IT Leadership Insights Blog

[Book Review] The War on Normal People by Andrew Yang

Jan 13, 2019 | 1 Comment

Presidential candidate Andrew Yang believes all Americans should be given $1000 per month from the government, this is his Universal Basic Income proposal which he hopes will help him win the White House next year. Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and other leading tech thinkers support similar proposals and Yang says UBI will help avoid a…

What a project manager can learn from a construction foreman

…that a hard hat, clipboard and loudhailer are also useful on the building sites of IT projects Any project manager will tell you; running projects is tough. You never feel on top of your plan (if it still reflects reality), you are always chasing people to do things and your end goal changes every day. This is…
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The most important question you can ask your boss

“What are my blind spots?”; gives you new perspective, avoids danger and might help you with the 2nd most important question for your boss.. As an over-achiever you’ll be trying to please all the people all the time, and this simply isn’t possible. Your boss is the only person that has a unique perspective on…
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clock-watching boss

Are you a clock-watching boss or an output-driven leader?

If you manage IT teams, you’ll get better results with the latter; here’s why. All roles in IT are knowledge workers, they don’t count widgets on a conveyor belt, and they know more about their job than you do. The programmer is the most extreme example of this and counting their hours will dramatically reverse productivity. I’ve…
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Taking People With You

The (Lost) Art of Taking People With You

If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together – but how? In two days, the world’s oldest and largest annual ultra marathon takes place in South Africa; the Comrades. The vast majority of participants tell you far more about their experiences with others along the way than…
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Which IT role is right for you?

Hoping for a career (or career change) in IT? Consider these perspectives for the major types of work you would be doing. A programmer is the most well known IT job and could be considered the civil engineer of the profession. They write lines of code (build stuff) that generates logic and typically develop specialist…
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Hero projects… and the rest of the team

All teams have a couple of projects that get all the attention and focus; make sure everyone else feels like a hero as well The Google employees that worked on Maps, Android and Gmail probably feel like superstars. The software they wrote is used by hundreds of millions, has achieved cult-like status and set entirely new…
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Don't let them drop the glass ball; Leadership and work/life balance

Help people in your teams avoid dropping the proverbial glass ball (family); you will gain their loyalty and achieve sustainable high performance. The IT industry is renowned for long hours, deadlines and high stress; when I was in consulting we used to plan family holidays around project milestones. Balancing such demands with the needs of…
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How to run a successful codefest

Putting a group of software developers together to build prototypes requires planning; here’s how In many ways a codefest is like a conference – like minded people getting together for a couple of days with a schedule of various activities. All the logistics of running such an event need to be covered and it’s preferable to get a professional…
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Winning the war for IT talent

How do you find and recruit top technical skills? If you have sufficient vacancies, hire or retain someone who has a track record of sourcing IT talent and give them everything they need to do it even better. The people you really want are unlikely to have their CVs in the market so you need to find them…
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Managing IT performance; more practice, less theory

Get the best out of your technology team with these effective principles Everything depends on meaningful conversations throughout the period of evaluation (such 1:1s are part of effective team communication, learn more here). Start on a good note when you agree a performance contract up front; it will be far more significant to the person being evaluated. Active, on the…
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Milestone countdowns actually work; here's why

T-40, 39, 38 isn’t just for NASA, use it on your projects and get to 3, 2, 1… success! I can still remember the go-live date: 17th June 2006. The project was a large ERP implementation across HR, Finance, Procurement and Property, our team was 100+ business and IT people delivering to 3000 users spread across numerous…
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Communicate better; your team needs it

Authentic leadership requires effective ways of engaging people, here are some practical suggestions. A regular newsletter will cut down on email volumes if you and your management team are disciplined about compiling information about what’s happening. If your team know they get a batch of short updates in a visually appealing format every second Friday they will…
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