Ask The IT Director: Cantujust Dilemma

Dear IT Director,
People seem to think that IT has an “easy button”. That we can just make simple changes and slap it into production quickly. How can I respond to this nonsense?
Frustrated in Fresno

Dear Frustrated,

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Now For Sale! The I.T. Leaders’ Handbook

IT Leaders Handbook front cover

The paperback & Ebook versions of The I.T. Leaders’ Handbook is now for sale on Amazon (US, UK, Canada, etc), Barnes & Noble, and fine bookstores everywhere.

Whether you are a current IT leader or hope to lead an IT organization in the future, this book will be useful to you. This book is a collection of the scars and skills that I have earned over the years.

From The Introduction:

Organizations structure themselves, in part, to manage people (HR), money (Finance), and technology (IT). These departments understand the details of their areas and how their work contributes to the success of the organization. The Information Technology (IT) department lives at the intersection of the organization and the technological world.

It is often a thankless job. The criticisms are many. IT is too slow to roll out changes. IT is too rigid with its rules and processes. IT is too expensive. IT has a huge backlog. IT is working on the wrong things.

Or so the organization believes.

As leaders of the IT department, it is our responsibility to run the department to meet the needs of the organization. Unfortunately, even with the best of efforts, the perception of the organization never matches our own. Even worse, sometimes the perception is correct.

There are a lot of books, magazines, websites, and individual postings aimed at the IT professional. But few of them address the larger problems organizations care about. There is significant information about specific technologies, but not much on how to lead an IT department.

Since I couldn’t find such a book, I wrote it.

The First Step Doesn’t Matter

Businesses are littered with first steps. Attempts to change or improve that never get followed up on. A first release of a newsletter with no second.

Look at your intranet to see what is stale. See what hasn’t been updated.
These are failures. You don’t get points for starting something. The first step is not the most important. That first step? It actually doesn’t matter.

Doesn’t matter how big it is. Doesn’t matter what direction it is. The first step just doesn’t matter.

What matters is what happens after the first step.

What matters is setting up an ongoing process to make long-lasting change. Defining a clear owner for the second step. Setting a clear timeframe for each subsequent step.

Rolling out a PMO? That first batch of templates and processes doesn’t matter as much as setting up clear ownership, allocating resources, tasks to drive culture change, setting an update schedule, and having expiration dates to force continual review and updates.

Ghosting Job Applicants

An acquaintance of mine, who wants to stay anonymous for obvious reasons, provided me the data for the above chart. The data came from their last job hunting experience. While a successful job search — after all, they got offers — there is something very disturbing that I would like to point out.

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Medical Product Outsourcing – An article I wrote back in 2005

This article was published back in the June 2005 edition of Medical Product Outsourcing magazine. As the article title says, it covers how a company’s IT infrastructure can help with its medical device design process.

Geez that’s an old photo of me…sigh.

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