,...

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Communication is a problem that can’t be fixed

Posted by on Dec 14, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

Have you started thinking about what you’re going to do with the coming new year? Most people in IT spend at least a little time reflecting on how they will best take advantage of the year ahead. Whether you have or not, I invite you to take a few seconds right now to think about what problems you’d like to solve and what opportunities you’d like to make the most of in the coming year. I’ll bet that one of the things that just crossed your mind was fixing “the communication problem.” It doesn’t matter whether you’re a manager or an individual contributor; we all have...

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Overcoming our auto-petulance

Posted by on Nov 9, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

As an IT manager, you probably spend a good part of your day dealing with ideas — weighing them, refining them, rejecting them and embracing them. You’re bombarded by ideas all day, every day. They might come from you, your subordinates, your boss or even people like me who write for the media. “If we rewrite that section of the SQL to avoid using cursors, it might improve performance substantially.” “If we deploy a mobile reporting app, the salespeople will be able to see what their clients already have on order.” “If we refuse to help users who try to bypass the help...

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Ideas are better than ideology

Posted by on Oct 12, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

As an IT manager, you probably spend a good part of your day dealing with ideas — weighing them, refining them, rejecting them and embracing them. You’re bombarded by ideas all day, every day. They might come from you, your subordinates, your boss or even people like me who write for the media. “If we rewrite that section of the SQL to avoid using cursors, it might improve performance substantially.” “If we deploy a mobile reporting app, the salespeople will be able to see what their clients already have on order.” “If we refuse to help users who try to bypass the help...

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Read this! (And learn how to deliver ultimatums better.)

Posted by on Sep 4, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

In the course of every project, there comes at least one moment when we have to tell our business partners what we need from them to get the job done. More often than not, they bristle at being told what to do. They don’t like being on the receiving end of ultimatums. Who does? But they especially don’t like “those IT people” telling them what to do. That’s because we in IT are supposed to serve the business, and servants are expected to take orders, not give them. It doesn’t help that, even though we are perceived as being in a subservient position, we have gotten a...

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