Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spinning Sensation of IT Projects

It seems like IT departments go round in circles revisiting the same issues of projects over and over again. As you go around again and recognize the same issues, will you have enough energy to tighten the circle so that next time and issues are less? The spinning of project issue repetition is a symptom of lack of a comprehensive understanding of information and technology interaction. This spinning does not happen overnight, it builds up slowly as more projects are retrofitted into system as a whole.

More integration headaches equal less vision of information architecture. Why is this? Because someone said we need to consolidate system X with system Y without thinking through the issues of having corrupt information. Information’s worth is how well it is connected, but what happens when connections change leaving orphaned content and obsolete metadata? Nothing happens until someone says, “Let’s safe money by consolidating” or integrating or adding functionality, etc.

How does IT stop the spinning of issues?

At the core of any spiral, you don’t spin, but you see everything that is. With this perspective you can understand the forces at work, for example, a department that is feeding the spin by adding content that is not described accurately and extensively enough-rotation is increased. At the core, you can see this by analyzing reports which show trends. Also, anytime you think through how to export a cross section of your content and information you will expose the issues which cause your dizziness. The export exercise can be a low cost way to analyze how well the information architecture is designed. For example, does the information make sense on its own, are standard descriptive terms used to describe the content, are there accurate dates of execution of the information, could it be accurately imported into another system?

Friday, May 3, 2013

Techniques to pitch your innovative ideas in IT

You have an approach to an issue with the design or flaw in a system. You brought up the idea with your project manager who dismissed it immediately without considering the whole possible solution. You know your idea has merit. You know your idea could work, but how do you convince your peers and managers, how do you persuade them?

Persuasion is a skill that, when coupled with perseverance, will help implement your idea. Of course, your idea has to be good and well thought out. Many people have better persuasion skills than ideas and that’s part of the problem with IT these days: many project managers have other agendas that diminish the technical integrity of the solution. Solution flaws come back to haunt you if you let them slide because of the pressures of timelines in the present. Have some guts and make your case now or suffer the consequences!

Plant the seed, add water

Bring up your idea and be aware of the reaction. If the reaction is dismissive, don’t try to convince at that point. Let the idea work its way into the doubting minds. In the meantime, build your argument. Let’s say a few other ideas are brought up and tried, but ultimately fail. Your idea may be brought up by the person who dismissed it a few days ago. If this happens, try not to feel discouraged as ideas are cumulative and no one person deserves full credit.


If the idea you have involves software, see if it is available on a trial basis. If so, install the software and configure it. Build a proof of concept. The best way to convince your management that your idea is a good one is to show it in action.

Gather consensus

Your ability to persuade individual members of the team could be crucial to getting your point across. The more team members that are convinced, the better chance of actually getting your innovative idea recognized.

Let other ideas fizzle out, be patient

If you are patient the inferior ideas will eventually be proven faulty. Reintroduce your idea and witness how it is accepted. There are many reasons that folks reject ideas at first. It would take all your energy to figure them out. Your job is to know that your idea is the best and to persevere.