downward spiral

When New Technology Causes Productivity to Plummet

Technology is expected to enhance productivity

Most business cases for technology investments include “productivity gains.” Even when no formal business case is created or communicated, users, managers, and executives implicitly expect that new technology will make their lives better.

However, many organizations spend money on technology as if it were a lottery ticket—hoping they will win. We could consider technology investments to be calculated risks, but, unfortunately, that just doesn’t seem to be the case. Most investments in tech turn into mechanical implementation projects that result in more complaints than compliments.

The most common complaint about technology from the user community is that it kills productivity, exactly the KPI it aims to improve. There are two reasons:

  1. Underutilization
  2. Poor maintenance and support

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A Maturity Model for Vendor Relationships: You Can’t Marry All of Them

Vendor management is an internal IT function that often has room for improvement. A maturity model is a helpful tool for evaluating the state of any given vendor relationship, and determining the overall balance of your organization’s dependency on vendors.

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How to Prioritize IT Initiatives Without Losing Friends: 5 Success Factors

A Black-and-White Prioritization Process: Quick and Uncomplicated

First, a common definition of success: IT initiative prioritization is a mechanism to calendarize and budgetize investments in IT, which is agreed upon by all stakeholders. This is a stretch goal for most organizations. In fact, some may argue that achieving a consensus among all stakeholders is not possible. But the only way to increase IT’s effectiveness is to drive consensus on how to use limited resources to achieve the most critical outcomes.

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IT Professionals Should Watch Their Language

When someone’s job description is “firefighter,” you know exactly how they can help you. If your house is on fire, they will put it out. We don’t call a firefighter a “long hose operator.” That may be technically accurate, but incomplete and unclear to those of us outside the fire station.

Naming conventions based on consumption make so much more sense than those based on operational or technical specs.

IT professionals want to be recognized for creating business value. Yet too often they are referred to as people who merely provide technology. It’s frustrating. To understand the disconnect, consider how IT professionals talk about themselves and their projects. Common IT titles include software development lead, SAP project manager, or something else referencing their specialty. A lot of project names I see include “cloud migration,” “system integration,” or “upgrade.” If you verbalize what you do through technology, you will be perceived as a technology-centered person.

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PM Pointers: Managing Superstars

Part 5 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for managing superstars, who are often in need of TLC but it is not as apparent.

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PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member with a Personal Agenda

Part 4 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who see the project as a way to achieve a personal agenda. In one way or another, these team members have no interest in doing what is best for the team, but rather what is best for themselves.

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man losing it at his desk

PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member with Personal Issues

Part 3 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output out of folks who have personal circumstances that are objectively more critical to them than work.

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PM Pointers: Managing a Team Member Who is Coasting

Part 2 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.

As project managers, we often run into team members who require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for getting the most output from folks who lost interest in work because they expect to exit soon.

Coasters Need TLC, Too

Some project team members know their days of working for the company are counted. Some are coasting towards retirement. Some know their jobs will likely go away when the project is complete. Typically, they just stop trying. Without emotional buy-in, these team members are often more harmful than they are helpful.

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No More Excuses: IT Initiatives Must Deliver Measurable Business Outcomes

Delivering on scope, on time, and on budget aren’t enough. Internal customers want tangible results from IT. They want real value.

But too often, those in charge of IT programs and projects tend to shy away from taking responsibility for delivering actual business outcomes.

In this video, Mikhail debunks the 2 most common myths used as excuses by IT managers for not performing “value tests”:

Excuse #1. IT can’t directly affect business outcomes. (You can and should.)
Excuse #2. Overhead for measuring value is too expensive. (No, it doesn’t.)

Watch to learn how to overcome these lame excuses:

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IT Must Sacrifice Pride of Ownership for Innovation’s Sake

IT often has a complex from being considered a non-strategic business unit, or a necessary evil. In response, many IT professionals try to prove the cynics wrong. They think, “We’ll show them….”, and put a lot of pressure on themselves to come up with game-changing ideas. This overcompensating mindset within IT is counterproductive.

Every time I attend an IT conference I visit technology vendors’ booths. Vendors have gotten really elaborate with their sales techniques. Many offer ROI templates or business case building tools to help IT professionals demonstrate the value of purchasing one product or another. These vendors are enabling the exact behavior that is so self-detrimental.

Let’s admit it: ideas born in IT have little chance of securing participation from the business, let alone budget for developing a prototype. IT-generated innovations don’t get much support because they tend to be technology-based.

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