So senior and so experienced. Yet so stale. Are you well versed only in technologies that are at least 10 years old? Do you spend all your time on ROI, depreciation and staff issues, only to find that your tech skills are toast? It’s tough for senior managers to stay current on technology, which will always be a moving target. Could you accurately describe Wi-Fi, SOAP, P3P or LDAP to a member of your tech team? The task can be overwhelming. For instance, a CIO pulled me out of a meeting two years ago and urgently whispered, “What in the world is XML?”

To stay on top, senior IT people must use a variety of tools and practices to make sense of the ever-changing technology landscape and evolving management philosophies and business practices. There might not be time for formal classes, but the CIOs I’ve talked with prefer the following inexpensive yet effective methods of updating their knowledge: