IT Agenda for the Workforce of the Future

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-career-word-scheme-pen-image30486102Jim Taggart has published an updated version of his May 2011 e-book “Workforce of the Future: Building Change Adaptability.” The e-book begins with a brief overview of the global context within which organizations will operate in the years ahead. He also highlights the following trends that will have noticeable impacts. Drawing from his own experience, he has concluded that the workforce of the future will be significantly influenced and shaped by following elements: Competencies, Continuous Learning, Knowledge, Collaboration, Project Work, Diversity, Leadership, Social Media, Work Structure, and Organization Structure.

After reading his article, several thoughts of mine emerged. Here are my takeaways from Jim’s article on how the workforce of the future will impact the field of IT, and vice-versa:

People

From the people perspective, I think the continual effort of aligning and integrating IT with the business is given. More than ever, it is the relationship and trust that will ensure the alignment and integration will happen as intended. Successful IT initiatives require collaboration. Effective collaboration is only possible with trust. Successful IT initiatives also require information sharing from the business. Getting the proper perspectives via business analysis is feasible only when trust and relationships exist between business and IT.

Many business initiatives are also change management efforts. One hang-up often discussed has to do with resistance from the employees. I believe people resist changes not because they don’t understand the changes can be beneficial, but because they feel the changes have more negative impacts on them than anyone else. I think IT has a valuable opportunity here to help employees and organizations overcome resistance by leveraging technology to make changes more productive and beneficial to the employees. Change management efforts also can be looked at as the “programming” exercises of an organization. By understanding how the organization works, IT can serve as the “programming language” which further enhances the organization’s effectiveness in Collaboration, Project Work, Diversity, and Leadership.

Technology

From the technology perspective, IT will need to continue to support a fluid workforce. We, the IT professionals, need to make technologies even easier and productive for the end users to work with, to serve the organization’s business needs while protecting the organization’s best interests. IT can empower end-users to be innovators for the business by opening up new technological doors for them. Jim has mentioned the elements of Competencies, Continuous Learning, Knowledge, Collaboration, and Social Media, and technologies have made large strides in all those areas. In IT, we have been taught to put a great deal of emphasis using the business perspective. While I can certainly understand people’s position when they advocate that IT has to be about the business and not about technology, I am also fully in the camp of “IT is all about the business, by way of technology.”

Process

From the process perspective, I believe that IT must continue to think standardization and integration. By being the steward of the company’s information resources, IT is also uniquely qualified to bring the resources together, to do something with them, and to make the resources even more useful for the entire organization. Standardization and integration are not just for linking systems. They also can help in the business decision-making process. The Master Data Management practice, or single view of customer/product, is just one example of such standardization and integration effort. Furthermore, IT’s ability to foster standardization and integration give companies an even better capability and flexibility to structure the work and the organization to meet the demands from the workplace of the future.

In conclusion, I am in agreement with Jim on his proposed agenda for the workplace of the future. Based on my personal experience working in IT for the last 25 years, it was not difficult for me to draw the similar conclusions. The advancement in technology has accelerated the globalization trend and continued to introduce changes to our workplace non-stop. I think that, more than ever, the workers of today and the future will have to leverage those workplace elements to their own advantage and develop career resilience, rather than expecting the organizations to look after the workers.

Fresh Links Sundae – September 29, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sundae-image13526471Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

With the changes in how businesses utilize technologies, IT is being expected to build and deliver complex services, with external services and partners involved. Robert Stroud believes that the new focus of the IT Service Management function should be on design and execution as well as going from reactive to proactive. Service management must be proactive to retain relevance (CA Service Management)

According to Ryan Ogilvie, nothing is more frustrating than publishing metrics only to find that there are some inconsistencies in the data you have reported on. He explains what some potential causes for the reporting discrepancies are and how to improve the metrics. Service Management Reporting Accuracy – Greater Than or Less Than (Service Management Journey)

When IT projects languish, many of them don’t fail outright. Often they get “re-baselined”, and many ended up cancelled at the end. Stephen Lahanas gives his perspectives on why IT projects fail and what we can do to improve our chance of succeeding. Top 5 Reasons IT Projects Fail (Technovation Talks)

According to Patrick Gray, cloud applications could forcibly introduce unplanned and non-integrated tools into the IT application portfolio, just as spreadsheets and databases had done when those technologies first became available to the end users. He discusses what IT leaders can do to have productive conversations with the business on cloud applications. Avoid “Bring Your Own Cloud” syndrome (TechRepublic)

With the promise and the hype of Big Data, a number of organizations believe they have valuable data on hand and just need to find ways to monetize them. Sunand Menon explains what some of the misconceptions about data are and what steps an organization can take in order to understand the value of its data. Stop Assuming Your Data Will Bring You Riches (Harvard Business Review)

One of the most difficult challenges involved in software development is the near-total inability of developers to predict how long a project will take. Dan Milstein talks about how you can both give yours IT customers something they can work with and still manage the risks for the organization. No Deadlines For You! Software Dev Without Estimates, Specs or Other Lies (Hut 8 Labs)

Sprint Review session provides an excellent opportunity for the team to reflect on their work, to discuss lessons learned, and to plan the next steps.  Len Lagestee suggests how to make the session productive for everyone. How to Make Sprint Reviews More Meaningful (Illustrated Agile)

Many of us are delivering more than 100% on the current demands of our job but devoting little time to developing ourselves further for future opportunities. Herminia Ibarra suggests six approaches for developing new skills when you have limited opportunities for exploration and growth. Six Ways to Grow Your Job (Harvard Business Review)

Disappointment is a fact of life, and it can hit you when you are least expecting. While disappointment can be demoralizing, Scott Eblin recommends ways for picking our spirit back up. Disappointment Sucks. So, Now What? (Eblin Group)

People often ask Scott Adams for advice on how to get started writing a book. Scott outlines his recommended steps. How to Write a Book (Scott Adams Blog)

And lastly, for your amusement…

From Stephen Lahanas, You Know You’ve been in IT too Long When… (Technovation Talks)

98天 (Chinese Translation from Manager Tools’ article “98 Days”)

NaNoWriMo-Generic-180x180Note: The following passage is a Chinese translation of the article “98 Days” from Manager Tools’ newsletter. You can find the entire newsletter at this link. The author of the article is Ms. Wendii Lord, and she has been very generous in granting me the permission to translate and to publish the article on my blog. My only intention is to share actionable managerial thinking and tips with a broader, like-minded audience. Please feel free to comment or to suggest ways to improve my translation for future articles. Thank you.

98天

我上週末意識到,100天之後就是新的一年。首先,我想知道我今年是怎麼過的。好
像昨天我們還在擔心電腦的千年蟲。現在已經將是14年之後?

當你讀到這篇文章的時候,也許只有98天剩下。然而,我在想我能如何利用這100天
的時間?

科學家說,人需要21到63天之間去養成一個習慣,但以我的經驗,我們需要更長的
時間。 98天似乎像一個很合理的數字去培養一個新的習慣。我可以用其他的行為去
作為一個開始,像去健身房或做瑜伽。

或者,我可以列出98個我想要在年底前完成的事情。我可以閱讀98本書。我可以編
寫98個播客。(也許我會給我自己在週末放假,然後閱讀或編寫68樣東西)。

你們有些人可能已經聽說過 NaNoWriMo (全國小說寫作月)。這是對作家的一個挑戰,
用11月或31天的時間去嘗試寫作一整部小說。這是需要一種奉獻的精神。有一些學
者還曾經在 NaNoWriMo 月內發表他們的小說,所以這樣的奉獻是值得的。

期限會促使我們一直有不停的進展。最確切的就是像宣布產品發布日期而導致或激
勵我們的方向(這道理誰都知道!)。我們知道同樣的工作量會填滿任何有可用的
時間。當我們縮短可用的時間,我們同時也減少時間上的浪費。與其永遠的遙遙無
期,還不如有一個確實的期限?

98天。你有哪些一直想做的事但一直沒有著手進行?你想培養什麼樣的習慣?你想
完成什麼樣的項目?未來的98天,你會做什麼?請在此與我們分享

Angela Lee Duckworth: The key to success? Grit

I wrote a blog entry about Grit back in July because I believe in the concept and value behind Grit. I am glad someone smart and gritty, like Dr. Angela Lee Duckworth is also exploring the value in Grit.

I am pretty certain that Dr. Duckworth is a lot smarter than I am, since she just became a MacArthur Fellow. Angela also spoke about her work recently at TED Talks Education in 2013. Congratulations to Angela and her work!!!

你的牛排很好嗎? (Chinese Translation from Manager Tools’ article “Was Your Steak Perfect?”)

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-pepper-steak-image16129627Note: The following passage is a Chinese translation of the article “Was Your Steak Perfect?” from Manager Tools’ newsletter. You can find the entire newsletter at this link. The author of the article is Ms. Wendii Lord. My only intention is to share actionable managerial thinking and tips with a broader, like-minded audience. Please feel free to comment or to suggest ways to improve my translation for future articles. Thank you.

你的牛排很好嗎?

馬克,邁克,和我這星期在奧斯汀一家精緻的牛排餐廳裡吃飯,同時再多做一些視訊的工作。這是一個極佳的餐廳,有非常細心的工作人員,和美味的食物。在用餐中時,服務員問了一句,你的牛排很好嗎?

這毛病是出在這個問題上。因為它只允許一個二元數字化的答案。合適的答案只有“是”或“不是”。除非這牛排是很難吃的,很少有人會說“不是”。唯一剩下的答案就只有“是”的。

剛好那次的牛排是很好的。但我也敢肯定,他們網站上也許會有類似的說法,百分之九十八的客戶說他們的牛排是很好的。當然他們的客戶會這樣做,是因為這類問題導致他們會這樣回答。

也許另一個不同的問法會引起不同的反應。例如說,“你的牛排如何?” 那時有可能會聽到“這牛排很好,但我比較喜歡少一點醬”。那樣的回答可能不會給餐廳一個極好的評級可以放在網站上,但是它會給他們一個反饋。

當詢問的問題是建立在他們想要聽到的答案上,他們無法聽到客戶真實的想法。這家餐廳也有可能會因此歇業。因為客戶會繼續說:“是的,一切很好”,但總是繼續想,“我寧願少一點醬”。當他們找到一個他們喜歡牛排供應方式的地方,而不是這家餐廳決定什麼是完美的,他們會去另一個地方。

當然,這種前車之鑒也適用於各種企業上。任何時候你想從客戶口中聽來一個真正的反應,你需要問一個開放式的問題。凡是可以回答“是”或“不是”是沒什麼幫助的。你不知道你什麼是做對了,或者更糟的是,你什麼是做錯了。如何問問題是很重要的,問題要問的確切。

Fresh Links Sundae – September 22, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-sundae-image13526471Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

Working in IT organization often involves working with consultants, and conflicting dynamics can emerge between management, consultants, and practitioner employees. Tobias Nyberg provides suggestions on how to deal with those situations when one of those conflicting dynamic surfaces. Practitioners: Do you feel unwelcome in your hometown? (The ITSM Review)

Defining IT services should always be done from a business perspective. Ryan Ogilvie explains what elements are necessary when working with customers in defining and implementing IT services. Baking Up IT Services – Swedish Chef Style (Service Management Journey)

According to Patrick Gray, enterprises are losing their emphasis on the bread and butter of IT, and the need for server technicians and systems administrators seems to be diminishing. He advises how IT professionals can plan around this trend. Make a plan as enterprises hollow out IT (TechRepublic)

As a data scientist, Cathy O’Neil receives lots of attention and emails just for her my job title and Ph.D. in math. While it is flattering, she also points out that some serious headwinds are forming in the sea of big data. The bursting of the big data bubble (mathbabe)

As a new business analyst, it can be a challenge to figure out how to learn everything you need to know to be successful. Laura Brandenburg articulates the type of knowledge you need and how to document and synthesize the information you pull together. How to Learn About a New Business Domain (Bridging the Gap)

There are a number of writings that talk about and define leadership. Peter Saddington presents his definitions of leadership using the Agile perspective and outlines questions that can help you evaluate your leadership strengths and weaknesses. Agile Coach Leadership Traits (Agile Scout)

Andrew Dlugan believes that poor speakers often fail to understand the concept of the ladder of abstraction. He proceeds to define the ladder concept and explains why it is essential for all speakers to know. The Ladder of Abstraction and the Public Speaker (Six Minutes)

We may work with some people who, for one reason or another, choose not to be committed, to their work and also to the full experience and the team that they are a part of. Mitch Joel explains why it is necessary to periodically examine our own perspectives with the question “Why are you doing the work that you’re doing?” Opt In To Your Work (Six Pixels of Separation)

According to Jeff Haden, being stuck on measuring yourself against the entrepreneurial greats like Steve Jobs is only self-defeating. He suggests striving for a much better goal. The Best Kind of Entrepreneur to Be (Inc.com)

Referring to his book Linchpin, Seth Godin talks about what will the quality jobs of tomorrow look like. Q&A: Linchpin: Will they miss you? In another similar discussion, he talks about whether the war for talent is real or merely perceived. The truth about the war for talent (Seth’s Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 15, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image28379626Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

With so many data sources available to us, it is easy to analyze the data but still not getting the required results. That can happen when we analyze data without truly understand the business questions behind the analysis. Brian Barnier outlines four potential collaboration opportunities where IT and business can work together. Dangers of big lazy data / opportunities for IT leaders (ISACA Now)

When it comes to initiating an IT service improvement plan, a number of considerations should go into the planning. Over a three-part series, Michelle Major-Goldsmith presents a list of suggested starting points for your service improvement planning effort. A Trilogy – The One-Hour Service Improvement Plan (Part 2) (Part 3) (SHIFT)

With excellent customer service being one of the key goals of IT Service Management, Ryan Ogilvie reminds us that the ability to measure the quality provided is just as essential as the ability to provide services faster and cheaply. Request Fulfillment – How Good Are You? (Service Management Journey)

With today’s quick business pace, businesses are asking their IT organization to be more efficient and agile in providing the technology services the businesses require. Robert Stroud advocates that delivering business values, maybe on a smaller scale but quickly and efficiently, is the way to go. Can DevOps Get You Out of “Technical Debt”? (HDIConnect)

IT organizations manage a number of third party and off-the-shelf software assets on the regular basis. Rory Canavan presents a detailed asset management process model for managing changes to the software owned by an organization. Process of the Month – Software Change Management Process (The ITAM Review)

While teams bring many positive contributions to collaboration, they also can be a significant source of indecision. Patrick Gray makes recommendations on how we can do to stop this reactive behavior from taking hold in our organization. Eradicate a culture of indecision (TechRepublic)

In our lives, we probably know someone who seems to have a solid future ahead but somehow screws up life on a major scale. Susan Cramm explains how we can continually reflect and keep the worst in us from getting the best of us. Keeping the Stupid Out of Your Life (strategy+business)

With today’s globally distributed teams, having clear, timely communication amongst the teams is more crucial than ever. Over a three-part series, Peter Saddington presents his suggestions for managing a distributed Agile-based team. Ideas on Managing Distributed Teams Using Agile [1/3] – Introduction and Ceremonies (Part 2 – The Retrospective) (Part 3 – Review and Conclusion) (Agile Scout)

Some leaders try hard to win all the time, and they inadvertently try to add value to everything his team comes across. The behavior often adds incremental value while substantially diminishes employment involvement and commitment. Marshall Goldsmith advises us on what we can do stop this ineffective behavior. Adding Value — But at What Cost? (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Successes in career are rarely achieved without struggle and rejections along the way. When you have one of those dip/valley moments, Mitch Joel reminds us how we can confront those negative experiences on our own. If You Have Ever Been Rejected… Be Like Bono (Six Pixels of Separation)

Something else you might be interested in…

Jim Taggart has released an updated version of his May 2011 e-book. The e-book begins with a brief overview of the global context within which organizations will operate in the years ahead. He also highlights the key trends that will have noticeable impacts follow. Workforce of the Future: Building Change Adaptability, 2nd Edition – NEW E-BOOK! (ChangingWinds)

你能做些什麼呢?- (Chinese Translation from Manager Tools’ article “What Can You Do?”)

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-excellent-customer-service-image6114076Note: The following passage is a Chinese translation of the article “What Can You Do?” from Manager Tools’ newsletter. You can find the entire newsletter at this link. The author of the article is Ms. Wendii Lord. My only intention is to share actionable managerial thinking and tips with a broader, like-minded audience. Please feel free to comment or to suggest ways to improve my translation for future articles. Thank you.

你能做些什麼呢?

馬克和我有時候會彼此開玩笑,如果 Manager Tools 哪天走了銷聲匿跡,我們將成為房地產經紀人和清理工。(不過不要擔心,Manager Tools 永遠跑不了)。自從我加入這公司,我們也許已經和二十個房地產經紀人打過交道,他們都是同樣的差勁。

這讓我想起了上一周我剪草的事。其實,一個月前當我的肩膀受傷的時候,我的草就需要有人剪。等了四天,那剪草公司才給我回電話。當我再打回電話請他們給我一個價格,又花了一星期。(我實在不介意價錢多少! )再過兩個星期以後,才有園丁出來剪草。要不是這公司是我隔壁鄰居的孫子所開的,我已經去找了別人。

然後,沒有收據,沒有售後服務,沒有一個試圖繼續與我做生意的意願。真的嗎?我想我可能發現了另一個業務我可以賺一筆錢。

每一個生意都有高檔的業務可做。我們有高檔的市場與雜貨店。我們有高檔的旅館與酒店。我們有企業專精幫助你的文書工作,禮賓服務和更好的送餐服務。我們也有高檔的戲院賣好酒與美食。任何什麼事都可以更上一層樓。

在你說你不可能做到這一點之前,再多想一想。即使你的客戶完全是公司裡內部的,而且你也沒有多的資金能去花在他們身上,你還是可以更好地為客戶著想。舉例來說,那剪草公司可以及時的回我電話,讓我知道每一步驟的近況,更顯然的是在電話上態度好一點。在園丁來之前,給我多一個小時的通知。她也可以預料到我要問的問題而且有準備好的答案。

所有這些事情你不論在任何角色都可以實施。如果現下您的客戶對你的服務付出高價,你會如何改變你的作法與作風?現在就那麼做,體會到當你的客戶喜歡你,並推薦你給大家是個什麼樣子的感受。這對建立人際關係會更容易 :-)

Fresh Links Sundae – September 8, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-image-fruit-sundae-image15278271Fresh Links Sundae encapsulates information I have come across during the past week. Often they are from the people whose work I admire or resonate with me. More importantly, I picked these articles to help my fellow IT professionals be more successful. I hope you will find these ideas thought-provoking at the minimum. Even better, I hope these ideas will, over time, help my fellow IT pros make better decisions, be awesome, and kick ass!

With IT being essential to the execution of nearly every job, Brad Power believes that business executives will need to continue to build their comfort level with managing IT more directly. Yes, Managing IT Is Your Job (Harvard Business Review)

Drawing from his own dieting experience, Earl Begley explains how building and following a plan are a must for an ITSM initiative to work. The ITSM Diet (The ITSM Review)

With the constant changes in business, many organizations are using IT in a much more sophisticated manner than they are used to be. Stewart Buchanan explains how organizations need better IT asset management controls to prevent unexpected costs from outweighing the benefits of new ways of using IT. Improve Your IT Asset Management Controls or Face Unbudgeted Costs (The ITAM Review)

Motivated by the interest in social-enablement and self-service, many organizations are looking at how best to manage and make knowledge accessible to their people. Barclay Rae gives some planning tips for your knowledge management effort . Knowledge Management Is More Than Just Buying A Tool (The ITSM Review)

Many IT organizations use popular metrics such as first contact resolution (FCR) or mean time to repair/resolve (MTTR) as a primary input into measuring service excellence. Dan Kane argues that well intended metrics don’t necessarily tell the whole story, and we can do better. First Contact Resolution is the last refuge of a scoundrel (Hazy ITSM)

In an effort to maximize his/her own productivity, some developers produce more extra code than the organization can test or make use of them. Dennis Stevens suggests six things that developers can work on that are better economic investments than writing the extra, untested code. Stop Writing Code You Can’t Yet Test (LeadingAgile)

With machines getting more proficient at doing many of the things people traditionally do on the job, this means people need to become smarter at things machines are not quite yet ready to take over. Michael Schrage suggests six different skills that can be useful in today’s workplace and should be taught in school. Six Classes Your Employer Wishes You Could Take (Harvard Business Review)

We live in a world where we want things to happen fast, faster and fastest. Mitch Joel suggests  we focus on spending the time you need to get better at your craft. 10,000 Hours And 20% Of Your Work Time (Six Pixels of Separation)

When it comes to finding and leading like-minded people to make real and powerful change that matters, Seth Godin explains why it is vital to build the tribe around the experience that the tribe members already want to have. Q&A: Tribes and the reality of worldview (Seth’s Blog)

Our flaws at work usually don’t vanish when we go home. Marshall Goldsmith advises us on whom we can approach to learn more about ourselves. How to Learn the Truth About Yourself (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

給予上的想法 – (Chinese Translation from Manager Tools’ article “More on Giving”)

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-image-businessman-giving-helping-hand-image17052246Note: The following passage is a Chinese translation of an article from Manager Tools’ newsletter. You can find the entire newsletter at this link. The author of the article is Ms. Wendii Lord. My only intention is to share actionable managerial thinking and tips with a broader, like-minded audience. Please feel free to comment or to suggest ways to improve my translation for future articles. Thank you.

給予上的想法

我認為每個人不太給予的原因之一,是因為他們不認為他們有什麼可以給。那般思維過程像這樣:我也不是這方 面的專家,所以我怎麼能幫助別人?很久以前我讀過的一篇文章(很遺憾,我忘了在哪裡看到),那篇文章呈現 了一個樓梯的景象。您可能只站在樓梯上第二個階段,但你仍然可以幫助在第一階段的人們。如果你已經達到了第二個階段,那表示你的所知已經超過在第一階段的人,所以你可以幫助他們。

更重要的是,在這第二個階段的人更合適幫助前一步的人。在 Manager Tools,我們有時會發現自己犯了“學術蛻變”的毛病。那就是當我們很熟悉一樣東西,我們想像其他人也會知道那樣東西。最近我們在 Career Tools 發表了一篇關於使用 RSS 這個工具。當我再進一步訊問,只有9.5%的網上用戶曾經使用過RSS。我還以為每個人都知道這是個什麼以及多麼方便的東西。

這時候我很難再往回頭從最簡單的去解釋 RSS 是什麼與怎樣最好使用。我只知道抽絲剝繭很困難。如果我只是在第二階段,我想我會對第一階段人更有幫助,因為我自己可以體會他們的過程。

職業上的輔導也是類似的。如果你是一個個體貢獻者,你也許不想要一個首席執行官來指導你。這是因為她以已經很久沒有擔任一個單獨貢獻者的角色。這對指導你的首席執行官也無所幫助,因為她可以幫助更多接近她的水平的人。

無論你在哪個階段,你都可以幫助某些人。不要猶豫去給予,因為你想你幫不上忙。讓他們自己決定。