Decision Frameworks

In my last post, I talked about the importance of decision making and the sheer number of decisions that have to be made during a project.  Clearly, every decision should not take a meeting of 30 people, and three hours.  Though, I can say that I have seen cases where that happens, and it is every bit as paralyzing as you would expect.

You need to have every person on the team making decisions that are appropriate to their scope of responsibility.  […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:14+00:00 September 19th, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on Decision Frameworks

Decisions, Decisions

In a prior post, I gave a potential example of a flawed decision making process.  But at least a decision was made.   A maxim that I’ve carried with me throughout my career is..

When You Deliver, All the Decisions Have Been Made

Every project failure that I have seen can be traced to non-decisions or uninformed decisions.  Now, I realize that this is a contentious statement.  If you look at research into why projects fail, the decision making process, if it’s […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:14+00:00 September 12th, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on Decisions, Decisions


A key component of most of my engagements is understanding and documenting a client’s existing business drivers, people, process, infrastructure and terminology (geez, that’s a mouthful) as it relates to customer care in the client operation.

The reason is that my world view and experience is different than the client’s.  Unless I truly feel comfortable conversing in the client world, I will make incorrect assumptions based on my experience and I will miss critical stuff.

In our working world, the problems and frustrations […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:14+00:00 September 11th, 2016|Business|Comments Off on Assumptions

Greater for Many Reasons!

On a recent drive to Kingston, I saw a sign that said “Town of Greater Napanee.  Greater for Many Reasons

Well, that’s different.

Before I comment further, let me start out by saying that Napanee is a really nice little town with really nice people…

Now, I know that the intent was to play on their name of Greater Napanee (birthplace of Avril Lavigne – the more you know…).  But, c’mon, I can’t imagine I’m the only person who drove by thinking, “Greater for […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:14+00:00 August 26th, 2016|Business, Fun|Comments Off on Greater for Many Reasons!

Have You Tried Turning It Off and On?

I was following a thread on Reddit where IT people were exchanging stories about the, for the lack of a better word, “bonehead” things that their users reported.  Most stories carried an aura of IT superiority, and the whole thread rubbed me the wrong way.

We’ve come a long way in making computers and applications easier to use.  The graphical interface of our Windows and Macs have converged and have become effectively standardized.   Once the basics are down, most of us can […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:15+00:00 August 23rd, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on Have You Tried Turning It Off and On?

Dramatic Pause, Sweeping Hand Gesture

Some years ago, a Senior VP friend of mine asked me to help on a troubled Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software implementation.  At the time, his company was a rapidly growing investment darling. The implementation of a “big-boy” package was being done by one of the top (i.e. really expensive) consulting/professional services organizations.

I found myself sitting in a configuration meeting, being asked to set values for the “Business”, “Corporation” and “Organization” fields.  Having a nominal grasp on English language, and the concept […]

By | 2018-06-01T19:03:15+00:00 August 6th, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on Dramatic Pause, Sweeping Hand Gesture

The Price of Flexibility

When I was starting my career, one of the axioms was “Nobody was ever fired for buying IBM”.  IBM was the market gorilla so IBM was safe.  Safe not only in IT’s mind, but in the C-Suite, who actually had heard of IBM.

Today, for IBM you could substitute Cisco, Salesforce, SAP, even Microsoft.  Market dominance implies safety.

Even though it’s possibly THE best technology marketing message ever created, it’s not true.  People get fired for making the safe choice.  I’ve seen it.  […]

By | 2016-10-11T16:06:33+00:00 August 2nd, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on The Price of Flexibility

Business Needs Translated (part 2)

In my last post, I talked about how critical it it to fully understand the business needs at the beginning of an IT project.  Let’s look at a few of the reasons that this can go wrong.

  1. Business and IT speak different languages.  Yes, this is obvious.  How to address it isn’t.  I’ll deal with this more fully in a future post.
  2. How business runs in practice is different than in theory.   Ask management how […]
By | 2018-06-01T19:03:15+00:00 July 24th, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on Business Needs Translated (part 2)

Business Needs Translated (part 1)

IT projects represent the translation of business needs into a business tool.

How do we get there?  Well, you have to:

  • Fully understand the business needs
  • Translate those needs into general functional requirements
  • Translate the functional requirements into technical requirements
  • Translate the technical requirements into designs that fit the capabilities of the chosen technologies
  • Build it

In my experience, fully understanding the business needs is the most critical and difficult part.  Get that wrong, and you’ll be building the wrong thing.

Within that context, […]

By | 2016-10-11T15:34:05+00:00 July 19th, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on Business Needs Translated (part 1)

#IT Fail

Google “Failed IT projects statistics”, and click on a few of the returned links.  Go on.  I’ll wait.

Pretty gruesome, right?  From a McKinsey study, the one that really sticks out is that “17% of  (large) IT projects go so badly that they threaten the very existence of the company”! You’re a CIO, and you could be looking at a 1 in 6 chance of killing your company?  Let that career ending statistic sink in for a minute.

OK… why?  From […]

By | 2016-10-11T16:52:23+00:00 July 19th, 2016|Business, Technology|Comments Off on #IT Fail