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Organizational Culture Eats Agile for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner!

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast,” is a famous quotation attributed to the late business management guru Peter Drucker. While a debate continues as to whether Mr. Drucker actually said it, the statement itself merits further exploration.  I believe it means that any great strategy regardless of the depth of research, hard work, number of paid consultants, and even its own brilliance, will not achieve its intended future state if it fails to take an organization’s culture into consideration.

For part three in my Agile journey series, I will examine the importance of addressing cultural elements to achieve a successful Agile transformation. (more…)

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Agile Maturity GPS

Before Starting Any Agile Journey, Know Your Destination

The promise of Agile is speed to market for delivering incremental value to the customer, but why is the adoption of Agile in organizations so difficult and slow? As addressed in my recent blog post, “Are you Using, Doing, or Being Agile?” Agile adoption takes more than just checking boxes, but rather is a complex, multi-phase journey. And any unfamiliar journey requires the navigator to know the destination. Have you tried using GPS without entering an address? Understanding where you are headed is a key component of any successful endeavor. (more…)

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Don't wag the dog, lead with strategy

Don’t Wag the Dog: Digital Transformation Starts with Company Strategy

Today, headlines about digital transformation dominate blogs and journals. IT leaders feel that they should have already started their organization’s transition into the digital age. But the amount of buzz around this trend shouldn’t force you into a hasty decision.

For years you’ve been told to avoid technology for technology’s sake – yet the same trap is catching CIOs pushing for digital transformation because everyone else is doing it. Like any IT initiative, digital transformation only makes sense if it supports your organization’s overall strategy.

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Launching a Center of Excellence | Downloadable Executive Field Guide

A Center of Excellence—such as an OSM (Office of Strategy Management), PMO (Project Management Office), IT Governance, Continuous Improvement, or similar task force—is usually established to achieve one or more of the following core objectives within an organization:

  • Implement and popularize a best practice
  • Add a new capability, function, or technology
  • Improve utilization of (or return on) an asset
  • Upgrade employees’ skillsets

Download this Executive Field Guide as a .pdf

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Risk-taking

The Risk-Taker CIO Paradox

Leadership requires taking risks. But technology must work reliably. How do IT leaders square these two realities?

CIOs are driving organizational strategies now more than ever. The more a CIO’s success is tied to business outcomes, the more risk they assume. Traditionally, CIOs have been responsible for KPIs like uptime and system availability to support internal productivity and operational efficiency. But suddenly—now that all industries are becoming digital—there is much more at stake.

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Executive Field Guide: IT Governance

There are dozens of definitions for “IT governance” out there. They use words like efficiency, effectiveness, alignment, control, and strategy—which are all valid terms. But the fact is, IT has only so much capacity and can get only so much done. Organizations need a mechanism for agreeing to what is (and what is not) on IT’s plate. That mechanism is IT governance.

The purpose of IT governance is to optimize IT’s workload.

Like most things, the more effort you put into governance, the more you will get out of it. However, IT stakeholders usually have their own areas of responsibility and limited capacity.

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On the Hunt for Best Practices? Proceed with Caution

Organizations generally strive for optimization of internal processes and for the most efficient use of resources, since some methods are better than others. The most effective way to solve a specific problem is commonly referred to as a “best practice,” yet the term is often misused and misunderstood. Management consultants are often referred to as peddlers of best practices, applying a one-size-fits-all solution to any given problem.

Let’s clarify what best practices are and are not, and how to benefit from them.

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Executive Field Guide: The IT Strategy Map

As with most things in life, it is much easier to start with a template than with a blank piece of paper. A template serves as a set of ideas you can add to, change, or delete to produce a custom product.

IT strategy maps are no exception. What makes IT strategies different from one another is the magnitude of importance an organization places on various objectives. For some, cybersecurity may be the highest priority. Some emphasize productivity. Still others put digital transformation at the top of the list. Nonetheless, 80% of IT strategies that I have seen in my career are quite close to the model outlined below.

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