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Staying the Course as a CIO. How to Overcome the Trials and Challenges of IT Leadership. Edition No. 1

  • ID: 2986149
  • Book
  • November 2014
  • 232 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
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The shelf-life of a Chief Information Officer can be shockingly short. Few survive in post for more than a few years.  More often each falls prey to insurmountable problems and their careers come to a sharp and ignominious end. In this book, a global CIO with over thirty years of experience in major corporations examines the main reasons why this happens. Readers will understand which types of issue can cause problems for an IT Leader and more importantly, they will learn strategies of how these problems can be minimized or even avoided.

IT is often seen a technical backwater, but it is a discipline which has the capability to add massive value to an organisation whether it is in the private or the public sector – provided of course it has the right leadership doing the right things.

Aspiring IT Leaders will need to deal with a common set of recurring trials and challenges. These include:

-          Overcoming the challenge of managing diverse and conflicting stakeholders

-          How to deal with large and complex projects

-          Making sense of software and how to handle the rapidly changing technology landscape

-          Knowing when  to outsource and how to get the best out of an outsourcing partner

-          Harnessing the intellectual power of consultants to help you meet your goals

-          And last but not least, how to develop a set of strategies that are aligned with your corporate goals and then make sure your resources are properly targetted so that the IT function generates maximum positive impact for the enterprise.

For IT professionals looking to fully integrate their function into the enterprise, 'Staying the Course as a CIO’ is a valuable source of practical advice, all based on real experience.

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Introduction xi

Chapter 1 Dislocated Stakeholders 1

Wooden Poles with Holder 2

Because They’re Worth It? 4

The Joys of Middle Management 10

Layers and Spans 11

Middle Managers and the Linkage between IT and the Business 13

The View from the Top of the Tree 16

Bored Boards 18

The Relationship Conundrum 19

The Henry VIII Method 20

The Customer/Supplier Model 20

Teamwork! 23

Could I Have Something Impossible Please? 26

The Dead‐Hero Zone 26

Magicians, Circuses and Keeping Something in the Tank 28

Chapter 2 Pathogenic Projects 31

IT Projects are Harder than Climbing Everest 33

Not Everyone Gets to be a Pharaoh 36

Don’t Start Anything You Can’t Finish 38

Peaches Are not the Only Fruit 39

Ungrouping Group‐Think 40

Mugging by PowerPoint 42

Back to the Himalayas 43

Stalinist Project Management 44

Undo‐able Projects 44

Stalin’s Special Question 45

Being Nostradamus 49

My Piece of String is Skewed 51

Things Can Go Badly Wrong, but They Rarely Go Badly Right 52

Inoculating against Skew - Percentile Therapy 54

What Happens in Projects Stays in Projects 56

The Gates of Wrath 58

Looking Up from the Pit 62

Chapter 3 Seriously Shaky Software 63

Software Just Doesn’t Wo.. 65

Being Immune to Tangerines 70

The Unfortunate Side‐Effect of Moore’s Law 72

It Will be Fixed in the Next Release 74

Upgrade or You Will be Banished Naked to a World of Loneliness and Isolation 75

Belchware not Bloatware 77

Patched, Leaking and Lost in a Maze 79

The Wobbly Stack 81

Stabilising Shakiness 84

Safe Software 85

The Safe Software Game 86

Booking a Landing Slot at Heathrow 88

Don’t Try to Improve a Da Vinci, Unless You Are a Rembrandt 89

Bespoke Only When You’re Bespoken to 92

Chapter 4 Obsessive Outsourcing Compulsion 95

Outsourcing an Empire 97

Strains of Outsourcing Compulsion 101

Madness with Metrics 102

Giving the Fox the Keys to the Chicken Coop … 103

The Nineteenth Hole Contract 105

Dedicated Followers of Fashion 106

Finance is not about Engineering Anything 108

Contract Accounting and Runaway Trains 110

Faster than a Speeding Bullet … 113

The Capability Argument 113

The Economic Argument 114

Better Out than In? 115

Protecting the Crown Jewels 117

Everyone Needs to Win 121

In Summary 124

Chapter 5 Chronic Consultancy Syndrome 125

Consultants - The Hummingbirds of the IT Jungle 126

Survival of the Sharpest 128

Spotting Hummingbirds in the Wild 129

An Expensive Dose of Aviary Assistance 130

Predator or Prey? 131

What Consulting Isn’t …? 132

It Was Their Fault! 133

The Magic of a Name 134

The Consultant’s Crutch 135

But What Consulting Perhaps Should Be? 135

Forests, Trees and Spectacles 137

You Are not Alone on Planet Earth 139

Nothing New Under the Sun 141

Hummingbirds Flap Harder than Cash Cows 142

How Hummingbirds Turn into Cuckoos 143

Answer 1 - The Cuckoo Consultancy End‐Game Solution 147

Answer 2 - The Thin‐Edge‐Wedge‐End‐Game Cash Cow 147

And Finally 148

Chapter 6 Strategy Schizophrenia 151

A Beginner’s Guide to World Domination 152

Types of Strategy 154

The Better Tomorrow 154

The Grand Plan 158

Strategy Schizophrenia - Balancing the Unbalanceable 161

Summary 164

Chapter 7 Bleeding Budgets 167

A Beginner’s Guide to Building a Roulette Table 168

How Much Are You Going to Spend? 168

How Much Goodness? 170

Which Investments? 174

But What about Tomorrow? 177

Putting Today and Tomorrow’s Investments Together 180

Putting the Final Touches to the Roulette Table 181

Placing the Chips 182

Our Transformation Journey 184

Other Funding Profile Examples 186

Funding Choice 1 - The Support Organisation 186

Funding Choice 2 - The “Go for it” Organisation 187

Summary 188

Chapter 8 Epilogue - What Might Overcome You? 191

It’s Always the Same Culprits, Except When it Isn’t 191

Failure and Folklore 194

IT Leadership Morbidity Tables 195

First Tier - Dislocated Stakeholders 195

Second Tier - Money and Strategy 197

Third Tier - Projects and Software 198

Fourth Tier - Outsourcing 199

Fifth Tier - Consultancy 199

The Unknown Unknowns 200

Acknowledgements 203

Bibliography 207

Index 211

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Jonathan Mitchell
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