General

Novels of IT, Part 1: Turtles All The Way Down

Tweet Novels are harder than most technology-oriented people typically realize. The backbone of a good novel is character development, meaning that the character learns and grows — which makes it easy for especially amateur novelists to start off with a character who is, frankly, little more than a one-dimensional dolt. This is an even more […]

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Mending Wall: Matches and mismatches in IT stakeholder expectations

Tweet Oil and water? Some days, the disconnect between stakeholder expectations and IT capabilities (and sensibilities) seems staggering. Case in point: I was shown an astounding list of generic stakeholder expectations a while back, drawn up by an obviously frustrated group and titled “USER REQUIREMENTS FOR IT”.  The list is most interesting in what the […]

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Countering a disturbing bandwagon: rich vs. poor IT organizations

Tweet It’s time for me to speak up.  Not that I haven’t before, here and here. But sometimes I just have to shake my head. I read certain IT-related articles on the web, or tweets by some colleagues, and they’re so out of sync with IT reality that I feel like it’s Opposite Day. Here’s […]

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Uncommonly followed common sense tips on CIO communication

Tweet I recently had the privilege of being interviewed, along with other experienced senior technology executives, by CIO magazine for my thoughts on communication mistakes still made by CIOs. Some great ideas came out in the article, but when it comes to communication (see tip #1 below), there’s always more to say. So here goes. […]

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IT tall tales and why they’re told, or, why I stopped going to conferences

Tweet Most senior technology executives have a good sense of the huge value that comes from comparing notes and impressions with one’s peers about industry trends, techniques, project approaches, even vendors. Networking, appropriately handled, can enable you to find out all sorts of “lessons learned” without having to go through the pain of learning them […]

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Yes we can, yes we must: the ongoing case for IT/Business alignment

Tweet How do we (IT executives) get away from being typecast as technologists, unconsulted on core business issues and approaches? Face it, that’s a common situation and dilemma that we all encounter, early and often, and it’s the grist for a constant mill of articles and blog posts and books on business/IT alignment. Lately, though, […]

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Must-read books on the human factors of IT — part 1, the 70s

Tweet What is it that sets apart a top-notch IT executive from others of his calling? To my mind, one mark of today’s true professional, especially at the senior executive level, is to be deeply familiar with the seminal books in his or her field. The dilemma for an IT professional, though, comes from the […]

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IT transparency is good. But how transparent should you be?

Tweet A few years back, I had an extremely surprising and unpleasant experience as CTO. The director of my Program Management Office ran a weekly status meeting for project stakeholders, where we’d all methodically go through the current project portfolio, in order to communicate on issues, gather necessary feedback, and align everyone’s expectations. I typically […]

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