Fresh Links Sundae – November 2, 2014 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image14628852Fresh 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. 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!

Thomas Redman believes that managers should rarely take an important analysis at face value. He explains how data can be interpreted to tell one story but still fail to present the whole picture. When It Comes to Data, Skepticism Matters (Harvard Business Review)

Like all technology implementation efforts, cost benefits analysis should be part of a NoSQL implementation. William Vorhie explains what the two categories of benefit in NoSQL are and how to quantify them. Quantifying the Value of a NoSQL Project (Data Science Central)

Most of us think of taking meeting notes as merely a mundane transcription exercise. Bob Lewis would argue that taking and publishing the meeting notes is one of the most important jobs in a meeting. Notes about notes (IS Survivor Publishing)

Glen Alleman would advocate that, in order to make good decisions, we require good estimates. He explains five decision-making processes and how to incorporate sound estimating effort into those processes. Decision Making Without Estimates? (Herding Cats)

Understand the algorithm is a critical element of leveraging machine learning techniques effectively. Jason Brownlee outlines five ways to study and learn about machine learning algorithms. How to Study Machine Learning Algorithms (Machine Learning Mastery)

Many organizations do not have an organized approach to handling major IT incidents, and, as a result, they compromise their abilities to capture valuable lessons. Ryan Ogilvie discusses the four stages of a major incident handling and what challenges we need to overcome. Not Doing Proper Post Incident Reviews Could Haunt You (Service Management Journey)

Many organizations spend a great deal of effort on IT benchmarking but often get back the results that have little impact. Pearl Zhu discusses how to do benchmarking effectively in order to get the most impactful results from the effort. Is IT Benchmarking valuable or a Waste? (Future of CIO)

With the current and future landscape of tools, technologies, and processes, the IT environment has been changing in a fast and dramatic pace. Chris Riley discusses the challenges IT and Operations will face now and into 2015 and how to address those challenges. 6 Challenges Facing DevOps and Operations Teams in 2015 (logentries)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 10, 2014 Edition

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Fresh 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. 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!

In many organizations, processing information accurately can have a material impact on the financial bottom line. When the data volume is very large, finding inaccuracy within the data sets can be a big challenge. Thomas Redman recommends a list of steps that managers can use when dealing with such challenge. Even the Tiniest Error Can Cost a Company Millions (Harvard Business Review)

Even after nearly 20 years since the emergence of IT Architecture as a discipline, there is still much confusion surrounding what architects supposed to do. Stephen Lahanas proposes five guidelines to help clarify. The 5 Rules of IT Architecture (Technovation Talks)

Edward De Bono’s six thinking hats have seen many creative uses in disciplines other than just education. Debleena Roy discusses how the six hats can also be applied to be successful in the data science field. Six Thinking Hats and the Life of a Data Scientist (KDnuggets)

Some may hold the belief that IT does not matter because it is a commodity. The digital trend shows that IT does matters more, and companies that lacked the skills to manage IT effectively can suffer compared with competitors that had mastered those skills. Pearl Zhu talks about ways where organizations can manage IT more effectively. Digital Trend: IT Matters More (Future of CIO)

In IT organizations, good quality changes present the right information to the right people to make the right decision. Rob Spencer outlines the common reasons for poor quality in a change request and what actions the change managers can take to improve it. Back to basics: why your change fell at the first hurdle (ITSM Review)

What are the differences between data science, data mining, machine learning, statistics, and so on? Vincent Granville compares several analytic disciplines that overlap and explains the differences and similarities. 16 analytic disciplines compared to data science (Data Science Central)

Some organizations classify break/fix as standard changes, which usually get approved automatically and do not require impact assessment. Ryan Ogilvie explains why such setup is rarely a good idea. Practice Shouldn’t Always Make Perfect – Using Standard Changes for Break/Fix (Service Management Journey)

When taking on a difficult challenge in the organization, some leaders may opt to delegate the responsibility to one of their star direct-reports. While delegating difficult issues is tempting, Susan Cramm believes that it can only lead to disappointment. She discusses an example why strategic, change-oriented initiatives will likely require hands-on leadership by senior executives. Lead by Doing, Not by Delegating (Strategy+Business)

Fresh Links Sundae – February 23, 2014 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. 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!

While pulling some thoughts together on the future of ITSM and service desk, Stephen Mann outlines his perspectives on what’s to come for those two important areas in IT. What’s the Future of ITSM? (HDIConnect)

As more and more organizations adopt cloud infrastructure, the migration to the cloud is not always a straight path with no obstacles. Phil Whelan outlines common steps IT organizations can take when adopting cloud technologies. 10 Steps To The Cloud (ActiveBlog)

Keeping up with and leveraging the available technology advancement has become one of the top challenges for many organizations and their CIOs. Dion Hinchcliffe recommends the ways a CIO can leverage building a more digitally-aligned business. The new CIO mandate (Enterprise Irregulars)

Migrating to the cloud is not only a technology decision but also a risk management consideration. John Overbaugh recommends four steps a leader can follow to help their companies adopt cloud technologies while minimizing overall risk. Risk changes in the cloud (ISACA Now)

The recent security breach at Target highlights a reality where organizations are much more connected to one another these days. Those close connections, if not managed correctly, also can present potential security loopholes. Bob Lewis suggests two lessons any organization should consider and learn. When they’re good at being bad, learn from the good (IS Survivor Publishing)

Today’s managers often need to exercise the ability to think analytically. Thomas Redman discusses an example of using data to explore cause and effect. How to Explore Cause and Effect Like a Data Scientist (Harvard Business Review)

Many IT organizations work hard to meet their service levels and deliver excellent customer experience. Ryan Ogilvie explains why identifying what makes the service function is critical in the delivery of a consistent customer experience. Service Level Management – The Gap between Delivery and Expectation (Service Management Journey)

When implementing ITSM, some believe that, by improving the IT processes, the IT services will improve as well. Dan Kane cautions IT organizations that improving processes does not always lead to service improvement. Process Improvement is not Service Improvement (Hazy ITSM)

For many organizations, the success often comes down to the quality of leadership and the strength of the culture. Pearl Zhu describes three areas where IT can be a supporting catalyst to the business culture. IT as Business Culture Catalyst (Future of CIO)

Business analysis is a discipline that can effectively promote the success of the projects. Laura Brandenburg outlines eight steps with which a business analyst can follow to perform effectively on the projects. The Business Analysis Process: 8 Steps to Being an Effective Business Analyst (Bridging the Gap)

Something else you might be interested in…

Microsoft has made a free Microsoft System Center e-book available for download. Free ebook: Microsoft System Center: Building a Virtualized Network Solution (Microsoft Press Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – December 1, 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. 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!

Most would agree that it takes six months or more for knowledge workers to become sufficiently productive to produce value. In order to enable the productivity of the new workers, many organizations need to utilize efficient knowledge transfer approaches. Greg Sanker believes that a standardized service delivery approach modeled by IT Service Management frameworks like ITIL and COBIT can help. The Coming Workforce: A Case for IT Service Management (The ITSM Review)

Although the term “Shadow IT” has only appeared in the press and media in recent years, the practice has been around for a much longer period of time. David Cappuccio explains how the latest iteration of Shadow IT has grown in significance and scope to where the C-suite should start to pay attention. Shine Some Light on Shadow IT (Gartner Blogs)

Lather, Rinse and Repeat (LRR) is a well-known process with a strong tie to the shampoo products since 1990’s. To Earl Begley, LRR is a reminder to design processes that can be easily executed and deliver desired results. With that in mind, He suggests several tips that ITSM can learn from the shampoo process. Lather, rinse and repeat your process (The ITSM Review)

Many organizations conduct self-audits on software to ensure a sound assets management practice or to get prepared for third-party audits. David Foxen explains the importance of the self-audit and how to perform one in your organization. The importance of Internal Software Audits (The ITAM Review)

Even today, Michael Schrage believes that most organizations struggle to answer even the simplest 80/20 analytics questions. He also suggests that the Big Data tools and techniques will help shape the 80/20 analytics when the organization can leverage both approaches at the same time. How is Big Data Transforming Your 80/20 Analytics? (Harvard Business Review)

For many organizations or industries, conducting effective data analysis is becoming an essential activity for many managers. Thomas Redman recommends an exercise that can help managers to become more data literate and more adept at data analysis. How to Start Thinking Like a Data Scientist (Harvard Business Review)

Many BAs use diagrams to express ideas or to create simple and effective visual models, but they don’t always know what tools are available for their work. Laura Brandenburg outlines 5 diagramming tools that a BA can consider adding to his/her requirement gathering and analysis toolkit. 5 Effective Diagramming Tools You Can Afford (Bridging the Gap)

We all deal with stress and anxiety in a number of ways. Mitch Joel recommends five tools that you can deploy to manage the times when things get a little too stressed or anxious. Keep Calm And Carry On – 5 Steps To Getting Rid Of Stress And Anxiety (Six Pixels of Separation)

According to Marshall Goldsmith, part of being an effective leader is setting up systems to measure everything that matters. At the same time, he advocates that measuring the “soft” values is just as essential as tracking the hard numbers. Account for Soft-Side Values (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

The performance review process in many companies carries risks and downside. The reviews often don’t produce the intended results, either. Bob Sutton believes there are three things that an excellent performance review always should have. Three Hallmarks of Good Performance Evaluations (Work Matters)

Fresh Links Sundae – November 3, 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. 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 all the excitement surrounding big data and advanced analytics, many organizations are naming Chief Data Officers (CDO) to manage their data needs. Thomas Redman describes the challenges and the opportunities that can come with this transformative role. Are You Ready for a Chief Data Officer? (Harvard Business Review)

The biggest story in IT this year likely is the issues surrounding the rollout of Healthcare.gov. By leveraging her experience in managing large-scale IT projects, Mary Shacklettin outlines the lessons which all IT professionals can learn from the website. Healthcare.gov web site launch leaves lessons for health of your IT career (TechRepublic)

Many people think gaming is just a nice way to make training more fun and engaging. Paul Wilkinson advocates that gaming can do a lot more as part of a learning process. A game is just nice to have right? – Wrong! (The ITSM Review)

Some people believe that managing the work is as important as doing the work, if not more. Bob Lewis suggests that it’s the other way around because, if you don’t deliver the goods, nobody will care about your brilliant insights. The work or managing the work: Which matters more? (IS Survivor Publishing)

Mobility is rapidly becoming the primary consumer interaction point with the organization and its business processes. Robert Stroud recommends all IT shops leverage mobility as a key interaction point with their constituents. A Fall, An iPhone, Mobility And Knowing What Good Is! (CA Service Management)

While the political punditry around the healthcare website is laughable, the layers of technology and components required to make the website work is no joking matter. Mitch Joel believes that this prominent website can also offer an excellent opportunity to educate the mass population on the complexity of the technology we work with daily. When Important Websites Crash (Six Pixels of Separation)

For a number of women (or men), delivering superior results and advancing within the corporate structure are often at odd with achieving work-life balance. After talking with the founder of Pixo, a technology consulting firm, Susan Cramm believes it’s still possible to run a competitive company that nurtures work-life balance. Exceed Customer Expectations—and Get Home for Family Dinner (strategy+business)

On any project, changes are expected and should be handled proficiently so significant issues can be avoided. Laura Brandenburg discusses how to manage change requests so that an informed decision can be made about how the changes can be incorporated into a project with as little disruption as possible. How to Manage Change Requests (Bridging the Gap)

Giving effective feedback to team members is quite possibly the most crucial part of any leader’s job. Heidi Grant Halvorson recommends a few simple rules that leaders can use to do a better job giving feedback. The Key to Giving Great Feedback: Focus on the Process, Not the Person (Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson)

While the global culture has immense potential benefits, it can also lead to an effect of “cultural extinction” where people around the world are much more likely to look alike, act alike, and sound alike. Marshall Goldsmith believes that, in order to create a positive global community, we need to meet three key challenges. Celebrating Diversity (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Fresh Links Sundae – October 6, 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!

When IT groups and their business counterparts do not collaborate, Thomas Redman and Bill Sweeney believe that the failure to derive the full advantage of information technologies does enormous disservice to organizations. While there is no “silver bullet” solution, they have outlined three approaches for IT and business leaders to consider. Bridging the Gap Between IT and Your Business (Harvard Business Review)

With the technologies available to consumers these days, many end users have become knowledgeable on the technologies they are using in their work environment. However, a number of IT organizations still have outdated processes and lack of tools to support their increasingly knowledgeable end users. Eric Feldman gives examples of how IT can better engage and improve their interaction with the end users. Are Your Consumers Treated as Consumers? (CA Service Management)

As part of an ITSM initiative team, Earl Begley was tasked by his CIO to ensure quality execution. He shares with us the lessons learned and the takeaways from his experience as the project’s Total Quality Manager. Is Darth Vadar in your ITSM project? (The ITSM Review)

Dan Kane points out that the “traditional” approach to IT metric reporting can be ineffective, due to the use of the siloed numbers that do not help the readers make the necessary connections between the numbers and the big picture. As a result, the metrics often fail at driving action or decisions. He recommends an approach that can help transform the focus of ITSM metrics into information that tells a compelling story. Do your metrics tell a story?  What makes for a compelling metrics story? (Hazy ITSM)

Reflecting from her recent trip to Nepal as a volunteer for a humanitarian effort, Susan Cramm describes how our 21st-century leadership skills can have a powerful and positive impact on those living in extreme circumstances throughout the world. Using Your 21st Century Skills in a 19th Century World (Strategy+Business)

On a recent mountain climbing trip, Bob Lewis experienced the negative consequence when you push your body too far. He cautions that management today can sometimes create a harsh environment where the employees are pushed too hard and too far. Pushing through the pain hurts (IS Survivor Publishing)

Many organizations go a considerable length to build fault-tolerance capability into their technology environment. Occasionally, due to poor design decisions, the fault-tolerance capability does not fully come through when the need arises. Jonathan Hassell explains why regular testing, robust communication, and occasional mock failover are necessary to ensure your disaster recovery practice will work when you need it. 4 Ways CIOs Can to Respond to a Service Outage (CIO)

Organizations seem to have different levels of success when deploying the same technology solutions to its business environment. Patrick Gray believes that, once you develop a strength at gathering and managing use cases, your IT projects are more likely to meet their objectives, satisfy the key stakeholders, and make your company more effective. Approach IT from the perspective of use cases and not features (TechRepublic)

Seth Godin believes that art is the work of a human – an individual seeking to make a statement, to cause a reaction and to connect. He also advocates “art” creation is not just for the artists in the traditional sense – all of us are capable of producing our best craft and “art.” Decoding “art” (Seth’s Blog)

Many people seem to know that encouraging upward challenge is a key to maintaining organizational integrity; however, it can be hard to do in practice. Marshall Goldsmith recommends that business leaders should focus on encouraging their followers on learning how to recognize potential integrity issues and effectively communicating these in a way that can prevent problems. Challenge Up: A Key to Organizational Integrity (Marshall Goldsmith Personal Blog)

Something else you might be interested in…

With data being recognized as a key asset for a number of business processes, trusting the data too much or too little can often lead to unintentional, negative consequences. Cathy O’Neil has published a free e-book that urges its readers to cultivate their inner skeptic when it comes to leveraging data for decision making. New Essay, On Being a Data Skeptic, now out (mathbabe)

Fresh Links Sundae – August 18, 2013 Edition

http://www.dreamstime.com/-image9076544Fresh 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!

As the business continues to demand agility and delivery of changes and innovation, focusing on the existing processes alone probably won’t suffice.  Robert Stroud recommends that service managers must also focus on automation and proactivity in order to fulfill a critical part of their service delivery to the business. Delivering Innovation—And Doing it Quickly (CA Technologies)

When working with an effective team, the chances are that the team members are also happy working with each other. Wendii Lord tells us what seems to make her team tick at Manager Tools. 3 Secrets of a Happy Team (Manager Tools)

Computer applications are not built to last forever due to the changes in business processes or environment. Ryan Ogilvie gives us an example where application changes are rarely isolated, and the changes usually involve considerations that can impact the tools, processes, architecture, and organizational knowledge. Workarounds and Implementations – Like Ripping off a Bandage (Service Management Journey)

As IT tools become more sophisticated and complex, controversy arises on how much IT should get involved in employee training and development. Andrew Horne believes that this is a problem the c-suite as a whole has to solve and that the solution must include the IT organization’s involvement.  How CIOs Can Avoid the Other IT Skills Crunch (CEB’s IT Blog)

In IT, we provide measurements, but some of those measurements often do not connect with the business goals and metrics. Julie Montgomery suggests several IT related measurements that just might be useful to your organization’s senior leaders. 3 IT Metrics Your CEO May Actually Care About (Plexent Blog)

As more business activities become digitized, a number of organizations are looking to be more “data-driven” in their decision-making processes. Thomas Redman summarizes six harmful habits that can stymie managers and companies from taking full advantage of their data. Become More Data-Driven by Breaking These Bad Habits (Harvard Business Review)

If you are interested in managing your software asset more effectively, David Foxen has some suggestions on what the next generation of SAM professionals should be proficient at doing. Tips for the next generation of SAM professionals (The ITAM Review)

The ability to perform multiple activities at once has been regarded by many as an asset, but Patrick Gray explains why that belief can be counter-productive. He also suggests a few ways of managing multiple tasks and using the human mind to its most effective capacity. The lie of multitasking (TechRepublic)

Reflecting from reading Dennis Perkins’ book, Into the Storm, Jim Taggart explains what useful insights organizations can draw to adapt to a relentlessly changing world. Into the Storm: A Real-World Lesson on Leadership and Teamwork (ChangingWinds)

Seth Godin believes that what we’re looking for in a leader is formidability. He also explains what two critical elements make a leader formidable. Choosing to be formidable (Seth’s Blog)