Fresh Links Sundae – October 20, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626

Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Some experts have predicted that the CIO role has become less and less relevant over the years and maybe going away soon. Bob Lewis disagrees and explains why the CIO role is necessary to coordinate the integration between applications and systems. Is the CIO dead? Maybe. Should it be? Nah. (IS Survivor Publishing)

As the power of data and analytics profoundly affects the business landscape, companies once again need more top-management talent who can understand and leverage the technologies. Brad Brown, David Court, and Paul Willmott outline six areas that will require more senior leadership’s participation. Can Your C-Suite Handle Big Data? (Harvard Business Review)

Many of us are accustomed to having access to highly capable consumer technologies that offer convenience and commodity pricing. Over time, we have grown dependent on those technologies. Sharon Taylor reminds us the importance of balancing the level of support response, redundancy, cost, and reality when offering those same technologies and services to our organizations. Rocket fuel, cake and customers. (SHIFT)

Many IT organizations are looking for ways to improve their services by making themselves more assessable to the business. Robert Stroud suggests that perhaps a “walk-up service center” can help to improve your organization’s service management effort. Service Management From the Back Room to the “Drop-in Center” (CA Service Management)

Most IT departments are in a struggle to meet the demands from a customer base and from a massive volume of IT project and firefighting work at the same time. Offering a more personalized support from IT appears to be a low priority item considering the resource and staff constraints. Ian Aitchison thinks that offering a more personalized IT support to enterprise users can be doable. You don’t need to be a Genius or a Guru to offer a Personal Service Desk (The ITSM Review)

Many CIOs feel innovation can only come after establishing a culture for innovation within the organization. CEB believes that, instead instilling a culture, a “climate of innovation” will be more malleable and can be influenced by processes, practices, and signals from leaders. Laura Wilson explains what is a “climate of innovation” and recommends four actions to create such climate within your organization. Want to Make IT More Innovative? Don’t Set Up a Skunkworks Team, Examine Your Behaviors (CEB’s IT Blog)

Some leaders try hard to help their teams by handing out advice on every aspect of the team’s work. Susan Cramm explains what the negative consequences can be and what corrective actions a leader should take. Are You Disabling Your Organization with Advice? (Strategy+Business)

Today’s leaders face a set of very different environments and leadership challenges. Len Lagestee believes that, by changing the way we think, speak, and act, we will begin to design how we will be remembered as a leader. Shaping Your Leadership Legacy (Illustrated Agile)

A challenge around strategic core competencies today is that too many of them appear to be enterprise-centric rather than from the customer’s point of view.  Michael Schrage discusses how companies can re-think and re-architect how they can empower customers to add value to their core competencies. Do Customers Even Care about Your Core Competence? (Harvard Business Review)

Marshall Goldsmith suggests that leading an organization that provides integrated multi-product solutions is remarkably different from leading an organization that sells a single line of products. He recommends approaches leaders should take to navigate in today’s interconnected world. On a Consumer Watershed (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Something else you might be interested in…

Microsoft has made a free Windows 8.1 ebook by Ed Bott available for download. Introducing Windows 8.1 for IT Professionals (MSDN Blogs)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 29, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sundae-image13526471Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

With the changes in how businesses utilize technologies, IT is being expected to build and deliver complex services, with external services and partners involved. Robert Stroud believes that the new focus of the IT Service Management function should be on design and execution as well as going from reactive to proactive. Service management must be proactive to retain relevance (CA Service Management)

According to Ryan Ogilvie, nothing is more frustrating than publishing metrics only to find that there are some inconsistencies in the data you have reported on. He explains what some potential causes for the reporting discrepancies are and how to improve the metrics. Service Management Reporting Accuracy – Greater Than or Less Than (Service Management Journey)

When IT projects languish, many of them don’t fail outright. Often they get “re-baselined”, and many ended up cancelled at the end. Stephen Lahanas gives his perspectives on why IT projects fail and what we can do to improve our chance of succeeding. Top 5 Reasons IT Projects Fail (Technovation Talks)

According to Patrick Gray, cloud applications could forcibly introduce unplanned and non-integrated tools into the IT application portfolio, just as spreadsheets and databases had done when those technologies first became available to the end users. He discusses what IT leaders can do to have productive conversations with the business on cloud applications. Avoid “Bring Your Own Cloud” syndrome (TechRepublic)

With the promise and the hype of Big Data, a number of organizations believe they have valuable data on hand and just need to find ways to monetize them. Sunand Menon explains what some of the misconceptions about data are and what steps an organization can take in order to understand the value of its data. Stop Assuming Your Data Will Bring You Riches (Harvard Business Review)

One of the most difficult challenges involved in software development is the near-total inability of developers to predict how long a project will take. Dan Milstein talks about how you can both give yours IT customers something they can work with and still manage the risks for the organization. No Deadlines For You! Software Dev Without Estimates, Specs or Other Lies (Hut 8 Labs)

Sprint Review session provides an excellent opportunity for the team to reflect on their work, to discuss lessons learned, and to plan the next steps.  Len Lagestee suggests how to make the session productive for everyone. How to Make Sprint Reviews More Meaningful (Illustrated Agile)

Many of us are delivering more than 100% on the current demands of our job but devoting little time to developing ourselves further for future opportunities. Herminia Ibarra suggests six approaches for developing new skills when you have limited opportunities for exploration and growth. Six Ways to Grow Your Job (Harvard Business Review)

Disappointment is a fact of life, and it can hit you when you are least expecting. While disappointment can be demoralizing, Scott Eblin recommends ways for picking our spirit back up. Disappointment Sucks. So, Now What? (Eblin Group)

People often ask Scott Adams for advice on how to get started writing a book. Scott outlines his recommended steps. How to Write a Book (Scott Adams Blog)

And lastly, for your amusement…

From Stephen Lahanas, You Know You’ve been in IT too Long When… (Technovation Talks)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 15, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

With so many data sources available to us, it is easy to analyze the data but still not getting the required results. That can happen when we analyze data without truly understand the business questions behind the analysis. Brian Barnier outlines four potential collaboration opportunities where IT and business can work together. Dangers of big lazy data / opportunities for IT leaders (ISACA Now)

When it comes to initiating an IT service improvement plan, a number of considerations should go into the planning. Over a three-part series, Michelle Major-Goldsmith presents a list of suggested starting points for your service improvement planning effort. A Trilogy – The One-Hour Service Improvement Plan (Part 2) (Part 3) (SHIFT)

With excellent customer service being one of the key goals of IT Service Management, Ryan Ogilvie reminds us that the ability to measure the quality provided is just as essential as the ability to provide services faster and cheaply. Request Fulfillment – How Good Are You? (Service Management Journey)

With today’s quick business pace, businesses are asking their IT organization to be more efficient and agile in providing the technology services the businesses require. Robert Stroud advocates that delivering business values, maybe on a smaller scale but quickly and efficiently, is the way to go. Can DevOps Get You Out of “Technical Debt”? (HDIConnect)

IT organizations manage a number of third party and off-the-shelf software assets on the regular basis. Rory Canavan presents a detailed asset management process model for managing changes to the software owned by an organization. Process of the Month – Software Change Management Process (The ITAM Review)

While teams bring many positive contributions to collaboration, they also can be a significant source of indecision. Patrick Gray makes recommendations on how we can do to stop this reactive behavior from taking hold in our organization. Eradicate a culture of indecision (TechRepublic)

In our lives, we probably know someone who seems to have a solid future ahead but somehow screws up life on a major scale. Susan Cramm explains how we can continually reflect and keep the worst in us from getting the best of us. Keeping the Stupid Out of Your Life (strategy+business)

With today’s globally distributed teams, having clear, timely communication amongst the teams is more crucial than ever. Over a three-part series, Peter Saddington presents his suggestions for managing a distributed Agile-based team. Ideas on Managing Distributed Teams Using Agile [1/3] – Introduction and Ceremonies (Part 2 – The Retrospective) (Part 3 – Review and Conclusion) (Agile Scout)

Some leaders try hard to win all the time, and they inadvertently try to add value to everything his team comes across. The behavior often adds incremental value while substantially diminishes employment involvement and commitment. Marshall Goldsmith advises us on what we can do stop this ineffective behavior. Adding Value — But at What Cost? (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Successes in career are rarely achieved without struggle and rejections along the way. When you have one of those dip/valley moments, Mitch Joel reminds us how we can confront those negative experiences on our own. If You Have Ever Been Rejected… Be Like Bono (Six Pixels of Separation)

Something else you might be interested in…

Jim Taggart has released an updated version of his May 2011 e-book. The e-book begins with a brief overview of the global context within which organizations will operate in the years ahead. He also highlights the key trends that will have noticeable impacts follow. Workforce of the Future: Building Change Adaptability, 2nd Edition – NEW E-BOOK! (ChangingWinds)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 18, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image9076544Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

As the business continues to demand agility and delivery of changes and innovation, focusing on the existing processes alone probably won’t suffice.  Robert Stroud recommends that service managers must also focus on automation and proactivity in order to fulfill a critical part of their service delivery to the business. Delivering Innovation—And Doing it Quickly (CA Technologies)

When working with an effective team, the chances are that the team members are also happy working with each other. Wendii Lord tells us what seems to make her team tick at Manager Tools. 3 Secrets of a Happy Team (Manager Tools)

Computer applications are not built to last forever due to the changes in business processes or environment. Ryan Ogilvie gives us an example where application changes are rarely isolated, and the changes usually involve considerations that can impact the tools, processes, architecture, and organizational knowledge. Workarounds and Implementations – Like Ripping off a Bandage (Service Management Journey)

As IT tools become more sophisticated and complex, controversy arises on how much IT should get involved in employee training and development. Andrew Horne believes that this is a problem the c-suite as a whole has to solve and that the solution must include the IT organization’s involvement.  How CIOs Can Avoid the Other IT Skills Crunch (CEB’s IT Blog)

In IT, we provide measurements, but some of those measurements often do not connect with the business goals and metrics. Julie Montgomery suggests several IT related measurements that just might be useful to your organization’s senior leaders. 3 IT Metrics Your CEO May Actually Care About (Plexent Blog)

As more business activities become digitized, a number of organizations are looking to be more “data-driven” in their decision-making processes. Thomas Redman summarizes six harmful habits that can stymie managers and companies from taking full advantage of their data. Become More Data-Driven by Breaking These Bad Habits (Harvard Business Review)

If you are interested in managing your software asset more effectively, David Foxen has some suggestions on what the next generation of SAM professionals should be proficient at doing. Tips for the next generation of SAM professionals (The ITAM Review)

The ability to perform multiple activities at once has been regarded by many as an asset, but Patrick Gray explains why that belief can be counter-productive. He also suggests a few ways of managing multiple tasks and using the human mind to its most effective capacity. The lie of multitasking (TechRepublic)

Reflecting from reading Dennis Perkins’ book, Into the Storm, Jim Taggart explains what useful insights organizations can draw to adapt to a relentlessly changing world. Into the Storm: A Real-World Lesson on Leadership and Teamwork (ChangingWinds)

Seth Godin believes that what we’re looking for in a leader is formidability. He also explains what two critical elements make a leader formidable. Choosing to be formidable (Seth’s Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 14, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. They maybe ITSM related or not quite. Often they are from the people whose work resonates with me, and I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

Business can be dynamic, and it is not possible to define rules that will cover all situations. Robert Stroud tells us a story about striking a balance between following processes and keeping the business needs in mind. Ask For Permission First or Forgiveness Later? (CA Technologies)

Based on a recent survey, the current maturity levels of some critical ITSM processes continue to lag behind the others, even after two decades since ITIL was first published. Tim Sheedy believes that the trend is changing, and the emergence of business technology is going to benefit ITSM. Does ITSM Still Have Relevance In The Empowered BT Era? (Forrester Blogs)

Many organizations use new technologies to help drive changes or to move the business forward. Once the technologies become ingrained into the business, what do you do if your business needs to move in a new direction, but the technologies already invested will not support the new business model? Bob Lewis makes a suggestion on what to do in those situations. Technology. It drives everyone forward. While it holds everyone back. (IS Survivor Publishing)

Even though social media may appear to be something new or revolutionary, Rob England explains that being social is nothing new, perhaps how we conduct social activities differs. Similarly, the need for ITSM has always been around, but how we conduct ITSM before, now, and in the future might look different. Progress (The IT Skeptic)

A number of new businesses have sprung up from the opportunities created by technological innovation. Anna Farmery explains why curiosity can be a prerequisite for seeing and excelling with technological innovation. How Curious Brands Gain Through New Technology (The Engaging Brand)

Customer retention is a critically important for any business. Jeff Haden gives his perspective of how to assess a business’ effectiveness in retaining its customers. Best Way to Calculate Customer Retention Rate (Inc.com)

Leadership can have a productive or distracting influence on the team. Stephen Lahanas outlines his suggestions of the productive leadership qualities. The Top 10 Tips for Team Leadership (Technovation Talks)

Thought leadership may seem to be a straight-forward concept, but how does one practice and become a thought leader? Mitch Joel explains what makes a thought leader and how to become one. How To Become A Thought Leader (Six Pixels of Separation)

The behavior of obsessing over a particular goal sometimes can cause us to miss the larger picture or mission. Marshall Goldsmith explains what changes each of us can make in order to avoid being overly goal obsessive. Goal 1, Mission 0 (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Umair Haque does not believe that being an expert at winning the games is leadership. He outlines six qualities that real leaders should practice. How and Why to Be a Leader (Not a Wannabe) (Harvard Business Review)

Fresh Links Sundae – July 7, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image5686314Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. They maybe ITSM related or not quite. Often they are from the people whose work resonates with me, and I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

On his blog post a week ago, Bob Lewis advocates that many businesses can benefit from problem solving with an engineering mindset and approach. However, he also explains why the answer is not as simple as hiring more engineers. Ready to hire a refrigeration engineer as your next manager? Not so fast. (IS Survivor Publishing)

Performance and talent management practices are not what they used to be. Susan Cramm breaks down the employee’s social needs into five aspects and suggests what today’s progressive companies should do for their employees. Are You Leading Like It’s 1980? (Strategy+Business)

Drawing from a recent personal experience, Robert Stroud describes a failed service situation. He also explains why service management is more valuable than ever in this world where service automation is everywhere. “Your Call is Important to Us, but…..” (CA Technologies)

Mitch Joel believes that many marketers, who talk about the high potential of big data, actually have very little clues on what big data is or what it can do. He goes on to explain what big data can look like and should do. The Problem With Big Data (It’s Not Me, It’s You) (Six Pixels of Separation)

A number of ITSM initiatives implements processes and tools first and work on reporting only much later after-the-fact. Jon Hall explains why pushing reporting back is not a productive move and suggests ways to give reporting the deserved attention. Why does reporting get forgotten in ITSM projects? (Evolving ITSM)

In many IT organizations, it’s common to refer people outside of IT as “The Business.” Patrick Gray suggests that such us-vs.-them mindset is not productive for the organization. He also offers three approaches for working with colleagues from outside IT more effectively. Three tools for talking to ‘The Business’ (TechRepublic)

All of us have observed various leadership acts and behaviors from others. Jim Taggart talks about different types of leadership behaviors and what makes one leader more authentic than another. Are You an Authentic Leader? (ChangingWinds)

While measuring is necessary, Jeff Haden advocates that measuring what you need to measure and measuring it the right way is even more critical. Best Way to Measure Performance (Inc.com)

Sometimes successful leaders engage in unproductive behaviors because they confuse the “because of” and “in spite of” behaviors for their success. Marshall Goldsmith explains what changes a leader can make in order to avoid the “superstition trap.” Avoiding the Superstition Trap (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Personal branding has captured many people’s attention in our socially active and connected environment. While what people think of us does matter, Nilofer Merchant suggests that what matters even more is what we do and deliver. Your Brand Is the Exhaust Fume of the Engine of Your Life (Harvard Business Review)

Fresh Links Sundae – June 30, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image24270014Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. They maybe ITSM related or not quite. Often they are from the people whose work resonates with me, and I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

Faced with declining profits, too many businesses try cutting the costs instead of fixing the real, underlying problems. Bob Lewis believes the solution is for the business decision makers to take on more of an “engineer” mentality by investigating, analyzing, and fixing the problems rather than just the symptoms. Why refrigeration is key to successful management (IS Survivor Publishing)

Responding to a recent Forrester’s prediction of IT’s diminished role within an organization, Rob England argues why Forrester’s projection misses the mark. News of IT’s death is greatly exaggerated (The IT Skeptic)

Some have long predicted that IT will turn into an utility function, rendering itself less strategic or relevant to the business. Jon Hall explains why that might not be the case. Why the CIO won’t go the same way as the VP of Electricity (The ITSM Review)

With a number of organizations adopting cloud-based technologies services, Robert Stroud believes that effective cloud computing implementation requires effective and efficient service operations. He also suggests some starting points to consider. To the Cloud and Beyond! (CA Technologies)

The shadow IT organizations are usually seen as a source of risk and inefficiency, and a barrier to integration. Andrew Horne explains that there are two categories of shadow IT organizations – one category is helpful while the other is not. But Do You Have Enough Shadow IT? (CEB’s IT Blog)

Virtual teams have become a fact of business life. Michael Watkins outlines ten suggestions for making the virtual teams more productive and effective for everyone involved. Making Virtual Teams Work: Ten Basic Principles (Harvard Business Review)

Ted Rubin believes that blogging should be a key component of your social presence. He suggests four areas to focus on when using blogs for building relationships and enhancing engagement. Blogging Strategy as it Relates to Building Relationships (Ted Rubin)

In a world full of information and ideas, Anna Farmery suggests that the “listening” skill is just as vital as writing/speaking, if not more. Secret Skill of How to Make Money From Ideas (The Engaging Brand)

The conventional wisdom about leadership may suggest that success of an organization often has more to do with the leaders, rather than the followers. Marshall Goldsmith thinks it is often the opposite. It’s Not About the Coach (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Many organizations say the customer interactions are important to them, but their actions demonstrate something quite different. Seth Godin suggests some approaches of treating customers with respect. Your call is very important to us Because I opened the post with a refrigeration analogy, I will close with another. The thermostat and the frying pan (Seth’s Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – June 23, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image9076544Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. They maybe ITSM related or not quite. Often they are from the people whose work resonates with me, and I hope you will find them at least thought-provoking or something of value.

Just graduated and looking for a job? Bob Lewis has some excellent insights on how to position yourself to get the job. I think the same suggestions can also be beneficial to the more experienced job seekers. Commencement 2013 (IS Survivor Publishing)

Robert Stroud advocates that the meaningful IT metrics are those used to run the business. He suggests some questions to ask when creating dashboards to help drive business outcomes. Metrics to Drive Outcomes of Business Value! (CA Technologies)

Based on the feedback he received from a recent Forrester forum, George Colony outlines ten suggestions on how to use technology to win customers. 10 Things The CEO Can Do To Drive Digital (Forrester Blogs)

In IT,  we implement many processes to solve various problems or requests that come along. Patrick Gray points out that questioning and understanding why we perform a process in the first place is just as essential as assembling the process. Is your shop corrupted by unnecessary processes? (TechRepublic)

Asking the question of whether what he is sharing via the social media actually has any value to others, Tobias Nyberg explains why we should be selective with what we share. Do you clog your social media channels with useless crap? (The ITSM Review)

In an increasingly hyper-connected world with social media, Bret Simmons advocates the absolute necessity of operational excellence for any business. Operational Excellence (Positive Organizational Behavior)

Jim Taggart believes the top-down, compliance-oriented communication style is not as effective today as it was. He argues that today’s leaders should focus on an enrollment mindset where people follow an individual towards a shared vision. Creating Your Leadership Footprint through the Practice of LESS is MORE (ChangingWinds)

It’s hard to fix or improve something if you don’t know what is broken. Seth Godin reminds us that we should take the effort to understand fully what metrics in our businesses truly matters. Ping me when it’s broken (Seth’s Blog)

All other things being equal, what skills will help someone rise above the leadership pack? Marshall Goldsmith explains why the higher up you go – the more important your people skills become. Nice Guys Can Finish First (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Here is an inspiring and uplifting story to close out the post. Susan Cramm shares her observations about the program Workforce Opportunity Services, which helps underserved young men and women gain access to educational and workplace opportunities for rewarding and robust careers. A Workplace Love Story (about Consulting) (Strategy+Business)