Staffing in IT

In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.

Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

Staffing is the most important job for a leader, in addition to getting results.

Employees are not just collections of skills and abilities. They bring to their work motivation, loyalty, knowledge of the company, and most important of all the ability to drive success. If all you want is a collection of skills and abilities, hire a contractor or consultant.

A leader should recruit and develop the capable employees she has, even more than the employees she wants. Losing capable employees is costly and time-consuming.

Great employees are more profitable than average ones and immeasurably more profitable than the poor ones.

Delay filling an open position is not a profitable move. As a leader, if you do not think the organization profits from the opening, do not open the position in the first place.

Holding employees accountable is a mistake and pointless. A leader fails when her employees fail. The more sensible alternative is hiring and retaining employees who take responsibility.

Terminate poor performers without regret, without anger, but with dignity. When someone is not succeeding in his or her role, a leader needs to put someone else in place who can thrive. When someone tried in earnest and failed in a wrong role, the leader needs to share part of the responsibility.

Making IT Decisions

In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.

Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

As a leader you have five types of decision available to you:

Authoritarian – Speed: High, Buy-in-Required: Low, Cost: Low, Quality: Low, Best used: In crisis situations.

Consensus – Speed: Low, Buy-in-Required: High, Cost: High, Quality: Moderate, Best used: Big stuff with many dependencies or implications.

Consultative: Speed: Moderate, Buy-in-Required: Moderate to High, Cost: Moderate, Quality: High, Best used: Most decisions.

Delegated: Speed: Situational, Buy-in-Required: Situational, Cost: Situational, Quality: Situational, Best used: To foster “Follower-ship”.

Democratic: Speed: Low, Buy-in-Required: Moderate, Cost: Moderate, Quality: Low, Best used: Governance by nature.

No decision-making approach is universal and suitable for all situations. Effective leaders use all approaches, not just their preferences.

Regrettably, ineffective leaders have just one way to make decisions – the approach they are most comfortable with.

大型的擠壓

(從我的一個喜歡與尊敬的作家,賽斯 高汀

在美國做卡車司機的人數會比其他任何職業都多。

長期以來,工會的卡車司機從工作規則,醫療保健,度假等等方面上受益。這不是一件容易做的工作,但它仍然是一個職業。

慢慢的公司開始意識到,如果他們把工作交給些自由職業的卡車司機,他們可以充份的利用自由市場。結果越來越多的工作跑到了獨立的經營者的手上,他們是自己的老闆,他們自己支付設備,他們找自己的工作。

互聯網的速度和力量加劇了這個問題,因為總是有人會比你更便宜,更想要你的工作。如果你做的工作沒有什麼區別,那市場就會去擠壓你去做的更便宜。

目前我們得到是一些稍微便宜的卡車運輸。但是處在生活邊緣的時候,數百萬的司機疲憊不堪。他們工作太多時間,也帶著太多的工作量。

對於那些成為數字市場中可相互替換的零件的人來說,情況也是如此。 像Uber的司機,像那些底層的自由職業者,或是那些辛勤工作但是沒什麼特別的勞役人…

當在任何市場內提供了一個似乎都容易讓人進入的機會,最終這市場還是會擠壓那些人。

Delegation in IT

In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.

Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

Good leaders delegate, so their directs will know what they are supposed to do in striving for the leader’s vision.

Leaders can either delegate tasks or goals. Both will require a clarity on the objectives, the timeline, and the agreed upon measurements for progress.

The ultimate goal of delegation is to establish “followership.” Lewis described followership as “Accepting the direction set by a leader – following – but in such a way that you make it your own, providing leadership within your own domain that advances the whole organization in its intended direction.”

Do not delegate in a prescribed way that the directions cannot fail. When the directs cannot fail, they cannot succeed on their own either. Allow the directs to apply their initiatives and succeed in owning their achievements.

Setting IT Direction

In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.

Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

The first step in leading is to set a direction. By setting the direction, the leader creates focus. The focus is the difference between getting results and wasting resources.

Vision and mission are essential for leading because they help provide focus. They, however, are different.

Vision articulates a new end-state, after the change. The leader needs to involve her team in defining the vision but should lead the process. The leader owns the vision.

Mission articulates what the organization exists to accomplish. The leader let her managers own the missions. The leader works hard to ensure the vision and the mission are compatible with each other.

Good leaders balance between focus and flexibility/adaptability.

Effective leaders also recognize that vision and mission is only 1% of the organizational effort. You will need everyone putting forth the rest of 99% to get results.

你的技能庫存

(從我的一個喜歡與尊敬的作家,賽斯 高汀

年度審查其實是蠻浪費時間的。這對於員工或老闆來說,都不是特別有用的,它還有很大的壓力,況且經常不會有太大的影響。

如果你自己選擇,你可以來做你自己的評論。每週或每月,您可以自己或是與你的同事一起坐下來,回顧一下你們該如何轉變姿勢以產生更大的影響力。

有些事情要討論的是:

我能更擅長什麼?

我最近問了些棘手的問題嗎?

我有得到更多的信任嗎?

我是否比上次檢查時躲藏的更多(還是更少)?

我對我的工作,我的預算,和我的挑戰是否有完成了一個有清晰度,有用,或是有警惕的分析?我是否有把那件分析與我信任的人分享?

如果說推銷思想是一種技巧,那麼我是否比以前更熟練?

我有提高了誰的才能?

我最近有沒有重大的失敗(或是個學習的機會),有的話我又學到了什麼?

我有練習做了些什麼預測呢?我能看到接下來會發生什麼嗎?

我幫了誰?特別是當沒有明顯好處的時候…

我更有可能是領導或是跟隨?

The What of IT Leadership

In 2011, author Bob Lewis published the book, “Leading IT: Still the toughest job in the world, Second edition.” The book tackles some of the most challenging areas to address in an IT organization. Often the problems have little to do with the technology nor the process. The issues usually have to do with the people, inside and outside of the IT organization.

Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

In IT, practicing leadership calls for the following.

Expertise often is not the pre-requisite for leading. The pre-requisite is the willingness to take the responsibility and the hard work to communicate the vision, make the decisions, and trigger the change in people.

Leaders recognize that they do not just lead people; they are individuals. Effective leaders lead highly capable organizations, which are made up of highly competent individuals with their strengths and contributions.

Leadership is not a process, where management is a process. Leadership is a practice, and effective leaders will not blindly apply procedures to all situations and expect the same, high-value results every time.

Leadership is to break down organization silos and to get everyone pull in the same direction, towards the vision.

To lead IT, one needs to know the business of the enterprise and the business of technology. Just being proficient in one area and not the other is not sufficient.

Positive results take time to come together. Leaders need to budget and control her own time, rather than letting someone else manages their schedules.

Value Chain in Bootstrapping

In 1998, author Seth Godin published the book, “The Bootstrapper’s Bible.” A few years later, he posted a manifesto based on the book. Here are the takeaway lessons I picked up from reading the book.

Seth Godin suggested that bootstrappers not have to invent a new business model.

Instead, the successful bootstrappers often look at what works and adapt.

There are some advantages of this approach.

  1. You can be confident that the business model can work for you if done correctly.
  2. You can learn from other entrepreneurs’ mistakes.
  3. You can find a mentor who knows the model and doesn’t mind sharing her knowledge.
  4. You are not alone in trying to figure everything out by yourself.

After you get clarity on the business model, defining the value chain that can add value from inception to the final delivery of your products and services.

The critical questions to answer for the value chain are:

  1. Define the audience by answering “who’s going to buy your product or service?”
  2. Figure out the worth by answering “how much are they going to pay for it?”
  3. Determine the distribution mechanism and value added by answering “where will they find it?
  4. Define the base costs by answering “what’s the cost of making one sale?”
  5. Identify the real costs of making, packaging, shipping, and store the item.
  6. Calculate the profit for one sale.
  7. Know the margin by answering “how many sales can you make a month?”