Archive for category Develop Proactive Culture

Habits of a Successful Career – Habit #2

Be Proactive - Adapt to Change

Be Proactive – Adapt to Change

 

Habits for a Successful Career

Habit #2 – Be Proactive and Adapt to Change

Being proactive and adapting to change are two sides of the same coin.  Proactive people learn to anticipate current/future events and take initiative to adapt their actions and/or to shape their results.  They understand change can create problems, but focus on opportunities change creates.  During difficult times, proactive people look for the good in people and events, and can be counted on.  They rarely are the ‘victims’ of change.

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  We all have heard this old saying – about being proactive versus reactive in life, at home, or at work.  Both behaviors and concepts are needed.  When a crisis happens, the GOOD people are needed to react to the crisis, like firefighters, doctors, policemen, etc.  They are invaluable in a crisis.  But after the crisis, a doctor, firefighter, etc. would swear preventing the crisis in the first place is more valuable, and less costly, than great ‘firefighting’.

Yet many people, and businesses, ignore the benefits of being proactive, reverting to reactive processes and behaviors usually for the sake of ‘speed’.  The hope they have is that great firefighters will ‘reduce’ the impact of change or a crisis on a business, employees, suppliers, and/or customers.  Some people even thrive on being a firefighter . . . they love the adrenalin rush and immediate satisfaction of ‘fixing’ a problem.  But their behavior is a secondary asset to being proactive.  For every successful career or opportunity in reacting to events and change, proactive people have 10-20 successful careers or opportunities.

Being proactive means anticipating, acting and preventing a problem or crisis, or shaping the results of change.  After a firefight, they act to identify and solve the ‘root cause’ of the problem or crisis so it never happens again.  The benefits are reduced costs, improved quality and less negative impacts on employees, suppliers and customers.  The result includes more career opportunities and successes.

 

Be Proactive and Adapt to Change – You’ll Like It!

 

 



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IT Organization Success

Keys to IT Success

 

 

 Keys to IT Organization Success

No secret, for decades many IT organizations have struggled to be successful – probably more so than any other.  When is the last time you saw a dozen articles on the struggling accounting, marketing or human resources organizations?

Martha Heller in a 2010 CIO Magazine article discusses IT struggles and suggests a few ‘paradoxes’ in IT organizations that may be barriers to a successful IT organization.

  • The Business wants IT to be strategic, but force them to spend most of their time on operational issues.
  • IT needs to be stewards of risk mitigation and cost containment, yet expected to innovate.
  • IT is seen as that of an enabler, yet is also expected to be a business driver.
  • IT can make or break a company, but its leaders are infrequently members of C-level executive groups.
  • IT is one of the most pervasive, critical functions, yet must prove its value constantly.
  • Many IT successes are invisible, yet its few mistakes are highly visible.
  • IT project teams are accountable for project success, even if the Business has ownership.
  • IT staff loves new technology, but must embrace/understand the Business to be successful.
  • Many IT teams/people are uncomfortable dealing with people, but to succeed must build relationships, influence others, and resolve conflicts.
  • IT infrastructure is a consistent, long-term investment, but the Business thinks in quarters.

And here are a few more paradoxes I have experienced:

  • The Business wholly adopted  ‘BPI’, but IT has poor processes and rarely has budget for improvement.
  • C-level executives believe IT costs too much and fails to provide comparable value, but have limited knowledge of IT project or operational successes.
  • C-level executives expect IT to deliver new, strategic capabilities to their Business unit, yet most of the project identification, priorities and governance is driven by Business users and managers.
  • IT needs/must align its goals/objectives to the Business, yet the Business units goals/objectives are not always aligned with each other.

Any of these barriers hinder IT leaders and organizations from being valued and successful.  They can be mitigated and/or knocked down, but requires a relevant, achievable Strategy, competent People, and consistent, repeatable Processes.  In addition it also takes the IT leaders and staff to embrace/develop these 7 Habits of Excellence.

  • Build  Trust and Credibility
  • Develop  a Proactive Culture
  • Understand  the Company, Business Model, and Industry
  • Align  with Company’s Goals and Objectives
  • Lead  People  -  Manage Things
  • Adapt  to Change
  • Embrace  a Passion for Learning and Improvement

 

Developing these 7 Habits of Excellence will mitigate or eliminate barriers and result in these IT organization benefits:

  • Faster Throughput (projects and processes)
  • Less Costly (unit costs)
  • Better  Quality (products, software, systems and processes)
  • More Agility  (change)
  • More Capacity  (w/o more resources)
  • Better Risk Management
  • Better Place to Work

What IT paradoxes is your group facing??



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“An ounce of prevention . . . “

Pound of Cure-Firefighting

Pound of Cure-Firefighting


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We all have heard this old saying – about being proactive versus reactive in life, at home or work. We need both concepts. When a crisis happens, we need the BEST people to react to the crisis, like firefighters, doctors, policemen, etc. They are invaluable in a crisis. But after the crisis, they all would tell you that preventing the crisis in the first place is more valuable and less costly than ‘firefighting’.

Yet many businesses and IT organizations ignore the benefits of being proactive, reverting to reactive processes and behaviors usually for the sake of ‘speed’. How many times has an IT team become totally reactive in implementing a project and then ‘fixing’ it after the fact. Yet they hope that being great firefighters will ‘reduce’ the impact on the business and its suppliers and customers. Some people even thrive on being a firefighter. They love the adrenalin rush and immediate satisfaction of ‘fixing’ a problem. Love them because they are needed in IT. But they are needed as a secondary process and behavior.

Being proactive means anticipating, acting and preventing a problem or crisis, or after the firefighting, taking the time to solve the ‘root cause’ of the problem or crisis so it never happens again. It may seem at the time that it is slowing a project, process or service, but if you look at the overall timeline it usually does not take longer. The benefits are reduced costs, improved quality and less negative impacts on employees, suppliers and customers. All are much more valuable than the best ‘firefighters’ in the world.



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Danger – Thin Ice

Risk

Risk

The high ‘failure’ rates of IT projects have been documented for over four decades by numerous studies and publications.  The Standish Group International reported in 2001 that around 23% of projects are failures, and 49% are ‘challenged’.  Doing the math indicates that only around 28% of IT projects meet their expectations.  My experience suggests one of the primary reasons for these continued poor results is the lack of formal, aggressive IT project complexity and risk assessment and management – a responsibility of the IT project sponsor and project manager.

Software development is a process – a process with varying degrees of complexity.  A process’s complexity, therefore, defines, qualitatively and quantitatively, the relative difficulty, time consumption, resource requirements and skill requirements necessary to successfully complete.  The more complex the process – the more difficult, time consuming, resources intensive and more experienced skills are required.  Many project managers use complexity and risk synonymously – but they are not.  Project risks are qualitative and quantitative issues or events which could lead to negative consequences.  Risks can be prevented, repaired if they become an issue or mitigated.  Complexity is not an event and is harder or impossible to prevent, repair or mitigate once the IT project begins.

So why do most IT sponsors and project managers do a lousy job of complexity and risk assessment and management?  A few reasons are:

  1. Lack of skills – training and/or experience
  2. Internal politics
  3. Lack of formal assessment and management process that is consistent and repeatable
  4. Lack of assessment, management and reporting tools
  5. Lack of emphasis in CMM, ITIL and other methodologies

 

What is the complexity of your current project?  What are the five major risk areas?



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