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Posts Tagged ‘Leadership’

Change is good….!!!

December 21, 2011 1 comment

First off, apologies – I have been focused on other priorities the past month when I suddenly realized that I have been absent for over 1 month. Hopefully this entry will make up for the lost time.

We have all seen the ‘change is good’ slogan in many different setting – so you all know what it means. Well, let me put the importance of change in the context of IT solution delivery. I will set the context with this correlation – the Declaration of Independence which was written over 235 years ago (pre-industrial revolution, pre-depression, pre-globalization, pre-etc.etc.etc.) and is used to govern the United States of America – NEEDS to be modified to support the demanding dynamics of a interconnected global economy. Yes, the core values of the Declaration are still applicable for our country but somehow it has hampered our ability to properly run government in the 21st century. I will stop there as I am not a politician nor do I aspire to play in the political arena.

The correlation of my political example is for how ‘traditional’ IT organizations deliver and develop solutions for the business. There is the traditional Waterfall development methodology and there are the Agile/SCRUM methodologies. The difference boils down to ‘predictability’ vs. ‘adaptability’. IT organizations supporting legacy environments are likely to be very mature with the Waterfall approach, and those organizations working in a more dynamic business oriented environment will likely utilize Agile/SCRUM.

I propose there is a new era upon us IT professionals. When you factor in the need for IT organizations to support legacy (Waterfall), maintain the web solutions deployed to date (Agile/SCRUM) – the new era we need to adapt to is a combination of the two approaches for the following realities:

  • Consumerization of IT: as the everyday technologies that we are used to utilizing in our respective personal lives gets ingrained into the professional environments – IT organizations need to prepare for this from a solution delivery and support perspective. What is important to understand with Consumerization of IT, is that this is the expectation of Millennial generation (see my blog on GENeX).
  • Web 2.0/3.0: this is where the likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, FourSquare, etc. (the list is endless) are starting to be utilized by Fortune 500. Though the business benefits and metrics for utilizing Social Media are in the nascent stages, it is an inevitable component of how organizations need to deploy value propositions for their target audience through the use of Social Media. That creates a challenge for traditional IT organizations in that the development approaches for these few examples are not Waterfall, are not Agile/SCRUM but more Extreme Agile (not XP) in that changes are applied on a daily, weekly and on rare occasion monthly basis. As these platforms are integrated with the legacy environments of the enterprise, it becomes very difficult for traditional IT to keep up with the integration changes.

I have had the privilege of attending numerous conferences and closed panels where representatives from Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google were present in meeting enterprise representatives from Fortune 500 organizations. The challenge is clear and what is also clear is that all parties want to collaborate on a solution. Traditional IT will be very reliant on partnerships with external parties and the time is now for the enterprise (traditional) organizations to form partnerships with these entities.

This all boils down to ‘change’ for all parities involved. Traditional organizations will need to prepare their culture, processes, people, etc. from a readiness perspective. It is tough balance given the ever changing environments and priorities of the enterprise but it is necessary to focus now. It will also be a challenge for the external parties who have pressures to drive awareness, presence, revenue, eyes, etc. and to work in a ‘constrained’ environment will be suffocating but the balance needs to be a focus.

Good luck to all as I am getting ready for the change as well!!!

Leadership

November 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Have you taken the time to reflect and understand what ‘Leadership’ means to you?  If you Google the word Leadership, you get the unarguable traits of all good leaders (honest, high integrity, motivates, has fun, has humility, is decisive, etc.).   However what many people make the mistake of is assuming that if you are a Manager you are naturally a Leader.  That is so far from the truth.  I am a firm believer that Leaders are born Leaders and you cannot train, educate or mentor an individual to be a Leader.  There is a clear distinction that former Vice Chairman of Goldman Sachs and current professor at Harvard Business School, Rob Kaplan summarizes succinctly ‘leaders are those who find their passion and do something about it’.

Many individuals make the false assumption that once they reach a level of authority within an organization that they are Leaders.  It is when organizations promote managers to be leaders is when the organization fails, stalls and becomes stagnant.

In my humble opinion, Leaders empower those around them to succeed and most importantly to fail and learn from their failures.  Micro managing your team is not leadership – it is being a task-master which is not inspiring for those around you.  Leaders set the vision, empower the organization to execute the vision and mentor/coach the organization to achieve the vision. It is not about checking the lines of code, number of test cases, calculating whether the figures in a presentation total properly, if you are doing those activities as a Leader – STOP!!!

I mean STOP being in a position of Leadership.  You should be in a manager position where the responsibilities are clear and the tasks are defined.  This will ensure you are successful and the broader organization is able to progress forward.

Categories: IT, leadership Tags: ,

The misconception of an IT Strategy – Part 1

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment

I have developed IT blueprints, roadmaps and what is most commonly known as strategies for fortune 100 organizations throughout my career.  The methodology and framework to establish a true strategy is not rocket science, the true science in a good IT strategy is the alignment to the business strategy.  That sounds logical enough – however, many IT executives don’t understand the importance of the linkage to business objectives.

Creating an IT strategy absent of understanding how it aligns to the business aspirations will inevitably gain no adoption or buy-in.  Even if the IT strategy is focused on IT initiatives only – for example, if the objective is to reduce redundant systems, which is perceived to be an IT objective – sunsetting legacy or redundant systems impacts business process and people.  So by taking out System A without understanding how it impacts the business process or people will not be a recommended approach.  That is one misconception of an IT strategy.

Organizations need to developed a deep understanding of where and what the business wants to be in 1, 3 or 5 years and ensure the underlining strategies are aligned to those business objectives.  And make no mistake, the underlining strategies are not just IT – but organizationally, process-wise, financial and the like.  The key is to ensure objectives can be measured and holistic enough to understand the impact if the business strategy changes – how does it impact the underlining strategies.

Categories: IT, IT strategy Tags: , ,