Tuning Up the IT Team

You’re the new CIO, and you are determined to make a difference. More than ever, you must have a tier-one team to implement your ideas. How fast can you differentiate those executives who talk a smart story from the real deal? What would it be worth to know right away who your “A” team players are? What is it worth to consistently raise the bar on quality, productivity and time-to-market every year for the next five years? This article discusses solutions to the teamwork and productivity challenges.

Business areas will likely tell you IT is slow and expensive. They are probably right. Eighty per cent of organizations were given a poor rating of one out of five by the SEI (Software Engineering Institute). Now how do you move your rating higher, and do so quickly?

The problem is more pronounced for today’s CIO. With E-commerce, the customer can see your availability 24/7. With CRM (Customer Relationship Management), one business driver is to cross-sell. To succeed in cross-selling, you must have teamwork across divisions like never before. With SCM, (Supply Chain Management) there is a constant need to shorten the time it takes to close business between different parts of your organization. To succeed in SCM, you must have teamwork across your divisions like never before. With E-commerce alliances and portals, your partners expect a level of teamwork and cooperation like never before. The whole point of an alliance is teamwork for mutual benefit.

Try a quick test.

1) Ask your direct reports to consolidate error-handling needs from all Requirement Documents for the last three years. You want to see the overlap between projects on the topic of error handling.

2) Ask for a second report showing the difference between error handling in their department vs. other departments across the organization. You feel there may be duplication and overlaps.

Set a due date of two hours.

If people start with, “But, but, but…” then you know you do not have ready access to the intellectual capital that created your Requirement documents. In fact, it is possible much of the know-how may be in someone’s head, and that someone may not work for you anymore. Studies show that Common Error routines are reused in the 85-per-cent range. Does every application figure out its own way to display errors? Is there no consistency or leverage on error handling between projects? So the business is right: IS is slow and expensive.

Get Fundamentals Right

When your customer jumps to your Web site, do you present one logon and one view to all parts of the business? E-commerce may raise the bar, but teamwork has always been a catalyst to success for any enterprising CIO. “No teamwork, no enterprise solutions, maybe no enterprise at all.”

One sure way to drive out team issues quickly is to promote the almost pass

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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