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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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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Finding the Right Champion for Change

Change is HARD. As a matter of fact, I often say “technology is easy, but people are hard.” You can guess the reaction I get from technology-focused individuals when I make this statement. For an organization to grow, be successful, compete, and embrace technology and new processes, change is required.

There are many excuses given for why IT fails to focus on driving change in their organization and across the enterprise? Here are just a few:

  1. Change is not my job. I am here to deliver technology, not drive change in the enterprise.
  2. Change is opaque. People are not binary. They have feelings, opinions, and agendas. I do not know how to alter things like mindsets.
  3. Change is hard to quantify. I can’t tell if change is happening or if I’m making progress toward a desired end state.

Yes, change is hard and often overlooked by IT organizations. But it is required for technology and process adoption and therefore requires dedication in the form of a champion.

Change without a champion is likely to fail.

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agile adoption - changing shapes

How Amica Reshaped Its IT Processes: An Agile Adoption Case Study

Rhode Island-based Amica Insurance provides auto, home and life insurance nationwide and employs more than 3,800 people in 44 offices across the U.S.

Amica was looking to upgrade its web and mobile applications. To reach its goal, the IT team established a digital program and decided to pilot an Agile SDLC framework for rapid and iterative delivery of customer value.

The Agile implementation worked for Amica because the organization from top to bottom accepted a bit of discomfort in the short-term to give the change effort a chance. Management agreed to support decisions made on the front line. Product owners, SMEs, and developers were game to try new approaches and grew professionally. In return, they achieved a level of productivity and speed they had not seen before. Here’s how we helped.

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Improving Delivery Through Empowerment: 4 Steps to Empower an Agile Team

Your company is moving to Agile from waterfall, and you want to ensure a smooth transformation that keeps projects healthy. As a scrum master working to transform a traditional waterfall SDLC process into an Agile one, I have learned a few pointers when navigating this transformation. An important concept to keep in mind during this transformation is empowerment.

One of Agile’s core tenets is the value of “individuals and interactions” over “processes and tools”. The idea is to foster a high-velocity decision making process, which hinges on open and honest communication in a co-located environment. However, implementing this change can be very difficult for team members who have previously worked on waterfall projects. You may find employees reluctant to volunteer for work, or hesitant to take on new challenges. Why is this so?

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