Staying the Course as a CIO: How to Overcome the Trials and Challenges of IT Leadership

Staying the Course as a CIO: How to Overcome the Trials and Challenges of IT Leadership

Jonathan Mitchell

Language: English

Pages: 232

ISBN: 1118968875

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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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your money (or at least your signature). You must now decide whether you are happy to allow yourself to be mugged or whether you are going to be a “have‐a‐go” hero. “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Mike Tyson Choosing the former course is easy for you. Capitulation is their goal. Just sign on the dotted line and sit back. All you have to do now is to wait for the disaster to happen. It might take weeks or months, but unless you have the good fortune to have a messiah or

estimates, understand the uncertainties and have good probability distribu­ tions on the entire work breakdown structure, then this is not enough. Even if you have good people on the project and if they are not only competent, but somewhat fearful of the Stalinist consequences if the project fails, this is still not enough. Because even with all these elements in place major pro­ jects still spectacularly fail. And what’s more they fail with relentless regularity in ugly ways. Nobody wants a life

war Soviet Commissars who used to watch over the grumpy military commanders, tirelessly scanning the craggy features of the 86  Staying the Course as a CIO unfortunate colonel for any sign of counter‐revolutionary behaviour. Many believe that it clearly isn’t cost‐effective—or perhaps even possible—for this level of rigour to be injected into the voluminous volumes of today’s shaky software. Unfortunately, it is likely that a period of several decades will have to pass before the software

would think. In the scary world of corporate politics, the normal laws of physics and simple rules of common sense can often be suspended for very long periods of time. Once a powerful leader has decreed a religious stance, then the organisation must choose to bow down or else revolt and face the consequences of disobedience. Most people aren’t revolutionaries. More usually, people will mindlessly obey, try to please or else leave the organisation. Corporate emperors often come off the shelves

and a continuous improvement ethos can give an outsourcer an edge. These factors should have allowed the outsourcing company to comprehensively outperform any in‐house cottage‐industry solution that your own team could ever provide. Areas worth considering under this value proposition include wholesale management of data centres and provision of standardised service offerings (such as the office suite, email or standard application services). Indeed many of your infrastructure services might also

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