Technospeak

This post if for IT people but applies to any field with their own jargon. Scroll down to see the video I’m talking about.

Gustav Holst write a brilliant piece of music call The Planets. In particular, the Jupiter portion has always been one of my favorite classical music pieces. I don’t know the creator of the video, but he seems knowledgeable about music. He dissects Jupiter in a very deep way, using tons of music jargon.

I don’t understand most of what he is saying… I believe he knows what he is talking about, but I don’t know that he knows what he is talking about.

If you are an IT person, I challenge you to start at 1:30 and sit through at least five minutes of this video (for the adventurous, start at 7:30). Make a sincere effort to understand what he is trying to say. Try, as if your business depends on understanding it. Unless you have musical training, you probably won’t get much further than I did.

This is what we sound like to people outside our field. The organizations that depend on us aren’t able to understand the technology to the level we do. This isn’t because they are dumb (I hate the “dumb user” trope), it is because they are experts on other things and haven’t put in the years of focus that you have.

It is our job, not theirs, to figure out how to communicate better. We need to be creative in using analogies, metaphors, and straightforward language to communicate.

If we don’t, they may wonder if we know what we are talking about or just faking it by using jargon they don’t understand.

Cover Photo by Alexey Ruban on Unsplash

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How can we prioritize effectively in the IT department?

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This requires that IT understands the business processes well enough to do our job correctly. 

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close up of electric lamp against black background

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Unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as just telling the rest of the organization how to think about IT. The responsibility is not with the rest of the company to believe IT understands the business. The responsibility is on us to show that we understand it. Frequently.

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In the IT world, there are often projects that require selecting a product. The team determines requirements, creates a long list, reduces it to a short list, and makes a selection. This is usually done with large systems, like ERP.

It is important that we get the selection process right. The wrong technology can hamper our organization for years.

However, implementation is at least as important, if not more important, than selection.

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Regular processes are those that provide value to the products and services our company provides. We need to be good at these.

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As the leader of the IT department, we lead a team with lots of connections with the rest of the business. We lead a team that supports the technology and process needs of the entire business. We will make priority decisions and resource allocation decisions that impact the rest of the business. How can we do these things if we don’t understand the business?

We can’t.

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While this concept applies to any staff group in an organization, including HR, Finance, etc., let’s look at what this means for IT.

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Ask the IT Director: Finding Time To Improve IT Processes

Dear IT Director,
Help! We are running around with our hair on fire, working on too many business projects. Our IT processes need help, but we don’t have any time to improve them.
Overwhelmed in Omaha

Dear Overwhelmed,
I feel your pain. The list of changes the business needs is long and you want to get it done faster. At the same time, you and your team know how to improve your processes to become more efficient. But there is no time. How do you stop working on the business tasks to improve IT?

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