IT does the moonwalk: our endless search for absolutes

Tweet Scene: I was CTO at a high-traffic social networking site, circa ten years ago. It was one of those times when our site got crushed by unexpected sudden volume, due to being mentioned in an article in a prominent newspaper. My infrastructure manager walked into my office the next morning, ashen-faced. “We’re gonna get […]

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Book review: The CIO Paradox: Battling the Contradictions of IT Leadership

Tweet It’s a universal trait, it seems: we all want to be understood, want the world to see things through our eyes, want to watch the “aha” light go on when people finally realize just how tough we have it and how magnificently we still prevail. IT people, and senior technology executives in particular, are […]

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Novels of IT: The Phoenix Project

Tweet Nerd alert: it’s an exciting day for me when someone releases a new “novel of IT”. I’ve made it my mission to find and review several of these (now four) over the past couple of years, and I may be one of the few people out there who has read and reviewed all of […]

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Novels of IT, Part 3: Adventures of an IT Leader

Tweet My long quest for an insightful, broad, and practically applicable “novel of IT” finally met with resounding success, once I got my hands on the outstanding book that is the subject of this post: Adventures of an IT Leader, by Robert D. Austin, Richard L. Nolan, and Shannon O’Donnell. To recap: I was looking […]

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Can a CIO be successful without IT experience? Define your terms!

Tweet Yes, it’s déjà vu: certain topics crop up again and again on IT-related blogs. The age-old question: does a CIO really need to have IT experience?  I’ve touched upon this before, here and here, but it’s time for a full column covering the standard arguments posed in this debate. I’ve gone through every article I […]

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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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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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Canaries in the coal mine: Why your IT department may be in worse shape than you think

Tweet Think about it: you can’t really tell the difference, on a day-to-day basis, between a car that has had its oil changed every 3,000 miles and one that has had its oil changed every year or two.  Only eventually. Similarly, the stability of most IT departments proves very difficult to discern from outside.  Even […]

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