≡ Menu

The Business of IT

Insights into IT for fun and profit.

Culture of Learning

What does getting lost on the streets of Buenos Aires have to do with high performance? I could see my destination—a restaurant near Puerto Madero—clearly on the map in my hand, yet every turn I made seemed to take me farther away. It made no sense to me. I began to become frustrated. I always […] Read more

What is a learning organization?

Now that you know why you shouldn’t become a software business, you need to know about becoming a learning organization instead. As discussed, a learning organization rapidly learns about the customer, the problem domain, and the tools they must wield to fill the customer’s need. But what are the ingredients of learning itself? To learn […] Read more

Watts S. Humphrey famously said, “every business is a software business.” Unfortunately, this statement has been misconstrued by well-meaning IT practitioners to demand primacy in the organization’s strategy, budgeting, and focus. But nothing could be more dysfunctional than letting technology lead your business. A business exists to serve customers, and nothing else matters. Customers don’t […] Read more

The value of planning for unplanned value

Your organization has one job: Deliver value to your customers. But not all kinds of value are the same, and not all manners of working to deliver value are equivalent. Do you know where your organization is devoting its resources? Let’s examine these parameters and how you can improve the way you work to deliver […] Read more

Cost vs. Value

Are you in an organization that can not or will not fund improvements because there is zero cost-savings accrued as a result? Are important decisions forcefully hammered flat into a single-dimensional cost metric? Must you justify every action with a business case that boils down to a price tag? If so, I feel sorry for […] Read more

Digital Transformation, DevOps, and the Bugaboo of Change

How do you feel when you contemplate the idea of changing the way your organization operates? Scared? Jaded? Excited? Your answer—and the answers your employees give—to this question reveals how difficult it will be for you to pursue Digital Transformation and DevOps. Ron Westrum described three types of organizational culture: pathological, bureaucratic, and generative. The […] Read more

Innovation Motivation

Have you ever seen someone sporting the latest and greatest in technical wizardry—perhaps they are very proud of their new iWatch—but you are unimpressed by it? Sure you have. You have also seen someone sporting the latest and greatest in technical wizardry—perhaps in 2007 you thought this about the brand new product called the iPhone—and […] Read more

How am I doing? That depends who is asking

How good are you at your favorite activity? Wait—don’t answer yet, because you’re probably wrong. Your perception of how good you are is influenced by how good you actually are. This is explained by the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is cognitive psychology’s name for the disparity between self-perception and reality. Here is what it looks like: […] Read more

Software Factory Taxonomy

Do you wonder why your software organization struggles to deliver value rapidly, reliably, and consistently? It’s because something is wrong with either the organization’s structure or its relationships—or both. The following diagram, which I call Shlomo’s Software Factory Taxonomy Matrix, illustrates this effectively. Organizations are structured horizontally, delivering a single functional area such compliance or […] Read more

The most significant improvements in a CIO’s businesses effectiveness come not from technical tips at all, rather consist of improving habits. Here are my top three: – Recognize that “networking” is about relationships: relationships between IT services that span organizational boundaries. The best way to improve relationships among IT services is to improve the human […] Read more