Role definition

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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One CIO’s “lessons learned” in managing others

Tweet Here’s a shocker: none of us has failed to fail at times. We’ve all screwed things up on occasion, and I’m no exception. And that’s especially true when it comes to managing others, which I believe is very much a learned skill.  In that spirit, there are a number of things about people management […]

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Bears, hedgehogs, and Gladys Knight: parables of IT leadership

Tweet For years, I’ve had two framed items hung on my office wall throughout my various stints as CIO, CTO, etc.  I like to think of them, both individually and together, as reflecting certain truths or ironies I encounter as a technology executive, particularly in the realm of leading others.  They serve as cautions to […]

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The CIO and the fine art of vendor negotiation

Tweet “Don’t write about that,” I’ve been told by several colleagues, when I’ve mentioned that I was working on a post about how best, as the senior technology executive, to negotiate with vendors.  “You’ll give away all your tricks!” they’ve said. Well, actually, no.  Here’s the main trick: this particular CIO doesn’t have any “tricks”, if […]

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Complexity isn’t simple: multiple causes of IT failure

Tweet Roger Sessions recently published a white paper on IT complexity and its role in IT project failure: “The IT Complexity Crisis: Danger and Opportunity”.  It’s certainly possible to quarrel with bits and pieces of his analysis, and thereby tweak his numbers, but the overall thrust remains undeniable: IT failures are costing the world incredible […]

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Fits and starts: staying “tech savvy” as a CIO

Tweet Just a quick, personal post this time: I was recently interviewed by CIO Magazine on the topic of “How CIOs Can Stay Tech-Savvy“.  Since (as is normal) only a portion of my conversation with the reporter actually made it into the article, I thought I’d expand briefly on the topic here. My remarks were […]

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The title issue revisited: CTO vs. CIO

Tweet Key question of the day: given the recognized ascendancy of business/IT alignment and business change management as a vital purview of the effective CIO/CTO, should senior technology executives decrease their emphasis on technology, and focus primarily on corporate strategy and change? Should the company just have one role (call it a CTO, perhaps) do […]

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Using feedback loops to improve IT department service

Tweet As I’ve written here before, I strongly advocate thinking of IT in general as a service organization to the rest of the business. Any service organization needs one or more forms of “feedback loop” to be able to gauge whether it is successfully accomplishing its mission.  However, I’ve observed relatively few IT organizations that […]

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