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9 Lies CIOs Tell Themselves

Self-assuredness is an important quality in a leader, since nobody wants to work for someone who is indecisive or lacking confidence. But if that self-assuredness stems from lying to oneself, then it is really not any better. In an article for CIO magazine, Bob Lewis shares nine things CIOs say that may or may not be true.

False Positives

  1. “We’re aligned with the business.”: If true—awesome. But check that you are aligned with business priorities and not just the business budget. Particularly, Lewis is hesitant about using chargebacks in IT.
  2. “The only reason to upgrade software is when a new version provides important business value.”: Ostensibly, this is a healthy stance. In practice, however, upgrades are a case of preventative maintenance. Every skipped upgrade is a roll of the dice with regard to software compatibility.
  3. “An important project has fallen behind, but we’ll catch up in the next phase and deliver on time.”: Through a colorful and sarcastic description, Lewis explains that many projects fall off schedule as a result of having been poorly planned in the first place. Perhaps there was never a strong business case, and this attitude of not looking too closely at the details went on to permeate and ravage every step of the project. Is everyone on your team paying attention to the details?
  4. “We’re doing ITIL.”: Nobody “does” ITIL. Rather, you implement parts of the framework as your unique situation calls for it. If what you are really saying is, “We have a good service desk,” then just say that instead.
  5. “We’re doing agile.”: Again, nobody “does” agile. You either understand and embody the agile mindset or you are not agile at all.
  6. “We’re doing DevOps.”: Ditto.
  7. “We have a customer service culture.”: If IT staff are still telling stories about something stupid a user did, then it is not a customer service culture. If you are taking steps to educate users such that embarrassing stories do not even have the chance to emerge, then maybe you do have a culture of service.
  8. “Our information security is tight.”: To quote our good friend Nick Pisano, “No one is safe” when it comes to data security. You should probably always assume your security is not as good as you think it is.
  9. “Our IT governance processes make sure we only undertake high-business-value projects.”: Do they though? Lewis says this:
    IT governance is supposed to make sure only the highest value projects are funded. And yet, no matter how well-crafted the process, it’s still implemented by the same cast of characters who aren’t “aligned” with each other in the first place. So in addition to estimating each project’s value to the business there’s horse-trading and sheer spitefulness involved in the final set of decisions.
    Add to that another annoying detail: Projects whose benefit is cost reduction will take precedence over projects whose benefit is increased revenue. Why? Reducing cost is within the control of the business. If everything goes according to plan, costs will go down.

You can view the original article here: https://www.cio.com/article/3217009/leadership-management/9-lies-cios-tell-themselves.html

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