My company has started a new program to get our interns oriented to process and provide relevant information about various departments. It is called “Jumpstart”. The goal is to give all our interns a flavor and/or in depth knowledge of various “things” they should know to work effectively. Most firms just throw their interns into the deep end and have them either sink or swim. We are taking the more humane approach in our internship program.
So I was asked to present about what is IT, what we do and some high level overviews of some critical apps. It has been some time since I present such information. Like most CIOs, I usually present to boards and execs, information with a lot more detail, ROIs, KPIs, budget projections, and a bunch of stuff that can make the average person fall asleep. It has been a very long since I was intern, so I had to spend some time thinking back to when I was one what did I want to know?
It was hard. So I created a fluff 40 slide PowerPoint that showcased the MIS department and the critical processes and applications I think any intern should know. I was shocked. It worked out well–very well. I had engaged my audience of 20 somethings by keeping it light and funny or as funny as technology can be.
Something else had occurred that I was not expecting. They started asking questions about why we do certain things and it turned into a brainstorming class as they began to think outside the box on how to improve the organization. Some of their ideas, I must admit, were out there, but I saw the future benefits.
The lesson I learned was to not write off the interns. In fact, as CIOs we should listen to them. They have not been tainted by corporate politics or turned into status quo zombies. They might have fresh ideas that can improve the bottom line of an organization. Think Facebook…
Reinvent Your Training Methods by Chris Curran
Available does not equal best by Eric D. Brown
Transitioning IT from a technical focus to a business focus by IT BS Watch
How to Kill Projects and Develop Agile Programs Part 1 by Isaac Sacolick
Free Answers From Google On How CIOs Can Be Better Managers by Jim Anderson
I have a recent master’s graduate on my team who is aspiring to be more. His goal to eventually manage various IT projects outside his core competency which is development. He came to me the other day asking about how he can do more. I gave him the following advice to help him along.
1- Speak Well
The ability to speak to a wide variety of people is essential. Good eye contact, a varied vocabulary and the ability to tailor your language to suit your audience are essential. Practice talking with anyone and everyone you. Being more adept in social situations and being better equipped to network successfully will help you forge working relationships.
Indecision–I hate it and I hate seeing it especially in the workplace. A good leader is decisive. If you are paralyzed by the fear of getting it wrong, you will end up doing nothing, which is worse than trying something and failing. Learn to evaluate different decisions for their pros and cons, and make decisions that will take you closer to completing a given task. The key is to make sure that your decisions are thought out and reasoned. Be confident in your judgment and believe in yourself to get things right.
3- Accept Responsibility
Accept responsibility, both for successes and failures. If you want other people to respect you, acknowledge your errors rather than trying to blame someone else. Everyone makes mistakes, but the real test is how you react to that. Being able to admit you have made a mistake is a sign of humility.
4- Be Positive
Be positive about work and life. A positive attitude is entirely self-determined and can be helped by accentuating the positives in any situation. Don’t see problems; see solutions.
Learn how to present yourself to others. I cannot say enough about grooming. Take pride in your appearance. The way you look enhances the way you feel about yourself, making you more confident.
6- Be Organize
Learn to track projects, meet deadlines, and set schedules. Ideally, you will reach a stage when you can get ahead of the curve and start taking on additional projects and responsibilities.
Better Communication: Technology Isn’t Always The Best Solution by Mike Schaffner
CIO as General Manager? by Mark Brewer
Can a CIO be successful without IT experience? Define your terms! by Peter Kretzman
Four Models for success for the CTO / CIO- CTOVision by Eric Brown
Why CIOs Need Management Power Maps To Get Anything Done by Jim Anderson
How To Cope When The Boss Is A Bully by Andy Blumenthal
Is there a rule of thumb for the number of IT staff to the number of end users? No.
No two companies are the same. If that were the case there would be a hard and fast rule we all would follow. So comparing the ratios of man to machine will not determine the correct ratio. IT staffing ratios might come into play in larger companies. Efficiencies of scale coupled with segregation of job responsibilities allow larger companies to trend those ratios to some pretty high numbers. But even in these cases I would be cautious.
Take a step back and ask the following questions:
- How many systems do you need to manage?
- How many customized systems do you need to manage?
- Is your business complex?
- What is the geographic structure of your business and locations?
- Do you have a standard operating environment in place?
- What is the level of your infrastructure (laptops/ pcs/ servers/ printers/ backuptools, connectivity ) etc?
- What is management’s approach, how much support do they want and in what time frame?
- How many help desk calls are you receiving?
- Are the help desk calls emergencies, regular maintenance, user errors?
- Are help desk calls occurring 24×7?
- Is there adequate backup to the handle workload when staff are sick, on vacation, etc?
Your answers above will determine the adequate number of IT staff to support your business environment.
Having spent many years in a Japanese bank, these 2 articles hit home regarding what we, as executives, can learn from the Japanese business culture.
6 Lessons From Japanese Business Culture by Roberto Rocha
7 Lessons From Japanese Business Culture – Part II by Samuel Hui