Rating Your Shop

Every IT shop today faces enormous challenges in maintaining an effective workforce. One of the low-cost ways to strengthening your key IT competencies is to use the information available on the Internet to keep informed and learn from other people’s efforts. This month I recommend that you and your senior staff review the repository being maintained at http://www.nduknowledge.net/.

Over the last year, the Information Resources Management (IRM) College of the National Defense University (NDU) at http://www.ndu.edu/irmc/ has been building an information base that can assist IT shops to improve their key processes. They have also organized a support team of content managers to regularly add “leading informational content” to the repository.

Two excerpts from their Web site:

1) The NDU Knowledge Net is a Web-enabled service of the IRM College. It is an alternative Information Age strategy for the National Defense University to deliver just-in-time continuing education to its constituency and provide a vehicle for life-long learning. The service is also expected to augment activities of both residential and on-line classes conducted by the College. The first channel being developed is intended for CIO staff, primarily in DOD organizations. It provides the Web-enabled services listed near the top of the screen (FAQs, NEWS, EVENTS, GUIDES, EXAMPLES, RESOURCES, FORUM, LIVE) for each of the ten CIO competencies.

2) The Information Resources Management (IRM) College of the National Defense University is a corporate university for executives in the Department of Defense (and other U.S. federal agencies) who are charged with leveraging information and information technology for strategic advantage. The IRM College, located in Washington, D.C., offers several graduate-level programs dealing with policy, strategy, development, and management of information technology systems.

Consider doing a simple assessment of your shop’s current performance in each of the 10 competencies on the NDU Web site. These include: 1) policy, 2) strategic planning, 3) leadership, 4) capital planning, 5) acquisition, 6) architecture, 7) information assurance, 8) performance measurement, 9) technology assessment, and 10) process improvement.

Using a rating of 1 to 10 (with 10 being world class) define your current baseline performance for each area. Then also define your change in performance over the past year, i.e. improving, neutral, or declining. Finally, task your senior IT managers with developing improvement plans for the weakest areas (in performance and/or in trendline).

One subject area where I do feel the feature Web site is light is on “project management”.

For leading project management practices check out http://www.newgrange.org. The NewGrange Center for Project Management’s organizational mission is to further the discussion of project management as a professional discipline. Information about the group’s best practice project, knowledge management, educational programs and other resources are provided including:

Project Management


Software Development and Project Management


Managing the Project Team


Dan Swanson is a management consultant with LGS Group in Winnipeg. He specializes in audit and management consulting and can be reached at dswanson@lgs.ca

What Do You Recommend?

Remember, Web Browser is always interested in your feedback. Please e-mail Dan Swanson with your recommendations for reports and Web sites of interest to IT executives.