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Articles, commentary and advice to help business people get the technology they want

The hazards of go-to people

Posted by on Aug 18, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

Sportscasters love the idea of go-to people — a select few on a team whom the coach will always turn to when something important needs to be done right the first time. With one second left to go in a tight basketball game, sportscasters are prone to authoritatively predicting who will take the final shot. If they are right, they sound like they know what they are talking about. If not, they can second-guess the coach’s decisions and fill hours of airtime with the drama of a ginned-up controversy. IT managers have a similar faith in their stars. The vast majority of those I’ve worked...

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To up your value, be a master of time

Posted by on Jul 13, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

  Whether you are an IT manager or an individual contributor, there’s one thing you can always do to increase the value you provide to your organization, get yourself noticed and increase the likelihood that you’ll get a promotion. It doesn’t matter whether you want to stay technical or move in a managerial direction. It doesn’t matter whether you are just starting your career or are a veteran. At every level of every organization, the ability I’m talking about is always in short supply. It’s the ability to manage time horizons, to plan your own work and provide direction...

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What it’s like to be your user

Posted by on Jun 11, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

Nearly everyone in IT has, at some point, been in support. Even if you never worked on a help desk, you probably had to support an application, infrastructure, or at least your mother’s desktop machine. No matter who you are, you’ve been on the receiving end of phone calls from people asking for technical help. And, chances are, at some point you have found those people calling more than just a bit annoying. There’s a reason that everyone in IT knows what “RTFM” means.But have you ever stopped to think about how it feels to be on the other end of that phone call — what it’s...

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The Measures of a Manager

Posted by on May 11, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

In my years as an IT management consultant, I’ve had the opportunity to ask one simple question of a wide variety of managers — seasoned and new, at large organizations and small; in the private sector, government and educational settings; and in numerous countries around the world. And the answers have been remarkably consistent, with rare exceptions.  The question is, “How do you measure your own success?” Though seemingly simple, it tends to rattle most managers. They haven’t given it much conscious thought, and because of that, their answers are unpolished and unrehearsed,...

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IT is the doctor

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

I’ve been privileged to meet IT professionals around the world, and I’m always struck by their many fine qualities. One of the most common of these is the desire to help others. As a group, IT people believe in progress and hold that technology can be an important part of making people’s lives better. At work, we like to see that our products contribute to the efficiency, effectiveness and happiness of users and consumers. Wanting to help is great, but sometimes we instead seek merely to please. They are not at all the same thing. When all you want to do is to please your users, you...

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Stuck at dysfunction junction

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

Sooner or later, every IT manager finds himself at the head of a dysfunctional team. People don’t talk to one another, and sometimes they hide information. They can’t make decisions. They can’t stick with decisions that have already been made. Work gets duplicated or doesn’t get done at all. It can make you feel powerless. You are under pressure to deliver, but you can’t do it when the team you’re completely dependent on can’t seem to work together. I usually see IT managers tackle the problem of a dysfunctional team in one of three ways, all misguided: We’ve got a bad apple...

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5 minutes a week to advance your career

Posted by on Feb 18, 2015 in Computerworld Columns | 0 comments

The New Year is always a good time to reflect on your career: where you’ve been, where you’re heading, and where you’d like to go. It’s also the traditional time for people like me — industry analysts, pundits and consultants — to tell you what hot skills you’ll need to develop to advance your career in the next year. Of course, if developing your career were really that simple, every reader would be the CEO of a company by now. In reality, simple advice like this is not as universally helpful as we would like to think. Focusing on hot skills may be useful for some, but for many...

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